The Engineer without electricity: stories from South Africa


A great man is made by a lot of experiences.
An even greater man is one who can tell his experiences, through stories.

Here is one of his stories, a story of magic.

Magic is everywhere, and we can travel with it

I was born in a small town, where people didn’t have electricity. So I had never seen a switch.
I had a passion for building things, no matter what they may look like. To build, to make, to construct.
A day came that I was out of my town, after graduation. I was going to attend a class at university. Yes, I decided I wanted to be an Electronic Engineer.

I was the last leaving the room, that day.
I moved close to the door, and I used the switch.
Ahhhh, the magic! I was clicking it, switching the light on and off. I wondered for a long time with my eyes, my imagination, how it was even possibile that my action could make it the light on, or the darkness back.
I studied the cable line, as far as I could reach it.
And I was amazed by that.

I never found such joy in a discovery afterwards, and that moment of magic, is still with me, here, today. I am a very experienced Engineer now, more than 50 yrs in the field. And still I see the magic.

Here another story, a story of dream.

Travel as far as you can count.

I was a little boy, less than 4 yrs old. I learned with pleasure some numbers, from my father. I always loved numbers. And I always loved my father.
That day, I missed my father so much, so that when he came from work, I ran to him, to be hugged.
He lifted me up, and kissed on my check. Both.
I was so happy, so full of joy, and I wanted to tell him, tell him about my infinite love for him.
Daddy? I love you! I love you so much! I love you … 10.
I truly expected understanding from him. I imagined for a second that he would lift me even higher, and jump of joy with me. Instead…
He sat with me, puzzled, and asked me ‘why do you said you love me 10?
I didn’t have an answer for him. It was unbelievable. I was pissed off, you know. I mean, I opened my heart completely, I told him that I love him to te depth of my imagination, and what? We talk?

He asked me other questions, and when he truly understood my intention, we were again up, hugging, and jumping. Silly old guy. What was that about?

Years later he told me the story, with my own voice, and I got a lesson I don’t want to forget. You see, at that time my all universe of numbers was 1, 2, 3, …9, 10. So I knew that I had 1 sister, that I had 2 parents, that we were 4 people at home. My hand was made of 5 fingers, and sometime my mom was reading fables at night from 7 books!
When I counted my all fingers, I found I had 10 fingers. And I was quite sure that 10 was the upper limit. My father asked me one question that day, that sounded like ‘how many fingers do you have?’. Silly? I said ’10’.
‘And how many fingers I and you together, we have?’. Silly. I said ’10’.
‘What about all 4 of our family? Or the entire school? Or the world?’. Still silly. I said ’10’.
And that was all. My father lifted me up then.

The lesson I am bringing with me, through my life is that
Any of my dreams, any vision, or project, any of those, they can go as far as the size of my tools.
If I can count maximum up to 10, all the infinity beauty of the world can be as much tall as 10 floors, long as much as 10 miles, and shiny as much as 10 stars.
Since than I always look for my limits in understanding, so that I can dream beyond, and appreciate life even more than I though before.

Give me Your 2 çents / Dimmi che ne pensi

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