09 July 2008

Empowering Africa

First of all, let me just say that for this blog I learned how to capture a screen shot. I did some web research and found that for Windows systems, keyboards typically have a Print Screen button. I stared at my keyboard for awhile and found that it has a "Prt Scrn" button. Once your screen shows the display you want to capture, all you need to do is press the Print Screen button. You then paste the copied image into an image application and save. The task was slightly difficult as this computer doesn't have a picture application, so I'm quite proud of myself that I was able to successfully upload the image onto my blog.

A couple of months ago I noticed that my friend Shawna Hulme Packer had a message under her chat name, saying that her husband had been gone for weeks and would be home soon. Since she was newly married, I wondered why her husband had been away for so long. She responded to my Google chat to inform me that Ed was in Africa installing merry-go-rounds in village schools to provide power. He was part of a senior capstone group from BYU that traveled to Ghana for the project. I thought the idea was ingenious: converting child-play energy into electrical power to light village school houses in rural Africa! So ingenious, I remember telling friends and family about it.

Today I was reminded of my conversation with Shawna when I saw an article on BYU's webpage about the project in Ghana.

The article explained that a company called Empower Playgrounds had used donor support and BYU manpower to install the playground equipment for village schools in Essam, Ghana this spring. With my interests in Africa and public health, I HAD to go to the website to oggle their technology and mission of the organization. The website is under construction, but you can see a sneak peek of what the site will look like... I'm impressed!

The idea is simple. It's a wonder it hasn't been thought of before. I wouldn't be surprised if we see more kenetic playgrounds being constructed around the world.

For more information, visit http://www.empowerplaygrounds.org/main/.