Stuart Marsh (top left) and James Kitia (top right) stand with Kitia’s sons, Aza (left) and Benny (right) with an early prototype of the truck, as well as a new version and a soccer ball, also made by Kitia for his sons to play with.
EDGEWATER — Growing up in Tanzania, James Kitia knew two things: He loved to play soccer, and he knew how to be resourceful when it came to making toys. Years later, those skills are coming in handy as Kitia and Stuart Marsh, co-owner of Edgewater Workbench, a 3D printing and wood laser-cutting shop at 1130 W. Thorndale Ave., embark on a project that will help build a new soccer stadium in Kitia’s hometown, where he now runs a soccer camp of his own.
If you could invent something to help another country, what would it be?
On Thursday, the pair launched an Indiegogo campaign to help fund some of the base costs in order to support initial production.
Those funds will be raised through The Puzzle Truck— a toy Kitia secretly designed for his car-loving 10-year-old son, Benny, after promising to improve on an earlier, more flimsy model he’d made using household items. Kitia said he wanted his son to play outside, but without using non-physical toys like remote-control cars.
Using cardboard and plastic bottle caps, Kitia fashioned together a toy truck and added a string for his son to pull.
Aza said he loved the truck, but it was too weak and would easily tip over with a breeze.
Kitia said he “promised” to make a better one.
Over the next few weeks, after he would drop his sons off at Swift Elementary School, he walked over to Edgewater Workbench, where he planned to use the shop’s wood laser-cutter to create a stronger version of his earlier prototype.
He said Marsh told him his toy truck idea had the potential to be “big” — together they could create and sell lots of trucks that many kids could use and that could benefit a larger cause.
That’s when Kitia’s soccer team in Tanzania came to mind.
“If I have the opportunity to help them, that’s what I want to do,” he said.
James Kitia is a soccer professional who both teaches and plays, and will use some of the funds from the puzzle trucks to build resources for his soccer camp in his hometown in Tanzania.
So the two got to work putting together plans, spending 2-5 hours a day coming up with the Puzzle Truck toy.
Using lightweight wood panels that slide and clip together, the toy encourages family participation, creativity and physical activity, the duo said.
The truck comes in a kit to partially be assembled with parents and partially left to the child’s imagination.
Portions of the proceeds from each of the trucks will go toward building a soccer stadium for more than 40 soccer clubs in Tanzania, each of which has about 30 players.
Kitia started a soccer camp there in 2008, which now holds regular tournaments that draw upward of 10,000 spectators who must sit in dusty fields or trees in order to watch the games.
The local government there has already agreed to donate 30 acres to the camp for free in order to build the stadium, Kitia said.
A completed puzzle truck.
Having lived in the U.S. for the past 13 years, Kitia said he appreciates and understands now more than ever how much soccer means in his homeland, and wants players to feel rewarded.
“Being here, I see my country different now, I see how much people love soccer,” Kitia said. “I want to show the kids we value your talents.”
Kitia’s sons, Benny and Aza, 12, said they’re inspired by their dad and what he and Marsh have come up with, prompting Benny to add he might someday want to open a manufacturing plant of his own.
Most of all, the boys said, it taught them that one idea can have big effects.
“It’s pretty cool to watch my dad going from making one truck for me and my friends to this giant project,” Benny said.
Aza agreed. ….”I think it’s pretty amazing to go from … a father-and-son thing to something that can help people across the world,” Aza said. “This could be just one way to do something extraordinary in the world.
“I think it’s cool something so simple can turn into something else that can help improve peoples’ lives in another country.”
Linda Bezuidenhout, mama wa LB, Kichuna cha Kizaramo, muke ya Mali Kimesera. Kama kawaida yake, kupendeza ni jadi yake! Hata kama hataki lakini wapi nguo zenyewe zinajipanga kwenye mwili wake kwani si utani kajaliwa mwili ambao unakubali kila vazi! ?ni juzi kati alipokwenda kusalimia family friend wao huko Atl…..Too cute! Hii Ramadhan isiishe jamani, ma celebrities wetu wanapendezaje sasa ????
Nimekutana na huu mjadala wa kutoa “tips” kwa wafanyakazi ambao wapo kwenye ‘hospitality industry’ kama waiters / waitress, wafangizi, na wahudumu wa sehemu mbalimbali. Je wewe huwa unatoa tips kama unavyotakiwa au niwale ambao ukisha kula unapangusa mikono na kwenda zako hata asante kwa wahudumu husemi?! Hivi unajua hata wale wafangizi wa hotelini huwa tunatakiwa kuwapa tips! Je wewe ukilala hotelini huwa unatoa tips kabla ya kufunga mlango au ndo unajiondoa kama ulivyo?! ……. kwa kawaida kama mfagizi hayupo karibu unatakiwa uwache tips yake juu ya kitanda au sehemu ambayo ataweza iyona. The same way unavyo achaga tips mezani kwa muhudumu wa chakula!…….. sasa kuna dada ambaye anaitwa Faith Mbori, mmiliki wa “Tamu Flavors” The Authentic Kenyan Dishes. Alianzisha mjadala huo kwa kusema hivi ……… ?
Dear Immigrants, People of Color and all bad Tippers,
Please learn to tip your servers. You are making us , people who tip well get bad service because they think we won’t tip. If you can’t afford a tip of 20% , try 15% please or stay at home, Google and prepare the meal you were going to order in that restaurant.
Dear Servers, please stop stereotyping too. That person you think won’t tip you may be your angel. I had a bad experience at Apple’s Bees I was once a server, so I played it cool.
Anyways he still got a 25% tip . Hope he will learn to treat people well. Have a great day bad Tippers and Servers
Neno la Kejeli: Sasa jamani, hata kama ndio kujiita “wakosoaji” ndio imekuwa kukosoa hata Naibu Spika kwa vile kavaa suruali na anaosha magari? Sasa angevaa kimini si ingekuwa ugomvi? Halafu, wenzetu hawa mkienda kwenye nchi za watu huwa mnatembea mmefumba macho? Mbona mnaweza kupata shida maana unaweza ukadhani kila mtu kajidhalilisha kwa nguo alizovaa. Ukweli ni kuwa Naibu Spika katoka vizuri, kapendeza, na katoka kwa heshima.
Akili za watu wengine zimejaa ushetani! Saa zote mambo yao na maongezi yao ni kuangalia vitu au watu katika mtazamo hasi! Tabia ya mtu haipimwi au haiangaliwi kwa kutumia mavazi mtu anavaa, kama ni hivyo basi wanawake wa Al-Qaeda wangekuwa Malaika! Lakini nguo wanazo vaa na mambo wanayotenda ni tofauti kabisa!…………Kuna wanaume ambao akili zao zimejaa uchafu wa ngono tu! Na hii haijalishi mwanamke amevaa vipi bali ni wao wenyewe na akili zao. Na hawa ndo wanaume unakuta wanabaka watoto wadogo. Sasa mtoto naye alivaa nguo fupi? Ni akili zao na uchizi wao!