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The Editors Mailbox

If this guy can make guitars in a refugee camp...

comments (10) January 8th, 2014 in blogs, videos

AsaC Asa Christiana, Special Projects Editor, Fine Woodworking magazine
thumbs up 28 users recommend

Video Length: 7:53
Produced by: Tresor Nzengu



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When I served in the Peace Corps, in Guinea, West Africa,  I saw many scenes like this: people making beautiful objects with the most rudimentary, ad-hoc tools, often seated on a log, or the ground. But this guy takes the cake. Patron Mushamuka makes electric and acoustic guitars in a Malawi refugee camp, proving again that woodworking is much more about desire and determination than it is about tools. His website offers contact info for him and his guitar-making friends there, and maybe they can give you some advice about getting packages to him. That is notoriously unreliable in Africa. But imagine what this guy could do with better hardware, adhesives, and just a few tool upgrades.


posted in: blogs, videos, guitars, Africa, refugee camp, Malawi


Comments (10)

pben pben writes: Now, that's dedication!!! ;^)
Posted: 9:43 am on January 14th

saschafer saschafer writes: @solidwoodguy,

The camp is located in a former prison. See http://www.dzaleka.org/about/.

-Steve

Posted: 5:00 pm on January 13th

solidwoodguy solidwoodguy writes: Great video!

I have travelled in Malawi and extensively thru central southern Africa and have friends in the consular corps of more than one country and understand bits and pieces of a couple of languages, I would be more convinced of the 'refugee camp' claim if there were some evidence and references .. I saw only a permanent village setting with little evidence of the location.

I appreciate the power of passion and persistence.
Posted: 12:14 pm on January 13th

CaptainSkinnyBeard CaptainSkinnyBeard writes: Very interesting. I watched it several times. There seems something disingenuous about what is shown and what is not shown. He obviously has some jigs and some more tools. I wish they had chosen to show them.
Posted: 6:12 am on January 12th

gtrboy77 gtrboy77 writes: Man,this guy is awesome. I feel so humbled by seeing what he can do with minimal tooling. Being an amateur luthier myself, I feel bad now because I find myself lusting after the latest gadgets and toys for the shop. Maybe I need to revisit my approach to this...
Posted: 5:49 pm on January 11th

user-2442075 user-2442075 writes: This guy is my new woodworking hero.
I will think of him every time I complain about not having the right tool.

Posted: 11:22 am on January 11th

bob7long bob7long writes: Where and how can we contribute to this?
Posted: 10:14 am on January 11th

AreJ AreJ writes: Though it is very nice to see his efforts and skill, it would also be nice to send him some more tools. Maybe we can set up something along those lines; let him know his work has not gone unnoticed.
Posted: 9:53 am on January 11th

aquarium aquarium writes: With skills like these and the determination exhibited; I begin to wonder why Africa didn't lead the industrial revolution.

Good luck and happiness to him.


Posted: 6:13 am on January 11th

Grantman Grantman writes: Wow, that's amazing. A perfect example of how 'it's not the tools but the craftsman.'

(Asa - you might want to double check the website link. It wouldn't work for me. It might be my browser but I couldn't get it to open.)
Posted: 1:10 pm on January 10th

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