We often hear the cry of “I can’t do it” or “I need someone to help me” from people who we think are capable of doing more on their own. We’re told on a regular basis that we should give much to the poor and the homeless because they can’t help themselves. While some people legitimately need help, not everyone who demands help is truly in need of it. With time, patience, perseverance, and some creativity, even the most helpless person can make something amazing and turn his or her life around.
A prime example of this “will to succeed” was shown by Orismar de Souza, a young homeless man from Brazil. With no home, no job, no training, and no money, he was able to build himself his own car.
De Souza determined that the only way he would find a job and a home depended on having transportation, and he began planning how to achieve this goal without having any money. The idea of having a car took root in his mind. With no way to buy one, he looked for ways to build one and make his dream come true.
His first goal was to find sufficient sheet metal to build the frame and body. De Souza went hungry for four months while building up the funds to buy the sheet metal he needed. It took $270, a fortune for a homeless man, and he then borrowed tools to cut and shape the metal into the individual parts he needed.
Take a moment to consider the mental picture of a homeless man using a hammer and chisel to create parts for a car. These were the only tools available to de Souza, and he made it work.
Scrounging and trading at junkyards allowed him to collect the other parts he needed, including a 125cc motorcycle engine to power the car. Bit by bit, he was able to acquire a gear box, tires, drive train, windows, and seats – most of these parts coming from junked Fiats. After laying out the framework, he assembled the car and even managed to scrounge paint for the exterior.
Dubbed the “Shrimpmobile,” de Souza’s car has a top highway speed of 50 MPH. The vehicle allowed him to find a job in the sugarcane fields outside the city of São José de Piranha. He has since earned enough money to afford a place to live.
His pay has allowed him to replace the motorcycle engine’s original kick-starter with an automobile ignition switch, and he was able to replace the original gear box with a different version that includes reverse gear. He was also able to find and install an in-dash stereo system.
The entire process, start to finish, took de Souza four years. It’s a triumph of perseverance and ingenuity, and proves that people really can accomplish anything if they’re willing to make the effort. While the metalwork was nearly too much for him, de Souza refused to admit defeat and kept fighting for his dream. He also refused to let the mockery of others persuade him that it couldn’t be done.
His next plan? De Souza is saving up to build a garage for his car. The Shrimpmobile might not be considered roadworthy in the United States because it doesn’t have airbags or seatbelts, but it fits de Souza’s needs and goals and has helped him turn his life around.
De Souza’s story shows that we truly can do anything, given enough time and if we’re willing to make the effort and sacrifice. Think about your goals for yourself and your family – if one of your goals is energy independence, build some of your own equipment to reach that goal. Look for plans or kits online, and scrounge for parts at local junkyards.
Building your own car might not work due to restrictive laws in the U.S., but what about building your own boat? Or your own airplane? You can find plans for these online as well, along with information on building your own house or vehicles such as tractors and other farm equipment.
What it comes down to is that the only limits on what we can accomplish are those that we place on ourselves. We’ve fallen away from the pioneering spirit that helped settle the United States, and we need to rejuvenate that spirit in ourselves and in our children.