His first invention, which he built when he was 9, was a lawn mower — a hand-held contraption with rotating blades to help his dad cut the grass. Several years later, he built a radio using an oil jug.
“What are you doing with my oil?” Richard’s mom, Felicia, had snapped as she watched him pour the perfectly good oil out of the jug.
“You’ll see,” said Richard.
Richard had gone to a nearby garbage dump and gathered all the items he could find to help build the radio. But there were many items he still needed, so he made a list and brought it to his Compassion center director, Steven Boafo.
Boafo couldn’t believe Richard could build a radio on his own, with no training, but he wanted to encourage him, so he bought Richard the items he needed. Soon, Richard had built a fully functional radio, all on his own.
Next, Richard built a motor for a toy ride-on car he found in the dump. The car can transport a child of up to 55 pounds and even has a built-in MP3 player, so the little one can listen to music while cruising along. Richard continued to amaze everyone around him, building flashlights, solar-powered cellphone chargers and extension power strips from items he found in the dump.
The Compassion center workers knew they needed to foster his gift, so they arranged an apprenticeship for Richard with a local electrician who repairs broken appliances. Now Richard can earn extra money fixing nearly anything — broken radios, TVs and other electronic gadgets.