William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger. And a place where hope and opportunity were hard to find. But William had read about windmills in a book called Using Energy. And he dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village. And change his life and the lives of those around him. His neighbors may have mocked him and called him misala—crazy—but William was determined to show them what a little grit and ingenuity could do.
Was he Misala?
Enchanted by the workings of electricity as a boy, William had a goal to study science in Malawi’s top boarding schools. But in 2002, his country was stricken with a famine that left his family’s farm devastated and his parents destitute. Unable to pay the eighty-dollar-a-year tuition for his education, William was forced to drop out and help his family forage for food as thousands across the country starved and died.
Yet William refused to let go of his dreams. With nothing more than a fistful of cornmeal in his stomach. A small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks, and an armory of curiosity and determination. He embarked on a daring plan to bring his family a set of luxuries that only two percent of Malawians could afford and what the West considers a necessity—electricity and running water. Using scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves. William forged a crude yet operable windmill, an unlikely contraption and small miracle that eventually powered four lights. omplete with homemade switches and a circuit breaker made from nails and wire. A second machine turned a water pump that could battle the drought and famine that loomed with every season.
Never give up
Soon, news of William’s magetsi a mphepo—his “electric wind”—spread beyond the borders of his home. And the boy who was once called crazy became an inspiration to those around the world.
Here is the remarkable story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual’s ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.
This book had me running through all of my feels. William Kamkwamba is a amazing young man, who wanted to go to school. To learn and to help his people. We need more people in the world like him. I have always wondered how the great inventors and visionaries manage to see things. How they puzzle through things that most of the rest of us don’t even think about much. Although I suppose some have said that about me with my crocheting.
William Kamkwamba would not let anything stand in his way, when the world pushed him he stood in his truth and said no, you move. There is one quote from the book that sums up how I feel about it perfectly. “I went to sleep dreaming of Malawi, and all the things made possible when your dreams are powered by your heart.” Whether you like the book or not, let that stay with you. This world would be such a better place if we all had dreams powered by our heart, and hearts powered by love and kindness.
And if you don’ t feel up to reading the book, the movie is pretty good too. I still will always vote for the book first though.