True Story About Human Inventiveness in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Did you know 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. But William had read about windmills, and he dreamed of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy:
electricity and running water. His neighbors called him misala—crazy—but William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.

He was a brilliant young man living in the throes of intense poverty in the small landlocked African nation of Malawi. When William Kamkwamba was 14 he was forced to drop out of school. His family was simply too poor to afford the fees needed to attend secondary school in his country. Young William was heartbroken at this turn of events. He longed for an education but understood the dire financial circumstances his family was in. But William Kamkwamba was a resourceful sort and would find another way to educate himself. "The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity of Hope" tells the amazing story of William Kankwamba in his own words. This is truly a remarkable story that you will never forget.

It is incredibly difficult to grasp just how poor most people in Malawi are. For example, in the town where William Kamkwamba grew up there was no electricity and no running water. William's mother had to spend two hours each day carrying water home from the public well. Since there was no electricity people just went to bed most nights when darkness fell. The threat of famine was everpresent in Malawi and AIDs and malaria were widespread and deadly. Unable to attend school, William helped his father plant and tend the maize and tobacco that would hopefully sustain the family for another year. Farming was just about the only way that most families in Malawi could make a living. But everyone was painfully aware that drought was ever a looming threat. When the rains stopped starvation and disease among the people became even more rampant. It seems that life had always been this way in Malawi.

The authors give us a front seat view of what it is like to eke out an existence as a Malawian farm family using brawn and wits, and trusting that the weather cooperates. William Kamkwamba reminds me of my father, who, as a boy, also loved inventing, electricity, and built go-carts out of anything useful he could find. My father also went through the lens of starvation, although in his case, it was in the aftermath of WWII. He ended up as an electrical engineer, with his specialty being electrical power substations that boost power to remote areas.

William's story is not only inspirational to readers, but his story should also give hope to the millions of people who live life on the edge of starvation and death. William has already done other things in his village such as drilled a well for clean drinking water, provided stored water for his families crops, and built another windmill to irrigate his mother's garden. His final thoughts in the book are about creating a new kind of Africa where innovation and leadership thrive. This young man and his story should be an inspiration to all of us.