I have yet to read the book, but this story of a self-taught Malawian boy building a windmill to bring electricity to his village is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Mind you, he built this windmill out of parts from a junk yard. I am totally blown away.
And that is just the beginning. William Kamkwamba was kicked out of school because his family could not afford to pay the roughly $80 a year tuition. Instead of hanging his head, William went to go to the library. It was there he found the book, Using Energy. In the book he read about windmills and how they could generate electricity as well help with pumping water. Here is an exert from his blog:
Determined to continue my education, I began visiting a local library, funded by the Americans, where I quickly fell in love with science. As the hunger clawed its way across our country, the library was where I escaped and became lost in discussions of electromagnetism, simple motors and electricity ‚Äî my favorite topic, since only 2 percent of Malawi enjoyed such a luxury.
I didn‚Äôt read English well, so I mainly taught myself these things by studying the pictures and diagrams. By the time I saw my first windmill on the cover of an American textbook called Using Energy, I was able to apply all this previous knowledge and set out to build my own. Within six months, I‚Äôd constructed a windmill that provided my family with continuous electricity and completely transformed the way we lived. A later machine allowed us to irrigate a small garden to grow produce year-round.
After reading this and watching the video below, it makes me take pause when I think to complain about something I can’t do. Obviously, if you want to do it, you can. You can find more information about William at his blog. You can also purchase his book, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind.