Monday, March 19, 2012

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

William Kamkwamba

This book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, is a truly inspiring story of the idea that Anything is Possible. This phrase has been on my mind a whole lot for whatever reason, and it has been reinforced through many of the things that I have read lately! Whatever I am being prepared for: I AM READY!!!!

So, Willliam Kamkwamba is a 25 year old man from Dowa, Malawi. For financial reasons, William was in and out of school. But, he did not let this stop him from learning. He spent lots of time in the library reading about electricity, because that is a luxury that only about 2% of the people in Malalwi have, and I am talking about in the 2000s. (Reading this book, I had to remind myself often that this book is telling the life of William and people in Dowa in the 2000s: famine, limited access to education, no electricity etc.)

Really wanting electricity in his town, William read about and built a windmill using scavenged parts from a scrap yard. His first windmill was made from PVC pipe, a tractor fan, an old bicycle frame, and tree branches, and powered four light bulbs and charge mobile phones. William is truly a self-taught man.

A local news outlets wrote about William in 2007, and his life really changed. He was invited to present his windmill at the TEDGlobal conference in Arusha, Tanzania. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It is a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. (It really is a big deal to be invited to present at this conference.)

At this conference, many people donated money to William, and he "installed iron sheets on every relative's home in the village to replace the grass thatch. I got mattresses so my sister no longer had to sleep on grass mats on the dirt floor, plus covered water buckets to keep our drinking water supply from pests. I bought better blankets to keep us warm at night in winter, malaria pills and mosquito nets for the rainy season, and I arranged to send everyone in my family to the doctor and the dentist," and he put several of his cousins, who were not attending school for financial reasons, back in school. (Shaking my head.)

Here are some of the ideas that I took away from William's great story:
  • It was reconfirmed to me that Reading is Fundamental, and this was definitely true for William. Also, I know about William, because I read his story. Sometimes I get caught up in my world, and need to be reminded about the rest of the world and be moved to action. People, read like it is a matter of life or death, and sometimes it is.
  • I know for sure, without a doubt, as stated by William: "Anything is Possible when your dreams are powered from the heart!"
  • Also, in the words of William: If you want to make it, all you have to do is try."

This is a book that Purdue University is encouraging all of its students to read, and I agree that all Purdue students should read this book, as well as, all other people who live in countries who have an abundance.

Everytime that I flip on a light, I will think of William and his people.

Click the link below to watch this amazing clip on William!

William Kamkwamba!

William and his windmill!

1 comment:

Wosley Semple said...

The boy who harness the wind by producing energy with with a wind mill by deriving the know how by just submerging himself with books in a library would have been highly praised in our parts of the world for such a significant achievement. Given Mr Kamkwamba youthfulness and the lack of resources in his country and his ability to construct and operate such a significant device makes his creative propensity appalling. Perhaps his book will afford him the wide recognition he deserves and the opportunities to promote and propel his creativity.

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