A Travellerspoint blog

February 2010

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

by William Kamkwamba

I don't know about you, but this year I had no idea what to ask for for Christmas. After some pressuring from certain members of the family to come up with some more gift suggestions, I headed over to Amazon.com for inspiration. Of the handful of books I looked at on the Top Sellers list, one in particular caught my interest: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

The story is simple. As a teenager in Malawi whose parents cannot pay for him to continue his schooling beyond primary level, William Kamkwamba discovers the local library. Struggling to decipher words he can barely understand, William pours through books on physics and energy, with purpose: he wants to build a windmill.

And eventually, he does, using little more than scrap metal, tractor parts and an old bicycle.

The most amazing thing of all? This is a true story.

As you can probably guess, I ended up getting this book for Christmas, and I devoured it within a couple of weeks. This is an amazing and powerful story. In the year before he built the windmill, Malawi endured a terrible famine, one made worse by a negligent government. William's narrative walks you through those terrible times, showing you just how desperate life can be for those who have so little. But above all, it brings hope, of which William's windmill is a powerful symbol.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is available from Amazon.

Posted by dr.pepper 20:46 Archived in Malawi Tagged books Comments (0)

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