Creating Currents Of Electricity And Hope
On Sale: October 1, 2009
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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.
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
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, complete 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.
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
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.
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