The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

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Harper Collins, Sep 29, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 320 pages
75 Reviews

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 died.

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 world.

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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Ebarclift13 - LibraryThing

This is a story about a young boy, William, who sees a problem and works to solve it. Early in the story the reader is introduced to the setting: a small village in Malawi, Africa. William is always ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mattries37315 - LibraryThing

How does a 14-year old high school dropout in a small famine-stricken country in south eastern Africa build a windmill? William Kamkwamba tells how he did in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, a memoir ... Read full review

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Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
3
Section 3
24
Section 4
46
Section 5
57
Section 6
62
Section 7
74
Section 8
92
Section 15
184
Section 16
185
Section 17
197
Section 18
199
Section 19
209
Section 20
211
Section 21
236
Section 22
240

Section 9
114
Section 10
128
Section 11
129
Section 12
132
Section 13
151
Section 14
168
Section 23
250
Section 24
260
Section 25
267
Section 26
271
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

William Kamkwamba was a 2007 TED Global Fellow and a finalist for the Tech Museum Award. He is a student at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

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