The Answer is Blowin’ in the Wind

1kamkwambaIt was 2002 and Malawi was suffering one of the worst droughts in recent memory. William Kamkwamba had been shut out of the village school because his family could not pay the fees (about $80 US) so there was little distraction from watching the people around him suffer. Crops wilted, thousands died, those that survived did so on very little so hunger was constant. William had seen pictures of windmills in library books, and knew they could be used to generate power—something his village desperately needed. He pretty much had nothing to lose.

From scrap bicycle parts, car batteries, wood, and odds and ends, William built a windmill. It was one of those TV Movie scenarios with the community laughing at the 14-year-old boy who clearly had lost his mind. Even more of a cinematic moment occurred when the completed contraption began to turn and the lightbulb he had wired to it flickered to life. Now there are five windmills in William’s village, each more refined than the last, and the neighbors come to the home to listen to the electric radio. This boy’s determination and courage in the face of opposition is the subject of “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” a recently released book by William and Brian Mealer.

It’s kinda hard to find any significance in the words “can’t” or “no” or “impossible.”

Read a CNN story here, and watch William’s appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart by following this link to the Comedy Central website (LINK).

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