Wow! I just finished this book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, and am fascinated by the story.
It begins with the life of William in Malawi and ends with how his curiosity and persistence led to life changing events. And all of it is wondrous. From the descriptions of his village and the people who live there to the story of how his father met his mother to the devastating famine in Malawi to the creation of his own windmill, the story is told simply and tenderly. It ends with an update on William’s life and how his own ingenuity is allowing him to flourish and to assist his village as well.
I couldn’t help but marvel at what it took for William to build the windmill that generates electricity. He had only a book or two from the three shelf local library’s, and none was a “how-to” manual. He used scraps of metal and wood cleverly and was often forced to substitute one seemingly irreplaceable component with something rough. He didn’t discover electricity…but he did find a way to create it using only the simplest of materials. His first public description of how he did what he did: “I try, and I made it!” And that creation has taken him into the wide world.
He has now been many places describing his innovations and serving as an inspiration to others who have less. Perhaps the most important consequences of his travels have been his validation by others and his realization of how other cultures developed: “Seeing this, it gave me even more confidence that we Africans can develop our continent if we just put our minds and abundant resources together and stop waiting on others to do it for us.”