Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Some of you may have already heard the story of a Malawian boy named William Kamkwamba. In 2006, the Daily Times wrote an article about his achievements of bring electricity to his village by constructing a windmill. Since then, there have been numerous articles written like this one and William has been very busy traveling the world and speaking at conferences.

Most recently, he worked with reporter Bryan Mealer on the book documenting his life and success.

Sometimes it's hard to know which book to pick up when looking for a good African rags to riches story. There are so many memoirs, biographies and autobiographies out there that each seem to be the newest best story of a poor boy who overcomes life's obstacles. Don't get me wrong-I think these stories are real and SHOULD be read by people like us who really cannot imagine living lives like the ones portrayed in these books. It's just that I've only read one. What is the What is an autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng written by my favorite author Dave Eggers.

Anyway, back to William. I am excited to read his book, not only because I think it is an interesting story, but because I will forever be interested in all things pertaining to Malawi. William actually spent time at the African Bible College Christian Academy in their North Star program. I never got to know him, but I remember my friend giving him swimming lessons at the ABC pool. He is obviously smart and passionate about helping his country and creating solutions to some of the problems Malawians face daily. I am excited about all the hoopla over this man and his windmill. I hope it encourages others around him to start thinking outside the box. I also hope it encourages people like me to remember that there should be more partnering going on instead of complete take over. This story is different than the others because it is more than just a survival story. Not only does William break out of poverty, but he does it so creatively and intends to do the same for his village. If you have the opportunity, pick up this book. Also, please tell me if you know of any others that you've read and enjoyed. I'm always up for a good read. I just don't know where to start.


  1. Hey, I just discovered your new blog. It is great. Thanks for sharing the name of a good book.

  2. Hey Beth-
    Thank you for writing this post. I actually heard William speak on Sunday at the downtown Seattle Public Library. I was dying to talk with you and get your take on the matter.

    I have yet to pick up his book but I did appreciate his honesty about how all the publicity has changed him, his family and his village.

    Anyways...I don't want to take up to much room on your blog. So return my call will you. I have several book recommendations for you and also need to hear your voice.
    Miss you friend. Give Eli a hug from me.