Sunday, August 15, 2010
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope
My inspired and ambitious summer reading plans got off to a slow start this summer and now that summer is nearly over I'm resigned to the fact that I manged to read only a few good books. It seems that transitioning a family of five to a temporary home for six months, graduating and preparing Active Son for college this fall, etc., etc., required much of my time and energy. By early July I had not completed a single title and desperate for a quick, interesting read and the satisfaction of finishing a book I took up this memoir, which is also the "first read" for Boise State University students this fall. Artist Son and Active Son have also read it.
In The Boy Who Harnessed Wind, young William Kamkwamba tells his story, the story of a young boy growing up in poverty and famine stricken Malawi who was deprived of many resources, including education; he had to drop out of school when his father couldn't pay his fees. Undeterred and with a driving desire to learn and help his family, he studied old physics texts on his own, experimented using cast off "junk", and eventually built a windmill that produced electricity for his family home. Villagers mocked him as he worked, remarking that he must be crazy, but after his homemade windmill produced electricity he became a local hero, was "discovered", and sent to school on scholarship. Later he was invited to speak at the global idea conference, TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) and now, he attends Dartmouth College.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind seems a great choice for a Boise State students' first read as William Kamkwamba's story reveals the value of an education which is gained from the motivation to learn and to help others. William Kamkwamba will speak at Boise State on August 26 and I plan to be in the audience and maybe I'll bring my book along to be signed.