An interesting question: What difference can a book make? Or a few books?
For a small Malawi village, it meant the difference between running water and no running water. It meant the difference between electricity for their homes and no electricity.
How can this be?
It’s an amazing story of Teens on the Scene.
A Teen with a Keen Curiosity
When Malawian, William Kamkwamba, was a young teen, he possessed a keen curiosity about anything mechanical. In 2002, when he was only 14, a severe famine in the land forced him to drop out of school. His father was a farmer and they were unable to pay the school tuition. Many people literally starved to death during this famine.
Idea from a Book
In their village was a small library. In an attempt to further his education on his own, William borrowed books from this little library. It was the science books, and books about electricity and power, that fascinated him most, especially a book called Using Energy.
It was from reading, and then re-reading, and re-reading, that William got the idea to create a windmill to generate electricity for their home. Not only did he have no parts to make the windmill, he had no tools.
Tools and Parts Scrounged Up from the Scrapyard
Ever resourceful and inventive, William made his own tools from items found at the local scrap yards. The parts for the windmill came from there as well.
During this time, he was the brunt of the jokes and name-calling throughout the village. Most people thought he was crazy. But his dream, his vision, drove him forward.
Just as he knew it would, William’s makeshift windmill worked and his family had electricity in their home. Eventually, word got out and area officials and news people heard of this teen with the great invention of a homemade windmill.
Electricity for his home and the village, was just the bare beginning of William’s dreams and visions. He wanted running water for irrigation so there would never be another killing famine. He also wanted to supply more books and better schools for the children in his country.
Projects, Projects, and More Projects
I read about William in this book: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
So much good is being done, instigated and dreamed of by one teenager. And it all began with a book.
What difference can a book make? Ask William Kamkwamba.