A teen erected several windmills that pump water and generate electricity in his hometown, north of the capital, Lilongwe.
Malawi, William Kamkwamba’s native, seven years ago had gone through one of its worst droughts, wiping out thousands. His loved ones and others were getting by on one meal a day. Though despite all the scarcity, one item was still abundant: wind. “I wanted to do something to help and change things,” he stated. “Then I said to myself, ‘If they can make electricity out of wind, I can try, too.” Kamkwamba was ultimately kicked out of school when he was unable to pay $80 in institution fees, and at the library he spent his days, where a book with windmill pictures tickled his fancy. “I thought, this thing exists in this book, it means someone else managed to build this machine,” he expressed. Weaponed with the book, the then-14-year-old tutored himself to construct windmills. He combed junkyards for items, including plastic pipes, bicycle parts, car batteries and tractor fans. For the tower, from blue-gum trees he amassed wood.
“Everyone laughed at me when I told them I was building a windmill. They thought I was crazy,” Kamkwamba said. “Then I started telling them I was just playing with the parts. That sounded more normal.” 2002 that was. In 2019, he now possesses 5 windmills – the tallest being 37 feet! He erected one at an area school that he utilized to teach windmill-building classes. Initially, after much ridicule, his first windmill cranked to life as relief overtook him. As the blades twirled, a bulb affixed to the windmill flickered on.
“I wanted to finish it just to prove them wrong,” he explained. “I knew people would then stop thinking I was crazy.” His fable has turned him into a trekker. Al Gore, former U.S. Vice President and advocate of green living, has saluted his work. Kamkwamba is invited to worldwide events to share his tale with entrepreneurs. During a trip recently to Palm Springs, California, for the first time he viewed an authentic windmill … a whole ‘nother world compared to the unstable, wooden frameworks that whirl in his backyard. 22-year-old Kamkwamba is now a student at the African Leadership Academy, a prestigious South African school for upcoming leaders. Donors cover his education expenses.
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