William was a boy born into poverty in Malawi. He watched his entire family grow thinner during the winter. He has many sisters, and his seven-year-old sister got into the habit of greedily grabbing chunks of food. His other siblings objected to this, of course. They were just as hungry as she was. William found it very difficult to concentrate at home or at school, due to the constant hunger pains. Some kids left school at recess in search of food, and they did not return. Then, a school official informed the students who had not paid their school fees that the money was due the next day. If they did not pay, they were not welcome to continue their schooling. The youngster asked his father for the money, but the impoverished family had no money to spare. That was the end of formalized learning for William, for the moment.
But William’s curiosity would not die.
He ended up tinkering with electricity and electrical wires, and it emerged that he may be a budding electrical engineer. William started off by wiring a home, and he graduated to working with a colleague to create a windmill. This remarkable accomplishment rightly generated some media attention. Shortly thereafter, William was able to attend a secondary school in another town, then a school in South Africa, then eventually Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
William is very interested in science, and he refuses to give up on his dream of science. Despite his many years of lack of educational access, the poverty, his rural place of residence and the many other obstacles that he faced throughout his journey, William’s positive attitude, energy and intellectual verve is an inspiration to us all.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba, 2015
This was a very interesting story about Malawi culture and electrical engineering.
Books about electrical engineering