William Kamkwamba was an ordinary fourteen year old boy, who lived in a remote village of Malawi called Wimbe. William was passionate about learning but unfortunately, his father could not afford to pay for his education. His education was terminated before completion due to poverty. Long after he had been forbidden school due to owing a large amount of tuition fees, William feeling dejected, carried on sneaking into the library and devouring books. He was hungry for knowledge!
In the midst of all this, his village was suffering a great drought and a colossal famine ensued. Food became scarce. It led to immense struggling and suffering to obtain food. People were starving in the village and William was deeply anguished after losing his adored pet, a dog which he could no longer afford to feed! Worst of all several people lost their lives in Williams village, it was tragic.
William started to wonder if he could use his knowledge to solve the problems he was facing. He occupied himself with more reading. His father, oblivious to William’s plight of searching for knowledge to solve the current problem, became incensed. He felt exasperated that he wasn’t helping more with planting and sowing in the futile fields.
William was not discouraged he became even more convinced that he could create a solution to the problems, if given the opportunity. He pleaded with his father to let him try.
His idea involved creating a windmill, which would draw out water for irrigation from the waterhole. His father vilified him all the more! William went as far as enlisting the help of his friends to implore on his behalf but his father wouldn’t hear of it.
The situation got even more complicated because he required the dynamo from his father’s bicycle to necessitate powering of the windmill. Eventually his mother intervened and demanded his father hand over his bicycle to him.
With that he was able to create a working windmill that powered an irrigation system that saved the whole village from hunger. His father was proud of him the most!
William who is now known as a famous innovator and engineer appeared on Ted Talks. He was asked how he was able to save his village and how he thought of this idea. He explained that he had come across a book discussing using energy and then he tried and made it work.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something might be all it takes to achieve success. The secret to getting ahead is getting started (Mark Tweit). There is no friend as loyal as a book (Ernest Hemingway).