Malawi: “Whatever you want to do, if you do it with all your heart, it will happen.”

This is a book I was waiting for to get my hands on: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba. I had heard many good things about this book, and I am always excited when an African author and book has gotten praise and glory. “Few people realize this, but cutting down the trees is one of the things that keeps us Malawians poor.”

The book is a true story about William, a boy with a big dream. His dreams were so big that they included electricity and running water for his family. This does not sound like a big dream to you? Well, in Malawi, these things are considered luxurious, and only a few percent of the population can afford luxury like that. A boy like that, with a big dream, coming from a poor family, was obviously considered crazy by other people. This did however not discourage him. “Don’t insult me today just because I’m poor, you don’t know what my future holds!”

If we all had the willpower and strength of William this world would be a better place. He never gave up. He had some old science books and kept on looking for scrap metal and other junk to build a windmill. You can nothing but admire a young boy like that, and to be happy for him when he succeeds. The world needs more encouraging stories like this.

This book should be read by everyone, there are many lessons to be learned for all of us, but to be honest there was a bit too much about famine, witchcraft and magic in it. They are all important pieces of Malawian history and present, and they have important roles in the book, but I still feel the focus should have been more on William. Drought, hunger, magic, and no science sounds like a history book from days gone by, but unfortunately we all know this is not the case.

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