Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Windmill Genius of Malawi

In the small African country of Malawi, a young man, William Kamkwamba, had to teach himself when his parents ran out of scholarship money. He taught himself electricity, mechanical engineering, and then built the first windmill in the country. At first even his family thought he had gone crazy, until he proved that it did in fact produce power. It made 12 watts, and soon he was charging people to charge their phones.
Since then, he's massively upgraded everything, and now is attending a university in South Africa on full scholarship. I'm amazed, because when I was 22 I had pretty much no useful skills whatsoever. He says he would like to bring power to all Malawians, which is a tough task, since only 2% have electricity now.
Now if he can do all that he did with just some old books from a local library, imagine what he'll manage now that he has computers and the internet on his hands. (He says they boggle his mind right now, which means he's gaining a lot from them.)
I think the greatest aspect of this is proof to Africans that they can do amazing things on only a little education. (And that even a little knowledge is power.) I predict that all of Africa's fortunes will rise because of this.

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