William Kamkwamba's story is important, sad and beautiful. In the village in Malawi where he was born, people lived much as they had lived for generations, hunting and farming in the intersection of the daylight world and a dark netherworld of juju
"...Men with bald heads, twenty feet tall, are said to appear on the roads... Ghost trucks drive the same roads at night, coming on fast with their bright lights flashing and engines revving loud... Magic hyenas wander the villages at night, snatching... goats... in their razor jaws and delivering them to the doorsteps of wizards. Magic lions are sent to kill delinquent debtors, and snakes the size of tractors can lie in wait for you in your fields."
Yet, American readers can recognize their own childhoods in Kamkwamba's when he recalls enjoying watching "Rambo" and "Terminator"...
Beyond the Book
Moving Windmills Project
Inspired by William Kamkwamba's story, the Moving Windmills Project was founded in 2008 to support rural economic development and education projects in Malawi. The nonprofit group works with local leaders to provide food, clothing, shelter, sanitation, health, education and community-building.
Completed projects include:
- wind and solar power for village homes
- re-roofing village homes
- protection from rain and fire
- water sanitation and hygiene education
- disease prevention
- anti-malarial bed-net distribution
- bedding distribution
- warmth and pest protection
- a water well and solar-powered water pump
- drip irrigation