Enchanted by electricity as a boy, William Kamkwamba wanted to study science in Malawi's top boarding schools. But in 2002, his country was stricken with a famine that devastated his family's farm and left his parents destitute. Unable to pay the eighty-dollar-a-year tuition for his education, William was forced to drop out and help his family forage for food as thousands across the country starved and died. But William refused to let go of his dreams. He embarked on a daring plan to bring his family a set of luxuries that only two percent of Malawians could afford--electricity and running water.
Using scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves, William forged a crude windmill, which eventually powered four lights. A second machine turned a water pump. Soon, news of William's magetsi a mphepo--his "electric wind"--spread beyond the borders of his home, and the boy who was once called crazy became an inspiration around the world. “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.” co-written by Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, is the featured book for this year’s USU Common Literature Experience. William Kamkwamba will present the Common Literature Convocation Saturday morning and he’s Tom Williams’ guest for the hour on Friday’s AU.