Kasungu, Malawi … The rains had been timely and plentiful, and a bumper crop was predicted. The World Bank read the indicators and saw an opportune moment to call on Malawi to reduce its debt to the World community. In order to make the required payments, it was necessary to sell a large portion of its emergency grain reserve. It did not appear to be a major problem as the harvest was only a short distance away and every indicator was on the positive side.

It was the year of the completion of the first building of a medical complex near the international airport supported by the Malawi Project. More significant on the world scene, it was the year of the attacks on the World Trade Center buildings in New York City. It was late 2001!

With the grain sold on the world market, the rains needed to complete the crops suddenly and unexpectedly stopped. Subsequent months brought the worst famine in over 50 years in Malawi.

At this same time, a small boy from the central region was facing near impossible odds trying to gain an education. William Kamkwamba was born on August 5, 1987, and raised in Kasungu, the birthplace of Malawi’s first President Hastings Kamuzu Banda. William was a born inventor. In spite of being expelled from school because his parents could not afford the school fees, he continued to pursue his education in spite of the intense discouragement and obstacles he faced.

In 1991, at the age of 14 this village boy built an electrically powered windmill from scrap parts, and with the use of rough plans he found in a library book called, “Using Energy.” His creation and its success brought water to his village, and in time — international fame to William. A book about his invention, called “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” has sold millions and continues to inspire school children, and adults, around the world. Now Netflix, in cooperation with BBC films, has introduced his story in a movie nominated for an Oscar. Its debut on Netflix was on March 1, 2019.

You can read the success of this young man through his book, or by watching the Netflix production.