Our friend William Kamkwamba was back in Chicago last week, as he and co-author Ryan Mealer set out on a tour to promote their new book "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind". As we've written here on the Blog before, William - I use his first name because we're friends now :-) - is currently featured in the Museum of Science and Industry's Fast Forward . . . Inventing the Future exhibit.
William's innovation and determination as a teenager drove him to build a windmill out of scrap metal for his town, providing electricity and initiating a whirlwind journey that has taken William around the world. Lucky for us, that journey included a stop in Chicago in August to participate in LabFest! Millennium Park, where he spoke with young people and adults about his experiences as a young engineer and inspirational innovator. So it was great to see him again last week during a special presentation and reception held at the Museum in honor of his book release.
William assembling a windmill at LabFest! Millennium Park on August 21, 2009.
During the past year, I've communicated with William quite a bit, read his book and his blog, and have scoured the Internet learning more about his story. And every single time, I am more inspired by and honored to know him. On Thursday, William told an audience of adults and families how he started a soccer team in his town, to help give kids an opportunity to stay engaged in something positive and stay out of trouble. And this is on top of surviving a devastating famine in Malawi, building windmills and developing irrigation strategies for his town, attending a prestigious school in South Africa, co-writing a book, shooting a documentary, and helping put his siblings through school. And he's only 22 years old.
I am humbled to know William and all of us at Science Chicago are grateful to have worked with him this year. He's definitely one to watch, and it's awesome that the world is taking notice. He's been making lots of media appearances recently; you can catch him next tonight on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" (this was posted on Oct. 7).
Zikomo Kwambiri, William, for sharing your story with all of us.
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Editor's Note: For more blogs from Dr. Rabiah, visit Science Chicago's website at: http://www.sciencechicagoblog.com