Ingenuity: A Windmill for a Village

Ingenuity is the quality of being clever, inventive, and resourceful. Ingenuity uses skill and imagination to create something useful from available materials. One African boy transformed his village in Malawi, Africa, using little more than ingenuity and persistence.

William Kamkwamba lived with his parents on a small plot of farmland in the central Malawian village of Masitala. Malawi suffered a famine in 2001. Thousands of people died, and many were starving. His parents' income from their farm had dwindled to almost nothing. William was forced to quit school at age fourteen because his parents could no longer afford the $80 a year fee. He continued educating himself through the use of his local library.

William picked up an old science textbook called Using Energy and began looking at the pictures. He noticed a picture of a windmill. Although he could not read English, he studied the diagrams. He learned that a windmill could create electricity and pump water. His village had neither, but it had plenty of wind. William thought having a windmill could help defend his village against hunger. He wanted to build a windmill for his village. He started with a small goal of powering an electric light for his family's home.

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