Malawi man builds a windwill to power home
July 5, 2007 10:25 AM   Subscribe

William Kamkwamba decided to build a windmill to power lights in his home: "For many years we had only paraffin candles to light my home at night. They are expensive, smoky, smelly and have to be purchased about 8 km from home."
posted by letitrain (31 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Via Everomp.
posted by letitrain at 10:27 AM on July 5, 2007


Wow.
posted by delmoi at 10:34 AM on July 5, 2007


"SCHOOL DROPOUT WITH A STRIKE OF GENIUS

While government might be moving at a retarded pygmy's pace, [...]". What?!
posted by you at 10:35 AM on July 5, 2007


Metafilter: Moving at a retarded pygmy's pace.
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:42 AM on July 5, 2007


His accomplishment is amazing not just for what was achieved, but that he takes his intelligence and clearly advanced social skills and turns them into everything he needs to get things done.

Incredibly good stuff and very, very much The Best of the Web.
posted by batmonkey at 10:44 AM on July 5, 2007


Awesome. In some small way renews a bit of my sense of humanity.
posted by notsnot at 10:48 AM on July 5, 2007


I love this kind of thing. Eventually it is this kind of initiative that will save the world! I'm disgustingly optimistic.
posted by brneyedgrl at 10:55 AM on July 5, 2007


Really incredible. Thank you.
posted by boo_radley at 10:58 AM on July 5, 2007


That is freaking awesome.
posted by headspace at 10:59 AM on July 5, 2007


Fantastic.

There's some movement to build a set of plans/ideas for easy-to-cobble machine tools so people like this can really get going.
posted by Skorgu at 10:59 AM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Best of the Web!
posted by Mick at 11:01 AM on July 5, 2007


very cool : >
posted by amberglow at 11:07 AM on July 5, 2007


Wonderful. Nthing Best of the Web.
posted by rtha at 11:09 AM on July 5, 2007


first time on the computer

...it won't be long before he discovers porn and free iPhones
posted by sswiller at 11:13 AM on July 5, 2007


If he gets a few more of those he can run his own electric company. Then again, some vested interests might not like that.
posted by antipasta_explosion at 11:13 AM on July 5, 2007


Great story. This one from CNN Heros is pretty cool too.

"To date, the Ryan's Well Foundation has built 266 wells in 12 developing countries, bringing clean water to more than 435,000 people."
posted by daniel9223 at 11:14 AM on July 5, 2007


This is a good read. Thank you for posting this.
posted by chemoboy at 11:19 AM on July 5, 2007


When the earth burns and the seas boil, this guy'll be making crepes while we all starve.
posted by NationalKato at 11:22 AM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


MAKE ran a great how-to article re: a similar design out of all-recycled materials - the chispito (little spark) by velacreations. (But this guy totally wins the MacGuyver award)
posted by bhance at 11:27 AM on July 5, 2007


Great post. Makes me feel small, insignificant and stupid when I get annoyed because I can't have that (absolutely useless) new thing for my recording set-up.

RESET! (at least for a short while). Thanks.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 12:06 PM on July 5, 2007


These are the folks who will be inventing the next big things, not those in well-funded r&d labs--necessity is always the mother of invention.
posted by amberglow at 12:34 PM on July 5, 2007


When the earth burns and the seas boil, this guy'll be making crepes while we all starve.
posted by NationalKato at 2:22 PM on July 5 [+] [!]


If he likes pancakes so much, we should probably get him a metafilter account.
posted by dazed_one at 12:38 PM on July 5, 2007


Very humbling. It really makes you think about how others in the world live. And also how much we take for granted.
posted by boots77 at 12:45 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Truly beautiful. I have been smiling, and inspired, since I saw this. When I look around and see all of the opportunities I have living in a developed country it makes me wish that we had more William Kamkwambas. With that kind of initiative and clever leveraging of what we have there is no problem we could not tackle.

Thanks for a story that momentarily restores my faith in humanity.
posted by skepticbill at 1:11 PM on July 5, 2007


Great Post
posted by Dreamghost at 2:10 PM on July 5, 2007


DEAR SIR,

FIRSTLY I MUST FIRST SOLICIT YOUR CONFIDENCE IN THIS TRANSACTION; THIS BY VIRTUE OF ITS NATURE AS BEEN INTERLY CONFIDENTIAL AND TOP SECRET THOUGH KNOW THAT A TRANSACTION OF THIS MAGNITUDE WILL MAKE SOMEONE APPREHENSIVE AND ELATED BUT I AM ASSURING YOU THAT ALL WILL BE WELL AT THE END OF THE DAY.

I AM BUILDING WINDMILLS.
THAT IS ALL.

YOUR FRIEND,

WILLIAM KAMKWAMBA
posted by Megafly at 2:31 PM on July 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


Bravo, William.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
So is a dark evening that could be spent reading.

Multiply William by the tens of millions. This is how we have squandered our best resource.

How many Ramanujans starve each day?
posted by Twang at 6:03 PM on July 5, 2007


Truly uplifting and inspiring. Way to go William Kamkwamba! Thanks for this excellent post!
posted by nickyskye at 6:46 PM on July 5, 2007


Great story. More African ingenuity can be found at AfriGadget.
posted by tellurian at 8:41 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I spent several weeks at TED Global a few weeks ago and had a chance to meet William. Very inspiring. I've invested in his future and have every confidence it was a great investment.
posted by keds at 10:07 PM on July 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


cool, keds : >
posted by amberglow at 8:34 AM on July 6, 2007


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