Monday, September 28, 2009
Slim makes us proud
I knew a boy in high school name Bryan but everyone called him Slim. We were really great friends...the kind that you talk to on the phone at all hours of the night. We had the kind of friendship where you decide to stay up all night and take turns sleeping for 15 minute intervals to see if you will go insane from sleep deprivation. We would smoke clove cigarettes and listen to Leonard Cohen. We would skip out of class and roam the halls of our school, Bryan, who was quite the performer, would pretend to trip in front of every single classroom that had an open door. It was hilarious to watch him stumble and fall over and over with a huge thud down the hall only to be followed by an uprising of giggles that escaped from each classroom door. Yeah...I loved Bryan.
Well, I am so proud of him because he is seeing some huge success with a new book he has written. He was even on Good Morning America this morning looking all grown up.
Here is a quick synopsis of the book...
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is the story of William Kamkwamba, a young man from Malawi, who, at fourteen years old, battled through extreme poverty and hunger to build a series of windmills from scratch that could generate electricity – a luxury enjoyed by only 2 percent in Malawi. In 2002, one of the worst famines in Malawi’s history killed thousands of people and forced the Kamkwamba family to the brink of starvation. It also forced William to drop out of school since his father, a maize and tobacco farmer, could no longer afford his school fees. But despite this setback, William was determined to get his education. He began visiting a local library that had just opened in his old primary school funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where he discovered a tattered British science book. With only a rudimentary grasp of English, he taught himself basic physics – mainly by studying photos and diagrams. Another book featured windmills on the cover and inspired him to try and build his own. As his country reeled from hunger, William searched the scrap yards and found old tractor fans, shock absorbers, plastic pipe, and bicycle parts. People teased him and called him crazy, but he continued searching and tinkering and eventually build a crude machine that produced twelve volts and powered four lights. A second machine irrigated a family garden. News of his magetsi a mphepo – electric wind – spread beyond Malawi and William soon found himself traveling the world telling his remarkable story.
Okay...I admit that I just copied and pasted that from his website but why bother to think when he has already done it for me. The book was named one of Amazon's top picks of September. Go buy it and read and then buy one for your friends. He is an amazing writer.
I haven't spoken with my Slim in a while. We grew up, got married to our respective spouses, and somehow lost each other in the shuffle. Yet, there has always been a place in my heart for good ol' Slim. I always knew that he would make it big!
Posted by leigh hewett at 1:56 PM