Peter & I just finished reading The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. It’s the story of William Kamkwamba , a boy who grew up in poverty and famine in rural Malawi. When he had to drop out of school at 14 because his family didn’t have the school fee, he started reading books from a tiny local library. He read about windmills in a textbook about energy and decided to build his own. He collected junk from a scrapyard and assembled a working windmill without even a screwdriver. He used that to add electric lighting to his house, inventing his own switches and circuit breakers along the way.
After a local newspaper picked up on his story, he was eventually invited to speak at TED.
This led to a trip to America, which was described in this documentary:
He now has a blog which describes all of his adventures since then. He’s started all sorts of great projects which have really changed the lives of the people around him. We really enjoyed this book. The part describing the famine he and his family lived through is pretty horrible, but it’s a wonderful story, and he’s a really funny guy.