Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Are You Windspired?

THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND by William KamkwambaWilliam Kamkwamba’s The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope has inspired countless individuals by demonstrating the power that one person has to change the world around them. The story centers around William, who was unable to attend school in his native Malawi, Africa; like many other families in the impoverished nation, William’s parents couldn’t afford the $80 annual tuition needed to attend school. Discovering a book about windmills, he set out to build one for his family to try and enhance their living conditions, if only slightly. What started out as his homemade windmill powering four light bulbs and two radios in his home while also supplying some power to William’s village quickly turned into an outpouring of support and praise. News of this 14-year-old and his “electric wind” spread quickly as William became (and remains) a symbol of ingenuity and inspiration in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

As this young man’s journey becomes more widely known his inspirational impact continues to grow. The message of determination and hope has led Kamkwamba to accolades ranging from a profile in the Wall Street Journal to an interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Following this trend, California State University, Chico has named The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind its “Book-In-Common” and the University’s Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology has announced a photography competition inspired by the text.

Titled “Become Windspired,” the museum’s 26th annual National American Visions Juried Photograph Exhibition is looking for photographs that “harness the creative spirit in you, while telling the potent stories of wind in our world.” The entry form and more details about the competition can be found here. An anthropologist, a photographer/artist, and a community member will judge your image(s) during the exhibition, which will take place from September 29th – October 15th. Then the $500 Valene Smith Award for Excellence in Visual Anthropology, as well as three honorable mentions, will be announced.

If you would like to consider this book for one of your classes, please order an examination copy. If you've already decided to require this book, please request a desk copy.

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