p2pnet news | freedom:- “Two weeks ago I used a computer for the first time. I learned about Google and searched for ‘windmill’ and ‘solar energy.’ I was amazed to learn how many entries there were for both subjects. My friends showed me how to create an email address and now I am on Gmail. Now I am practicing sending and receiving emails when I have access to a computer.”
Only two weeks and he’s already blazing his way through CyberSpace and making and name for himself online.
But it’s a lot more than merely an academic exercise for William Kankwamba.
It’s making a huge difference to him, opening the physical confines of Mastala, his home in the Kasungu district of Malawi, about two-and-a-half-hours hours north of Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital.
“I don’t have regular access to a computer yet, but I’m working on a way to get online more easily,” he posts with the help of a friend he says has a better command of the English language. “You can write me at williamkamkwamba at g mail dot com.”
William Kamkwamba’s Malawi Windmill Blog is a perfect example of how the Net is allowing people everywhere, rich and poor, to communicate directly and freely, and without censorship.
But it’s more. It’s also a demonstration of what people can do to help themselves, at the same time helping others.
“Our family is poor like many families in Malawi and Africa, and as a result, we have no electricity in our village or my home,” he says. “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.”
So Kankwamba, who’s 19, built a windmill.
“I found materials that had been discarded by other farmers or by the nearby tobacco plantations, and I bought a few parts with money I scraped together,” he blogs.
- 500 Kwacha (Malawian currency) or $2.75 (US $1=145 Kwacha) for two bearings.
- 500 Kwacha for a bicycle dynamo (the kind that powers a bike’s light when you ride the bike.)
- 400 Kwacha for a fan belt
- 800 Kwacha for a bicycle frame
“The windmill now powers lights for 3 rooms and a light over our porch outside. I also use it to power my family’s two radios. I also can charge mobile phones that the neighbors have.”
Welcome to the Net, William
(Thanks, John P)