WilliamKamkwamba’sThe Boy Who Harnessed the Wind“‘I try, and I made it!’”
HMXP 102Dr. Fike
William at Winthrop
WilliamKamkwambawill speak in the Richardson Ballroom (DIGS) at 11:00 on Thursday, April 3rd.He will also speak in Dina’s Place (DIGS) on the 3rdat 2:00 and 3:30, and on the 4that 9:30.
Handout of sentences.Videos.Elements:Q @ I, purpose.Writing in class about chapter 1.Discussion of magic (concept, interpretation, point of view)Environmentalism (concept, information, implications and consequences)Heroism:concept and interpretationBooks:informationFBIs and MaslowConclusionsConnections to other readings
Take a look at the handout of sentences. What do they have in common?SeePrentice Hall Reference Guide131-35.
Watch the videos on theKamkwambahandout.Show #2 and #5.
Writing in Class: Q @ I and Purpose
Questions at issue: What question does William’s book ask? Note that you will have to come up with this yourself—it is not in the book.Purpose: The purpose (to do something) is stated in the book. Can you put your finger on it?(Conclusions: These answer the Q @ I. They are “the moral of the story,” the point or message that the author is trying to make.)(See next slide for Dr.Fike’ssuggested answers.)
Q @ I: How does William’s story suggest ways in which Africa can be transformed from poverty to prosperity? What lessons does he want us to take away from the book?Purpose: William’s purpose is to spread the following message on page 8 in “A Great Adventure” (see the back matter): “‘Trust yourself and believe. . . . And whatever happens, don’t give up.’” He identifies this as his purpose by adding that “the book and tour were really about spreading this important message.”Conclusions: We will address these later in our discussion. Note that conclusions answer the Q @ I.
More on Purpose
73: “‘When you go to see the lake, you also see the hippos.’”269: “‘I try, and I made it!’”275: “‘Whatever you want to do, if you do it with all your heart, it will happen.’” Moral of the story.280: “I went to sleep dreaming of Malawi, and all the things made possible when your dreams are powered by your heart.”8 in the back matter: “‘Trust yourself and believe,’ I told them. ‘And whatever happens, don’t give up.’”
Chapter 1: Writing in Class
Why does the book open with stories about bubblegum and a rhino? You may want to address this question by considering the following themes: magic, religion, colonialism, patriarchy, environmentalism, heroism, and karma?Write for 10 minutes and see what comes up. We will discuss your discoveries.
What does the presence of magic in William’s book tell you about the human experience?To what extent do YOU embrace superstitions, perhaps alongside religion?At what times are you especially susceptible to a nonscientific mentality?Do you feel superior to the young William because you know better than to embrace a magical mentality? Is your imagination the worse for your skepticism?
What things get introduced in chapter 1? In other words, why is chapter 1 an appropriate way to open the book?Work in groups of 2-5 persons for 5-7 minutes. We will then discuss your answers as a whole class.
More on Chapter 1
Note all the details that are introduced here:MagicWestern influence (technology)Participation mystique vs. sciencePatriarchy (father, grandfather, great grandfather)Superstition (wizards,GuleWamkula, ghost trucks, magic hyenas, witch planes, the devil)Forest—environmentalismColonialismPresbyterian churchHeroesChildhood playTheater—movies, popular cultureTrucksPower outagesHungerStory tellingKarmaFamily
Point of View
Note the tension between the Christian and the magical points of view:Names: Noah (276), Moses, Charity, Ruth, Jeremiah, Mary,Tiyamike(“Thank God”), devilReferences: Presbyterian church, prayers, father’s divine dream (36)Allusions: the creation of light, Israelites in the desert searching for Canaan (184), the parable of thesower(158)Magic: wizards,GuleWamkula, ghost trucks, witch planes(The scientific point of view kicks in as William matures.)
Environmentalism:Implications and Consequences
Water for irrigation, cookingDams (81)Wind and solar powerDeforestation (82, 199)AgricultureNote that water is going to become a hugely important natural resource in our century because of global warming and the melting of the ice caps. It already is in parts of the American west and in places like China and Africa. Even in the U.S. water is a political issue, especially in the western part of the country. The ground in the southeast is drying out, and the aquifer is diminishing in the Midwest.
Group Work: The Concept of Heroism
What is the evolution of William’s sense of heroism in this book? What types of heroism (values) are portrayed? Consider the figures on the next slide, who are listed in no particular order. Mark your books as you work through the list.Organize them(put them in groups or categories according to types of heroism and then categorize each type as a lower or higher form of heroism).Who does not fitthese categories?Then ask:So what?What interpretationof William’s developmentarises? How does his journey enact a redefinition of heroism?
Michael Faraday 211 and Thomas Edison 278Rambo, Chuck Norris, Delta Force, Terminator 15; BoloYeungfromBloodsport176Jesus 158Moses 175; Noah 276MwaseChiphaudzu6-7ChiefWimbe96-97Father,TrywellKamkwamba5 andch. 2;Grandfather 9-11HastingsKamuzuBanda (25, 68);BakiliMuluzi(54, 155);BinguwaMutharika(237)MLK 285-86;Obamaon 5 in the back matterMisterPhiri41Jeremiah (not the prophet) 53-54Scientists 68, 167, 203, 205; (McGyver)Dr.Mchazime251; Mike McKay 257;SoyapiMumba263; TomRielly265Dr. Mary Atwater on 6 in the back matterChiefMwase6-8
Types of Heroes
LOW SIDE:Wizards: ChiefMwaseChiphaudzu6-8Fighters/hunters: Rambo, Chuck Norris, Delta Force, Terminator 15; BoloYeungfromBloodsport176; Father,TrywellKamkwamba5 andch. 2;Grandfather 9-11; MisterPhiri41HIGH SIDE:Philanthropists: Dr.Mchazime251; Mike McKay 257;SoyapiMumba263; TomRielly265Inspirational leaders/activists: MLK 285-86;Obamaon 5 in the back matterScientists: Michael Faraday 211 and Thomas Edison 278; Dr. Mary Atwater on 6 in the back matter; see 68, 167 (Archimedes), 203, 205; (McGyver)Public servants: ChiefWimbe96-97; President HastingsKamuzuBanda (25, 68); PresidentBinguwaMutharika(237)Deliverers: Moses 175; Noah 276; Jesus 158DO NOT FIT:Villains:BakiliMuluzi(54, 155); Jeremiah (not the prophet) 53-54
Interpretation: William’s Heroism?
LOW SIDE:William tries the lower types of heroism (magic, fighting, hunting), but he is not very successful. So her realizes that he must make his way in the world by other means. Superstition, physical force, and subsistence-level hunting will not suffice. The power of the mind, rather than the force of arms, is the key to his success.HIGH SIDE:William fits all the higher types of heroism: becoming a scientist leads him to become an activist (he even becomes an inspirational leader via the HIV+ play); he becomes a philanthropist and public servant; and he can justifiably be called a deliverer of his people (cf. Noah on 276). Those higher types of activities/heroism suggest avenues out of poverty for Africa.DOES NOT FIT:William does not behave irresponsibly like Jeremiah or the first and third presidents.
Books and Information
You:TheBoy Who Harnessed the Wind::William:sciencebooks.Did William’s book do for any of you the thing that science books did for him?What sort of impact did his book have on you? Does it make you want to help Africa? Be honest. What does your answer tell you about our human experience?Reading can open a world of possibilities if we engage the quality he mentions on 187:imagination. Has a book ever had this effect on you?Law of Attraction:Imagination + desire + gratitude + hard work = results.Are you trying to get through college without all pieces of this equation?
FBIs: What impedes his progress?
SuperstitionPovertyFamineThe following slide will help you understand how remarkable William’s journey has been. He managed the higher without the support of the lower.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
William achieves the top three categories in spite of not having the bottom two. It is as if he built a superstructure without a foundation.
Conclusions: The “Moral” of the Story
Q @ I: How does William’s story suggest ways in which Africa can be transformed from poverty to prosperity? What lessons does he want us to take away from the book?Answer this question: What are William’s conclusions?See the next slide for suggested answers.
Last page in the book: “African solutions to African problems.”Education and technology are the keys to Africa’s development. The same things that will help Malawi will also help the world in general.Western assistance is essential.Helping one person enables that person to help countless others. Paying it forward: positive karma.
How does William’s book relate to Rock Hill and Winthrop University?Does your house use solar panels or wind generators?Do you give to a charity that helps poor people in Third World countries?If a teenager in Africa can built a wind generator out of junk during a famine, what is our excuse for not making the transition to alternative energies like wind, solar, geothermal, tide power, wave power, etc.?
How does William’s story measure up to statements in our HMXP anthology?
Par. 62: “‘You’re really not thinking, I’m afraid. You’ve recited a story you’ve heard a thousand times, and now you’re listening to Mother Culture as she murmurs in your ear: ‘There, there, my child, there’s nothing to think about, nothing to worry about, don’t get excited, don’t listen to the nasty animal, this is no myth, nothing I tell you is a myth, so there’s nothing to think about, nothing to worry about, just listen to my voice and go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep. . ..’”“‘I should have gotten you when you were seventeen.’”Does William listen to Mother Culture or not? Why do you think so?
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Par. 6: “Then, again, do not tell me, as a good man did today, of my obligation to put all poor men in good situations. Are they my poor? I tell thee, thou foolish philanthropist, that I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong. There is a class of persons to whom by all spiritual affinity I am bought and sold; for them I will go to prison, if need be; but your miscellaneous popular charities; the education at college of fools; the building of meeting-houses to the vain end to which many now stand; alms to sots; and thethousandfoldRelief Societies;—though I confess with shame I sometimes succumb and give the dollar, it is a wicked dollar which by and by I shall have the manhood to withhold.”What do you think about this passage now that you have read William’s book?
Friedman, par. 9: “Political freedom in this instance clearly came along with the free market and the development of capitalist institutions.”Do you think that William would agree or disagree with this statement? Does the Malawi he depicts have political freedom? How is capitalism depicted in his book?
Nussbaum, page 189, par. 9: One’s education must stress cosmopolitanism over nationalism. Incosmopolitan education, you “are above all citizens of a world of human beings,” which you “have to share . . . with the citizens of other countries.”Does William’s book illustrate this concept? Does Nussbaum’s concept carry social responsibility with it? Does reading the book contribute a cosmopolitan component to your own education?
“The Universal Declarationof Human Rights”
23.3: “Everyone who works has the right to just andfavourableremuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.”24: “Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.”25.1: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”25.2: “Education . . . shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups. . . .”How do William’s experiences measure up to these statements? What does that tell you about the human experience?
She writes about white people’s unearned privileges. An extension of her point is as follows:Whites:blacksin the U.S.::U.S. and theWest:Africa.In other words, we as Americans believe that we are entitled to things that Africans do not even have access to. Agree? Disagree?
Like WU’s GLI
GLI: “By enhancing global education for our students with the full support and participation of the University’s faculty, staff, and administrators, we intend for Winthrop to become a school of distinction for preparing our students to be educated and involved global citizens, to understand their place in global society and their responsibilities to human society at large, and to take great joy at celebrating the very rich cultures of their communities, their states, their regions, their nations, and their world.”(http://www2.winthrop.edu/gli/)By reading and discussing William’s book, you are participating in the GLI.
Have you ever felt great conviction about something that others considered crazy or something that they considered garbage? See 188-90. What do you make of humans’ basicconservatism, their resistance to any kind of change even if it is in their best interest? (See 209 for an example of overcoming conservatism.)What’s your dream? Does it seem feasible? See William’s comment on 224.I think that he would tell you to go for it.