The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind study guide
What did the bubble gum story indicate about William’s belief in magic?
Bad things come with magic.
William’s father paid for the bag. What does that indicate about his father?
His father is a kind man who cares about his son. He isn’t worried about magic.
Once you opened your heart to magic, you never know ______________________?
What else you might let inside.
With God on your side, they (the wizards) have no ________?
Whose father is the chief?
The slang “bo” is short for which word that means “hello” in French?
With what materials did they make their own trucks, which were like a go-carts?
Wire and empty carton of booze.
What was the problem with getting a haircut in the trading center?
Frequent power outages.
What was the moral of the story of the leopard and the lion?
When planning misfortune for your friends, be careful because it will come back to haunt you. You must always wish others well.
What was William’s father’s occupation before he became a farmer?
He was a traveling trader.
Why was his father famous?
He fought twelve guys and won.
When his father was young, who controlled Malawi?
Hastings Kamuzu Banda
What rules did the president have for his picture in any trader’s shop?
No other photo could hang higher than the president photo. If you didn’t have his picture in the store you would have to pay.
What happened to anyone who dared to question the president’s policies?
The president’s thugs the “Young Pioneers” would snatch you up and tortured, put you in prison and even tossed you into a pit of hungry crocodiles.
According to history, what ended the fighting between the Yao William’s mother’s people, and the Chewa, his father’s?
The Scottish missionary David Livingstone who helped end slavery, opened Malawi to trade and built good schools and missions.
On what did a lot of traders waste their money? How was William’s father different? What nickname did this earn him?
Women William’s father didn’t care for this and because of that people called him the Pope
What happened to William’s father when Robert Fumulani came to visit on Malawian Independence Day?
His father policeman aside to get in. He danced and people wanted this drunkard to be removed. He had to fight a lot of policemen and young pioneers and won until he got tired and agreed to be arrested after he enjoyed his barbecue.
Following the incident, the Judge advised his father to “turn his life over to___________”
How did William’s mother and father first meet?
He saw her enter the market.
How did his uncle John make his fortune? What did he do with the money he made?
He was a middleman finding jut the right person to do the job, since he was right most of the time the estates paid him a lot. Started a farm import business buying and selling maize seed and fertilizer to farmers.
How was William’s family house built and by whom?
His Dad spent all his spare time he had building and weekends building it. and building materials. By William Dad and sometimes Uncle John’s workers.
How did William try to obtain the magic known as mangolomera? What happened?
By Phiri’s nephew Shabani offered it to him he said yes but Shabani conned by not telling you weren’t allowed to bathe with this. Or he was cheated.
How did Uncle John fall ill?
Who decides the outcome when a powerful man dies?
Why did Jeremiah inherit Uncle John’s business? What did he do with it?
He was Uncle John’s first born son. He took the money and disappeared and returned after most of the money was gone.
What effect did the new president of Malawi’s policies have on small farmers?
He made sure every farmer could get fertilizer. Seed was cheap. Made the farmers fend for themselves.
How did William first meet the dog, Khamba?
It was Uncle Socrates dog.
Trapping birds was often the only way to get meat. Describe how William was innovative in hunting the birds?
baited it with a glue. and fought who could pull off the heads.
How did William obtain entry into his cousin Charity’s clubhouse?
He earned it by stealing mangos.
What games does William play at the trading center?
How did Daniel learn how the radio works?
Through trial and error.
What did they use instead of a soldering iron to perform repairs on the radio?
They heated a thick wire until it became red hot, and then used it to fuse the metal joints togethers.
Why did people bring their broken radios to the boys?
Because they learned from there mistakes and didn’t break anymore radios.
Most Malawians are sustenance farmers. What is sustenance farming?
They depended on maize plots to survive.
What is nsima?
It is made by adding maize flour to hot water until scooping into cakes. And everyone depends on it to live.
How many people are involved when William’s family plants crops?
Only his father William because William is the only bot in the family.
Because they are in the southern hemisphere, in what months did the planting season begin and end?
July to November.
What happened in December of 2000 that was different?
The rains were late and didn’t come until the last week of December, The rains that followed were too heavy, floods came and carried homes, livestock, seedlings and the fertilizer.
What was the effect of the drought on William’s family?
In February were wilted and hunched towards the ground. By May the half the crops were burned by the sun.
What is the bicycle dynamo? What about the dynamo fascinates William?
A divice on a bicycle that generates electrify when you pedal the bike. That a spinning wheel can create light,
What experiment does William perform with the dynamo and the radio?
If you connected the wires where the batteries went and then peddled would the radio play.
What happened when he put the wires in the socket labeled AC? What “discovery” did William make without realizing it?
The radio played. The difference between alternating and direct current.
How do most people in Africa have light at night?
They used kerosene lamps.
Even if you paid lots of money and went through the trouble to get electricity, the government would still issue _____ cuts.
Explain William’s statement that “cutting down the trees is one of the things that keeps us Malawians poor.”
Without the trees the flood waters wash away the minerals in the soil and garbage and runs into the Shire river. Which clogs the dams and causes power cuts.
Why did villagers come to Gilbert’s home during the famine?
For ganyu or hand outs of food.
Why did his father feed them?
He has to he is the chief.
What is ADMARC? What does it do?
The Agriculture Development Marketing Corporation. A company that sold maize surplus from government farms.
According to the opposition speakers, what did the government do with the surplus grain?
They sold all the surplus grain for profit.
Why did William’s father sell the livestock?
Because the price of maize was rising and his father couldn’t wait for it to go any lower.
The first meal to go was______________.
Why did William figure that Geoffrey wouldn’t go to school?
His mother was already struggling to pay his fees. Also she needed him and his brother to work the field.
Who finally asks the challenges about the “war against hunger” in Malawi? What happened to him?
Gilbert’s father the chief. After he spoke the presidents thugs took his away and beat him up.
What was the one meal of the day? Why?
Supper. Because it is easier to keep your mind off of hunger during the day
How were women treated, even during the famine?
Women in the family could not eat with the members of the opposite sex and vice versa. Do what your mother and sisters said.
What was the intent of the family plan that required selling all of their food?
For there mother to make cakes to sell at the markets.
What was unusual about the two young men talking to William’s sister?
They were teachers from Mtunthama school. She wasn’t allowed to talk to boys her parents don’t know.
What happened to her? Why was William’s father angry?
Annie packed her bags and got married to one of the teachers. He spent all that money during the famine to keep Annie in school.
Though they didn’t admit it, what benefit was this to the family?
Her absence ment a little more food during dinner at every meal.
Describe the conditions of William’s trip to get grain from the ADMARC?
People smelled bad, people were exchanging there spots in line for a little maize on the way out, people were impatient and began pushing, after they announced there were only ten bags left people began fighting.
What was different about this Christmas? What did William do? What did he eat?
Breakfast didn’t have all the food he was used to. He didn’t eat any meat like always. The christmas show was canceled. He and his cousin Charity got an animal skin from James and they ate the meat off the skin.
What great news is better than any Christmas present
That the National Examinations Board released the results of the Standard Eight exams.
Where did William hope to get in? Where did he end up getting in? Why?
He hoped to go to Chayamba or Kasungu. He got into Kachokolo. His grades were not good enough.
As he got ready to go to school, what was the problem he had?
His new school was five kilometers away from his house. The road was filled with mud and insects.
What problem did the headmaster have with him immediately when he arrived? What excuse did William have?
That William was didn’t have the proper shoes for his uniform. He said he lived in Wimbe and on the way the mud would destroy his good lather shoes and his mother would not like that.
Describe the conditions of the school: the rooms, the latrines, etc.
The roofs leaked, Three classrooms were missing a wall and the latrines were disgusting and dangerous with termites had eaten through the floor planks.
What announcement about the tuition greatly disappointed William?
The next dat the grace period was over or your tuition was due. His father had not paid his fees and didn’t have enough money.
Out of 70 students, how many remained at the school?
Only 20 remained.
Describe the conditions of the famine that William witnessed?
Peoples bodies changed into horrible shapes, they ate anything eatable they could find on the ground, just came up and ate other people’s food, No one had energy.
What did the president say when asked about people dying for lack of food?
He siad nobody has died of hunger.
This much was certain: “Every ______ for ______.
Every man for himself.
What is the result of the hunt with Khamba?
Khamba fell into a deep sleep. The hunt took all his energy.
Who helps William “take care of” Khamba? Why did he suggest this? How did they do it?
His cousin Charity and Mizeck, Because Khamba looked weak and pathetic. They suggested to kill him. they did it by hitting him with a stone.
What terrible thought did William have when he saw Khamba again?
When Khamba saw William leave he had given up his will to live.
According to William’s mother, why should they think about positive things and not hunger or food?
If you only think about hunger you will get stressed and burn more energy and cause your body to suffer more.
Why did hunger seem to take only the men, while the other diseases did not discriminate?
Men were the ones who forged for food and burned energy that would not be able to be restored. Cholera didn’t discriminate.
Dowe is the equivalent of American _________________________.
According to those in the market, what did they do to thieves who stole dowe? What was William’s father’s reaction?
They would kill or get revenge on the thieves. His father just forgave them.
William played games and went where to occupy his mind?
To the trading center and played games like bawo or chess.
What were the first books that he obtained? Why?
They were geography, social studies, and basic spelling. They were all the text books that his friends at school were using. Because he hoped to get caught up before classes started again.
When William learns about a turbine, he immediately connected it to what he knew about__________.
The bicycle dynamo.
He knew about magnets because of his work with ___________.
How do the poles of a magnet interact?
The north side attracts to the south side and vice versa and the north side would not attract to the other north side and same thing with the south
Why is the earth a kind of giant magnet?
The North side of the magnet will always be pulled towards the north pole and vice versa.
What is electromagnetic induction?
It happens when a coil of wire rotates inside a magnetic field, it will produce a pulse of current and it produces AC.
Most electricity in the home, from a power station, is AC, like the kind from the bicycle dynamo. What does AC stand for?
According to the story, how did Archimedes create a “death ray” in ancient times?
He used a lot of mirrors to reflect the sun onto enemy ships until they caught fire and sank.
Where did William get the parts for his windmill?
He had to find them in the Kachokolo’s abandoned garage an scrapyard.
When William returns to school, what has changed? How is he compared to his classmates?
Some people had died of hunger form the famine. He was more behind on his studies than his other classmates. They were studying different thing then him.
How did he manage to obtain “free” education for several weeks?
He had to calculate his movements to avoid W.M. Phiri. Had to hide in the bathroom and peak through a tiny window.
Why did his father say he failed his only son?
Because boys needed to go to school to get a good job and his father didn’t have enough money to keep him in school.
Who did William have to convince, reluctantly, to give over his broken bicycle?
Where did William say he learned something each day?
What did the students across the street in the schoolyard call him?
A madman, the crazy boy in the scrapyard and a Chamba-smoking madman.
Who was the only person who didn’t laugh at him?
Who bought the dynamo, the final piece, from a boy on a bike?
Gilbert bought it.
How did William know that the windmill worked? What happened when he first connected a radio? Why?
When the blades on the windmill spun the radio played. Black smoke poured out of the radio and it caught on fire. the dynamo produced 12 volts and the radio was only meant to handle half of that.
When people saw the tower, they came to see. What did they say about him?
That what he was doing was imposable and he is crazy.
How did people respond when the light lit up?
They praised him and were amazed that he did that. The crowd begin to cheer, and clapped
What was Charity using the copper wire for when William saw it?
As a clothing line.
The first thing William did with the wire was: ____________________?
To put lights in his room.
According to William, how could the windmill be a shield without hunger?
It could be used to pump water for our fields.
One of the problems with the windmill was that it didn’t work when _________.
When there was no wind.
How did William start to make money with the windmill?
He charged peoples phones for money.
The 12 volts for the dynamo was enough for a light bulb, but not enough for a phone. He needed to add ______________________.
A step-up transformer.
The power is boosted by a process called mutual _________________.
The first transformer was produced by Michael ____________________.
The windmill produced AC power. The car battery was DC power. What did he need?
Diodes or rectifiers which are found in many radios and electronic devices and convert the power for you.
What materials did William use to make light switches in his house?
He used bicycle spokes, strips of iron and cut a button shape out of an old flip flop.
What was the danger with his wiring and his wood and grass roof?
If the wires sparked his wood and grass roof could catch on fire.
When termites infested his room, how did he clean them up?
He used the termites to lure in a group of passing chickens to eat the termites.
What is a circuit breaker? What does it do? How did William make one?
A circuit breaker contained wires which led to the main power supply and was used to kill the power when the circuits became overloaded. He used a breaker box that he made out of melted PVC pipe, two nails wrapped with wires, a bar magnet attached to a bicycle spoke and a spring.
How did William learn about pulleys that he used to solve his problem?
He learned about them from Gilbert’s work experience. He used the pulleys to replace the bike chain on the windmill that keeps the blades from flying off.
The next thing they experimented with was _________________________. How far did the signal travel?
Using the windmill as a transmitter. It broadcasted beyond three hundred feet.
What other projects did he explore and why? What do they all have in common?
The water pump because he wanted to bring water to drink and to water crops without going a long way for it. And he wanted to use solar and hydro power to boil water to help his mom with the cooking. They are all to help his parents.
What are the symptoms of malaria, and who had them?
They are vomiting, shaking high fever, heavy breathing and lose of feeling in legs. William’s mom had it.
Where did they have the funeral for Gilbert’s father, the chief?
It was held in the yard of the primary school underneath the big blue gums.
Instead of blaming weather for the drought, people blame magic. Why did they blame William?
Because William built the windmill.
Why do you think the authors include the serious accounts of witchcraft that were in the news?
People there thought witches were real and a problem. People thought that William was a witch.
What sort of change does the new president of Malawi begin? How did local corruption undermine this plan?
The government lowered the price of fertilizer coupons so people could afford them. Many local leaders hoarded them and sold them to people with the most money instead of farmers.
According to William, why did people who understood the windmill and charge his phone still blame him?
Because they thought his windmill blew away the rain clouds.
William says people died from AIDS due to stubbornness and lack of education. What role did “magic men” and “wizards” play in this?
The wizards took advantage of people who didn’t know better about the sickness and coned them.
How did William and his friends persuade people to get tested for AIDS, which he describes as as deadly as famine?
They persuaded people by a play presented by Wimbe clinic.
How did William’s windmill first get “noticed” by outsiders?
Officials from Malawi Teachers Training Activity who were inspecting the library at Wimbe primary when they spotted the windmill. They told there boss Hartford Mchazime.
What benefits came from the media attention?
People saw his house, got in a lot of the papers and people now knew how smart he was.
How did his notoriety improve his educational opportunities?
Mr. Mchazime wanted to send him back to school. And he is going to boarding school that specifies in science.
What was quirky about Kennedy, his roommate?
He never cleaned his socks.
Who does William sit next to on the plane on the way to the TED conference?
Soyapi Mumba the software engineer.
Multiple people help William at TED. Who is especially helpful and how?
Tom Rielly gave him a flash drive with his presentation. He taught William how to use the computer, the internet and helped him set up his own email account. He helped him prepare what to say for his speech.
How did the World Wide Web change William’s opportunities?
He found results on types of energy.
Why did his family call him Noah?
Because William saved his family from destruction.
While in the U.S., William visits New York and California. What impresses him about each?
In New York what impressed him was the elevator that took him higher then he has ever been, how many lanes the roads had. In California what impressed him was the blinking lights, spilled money and sounds of sirens.
According to William, what will he do next?
Maybe go back to school or study new machines, Teach others how to build machines, build more windmills to provide other things for his family.
About what project did William inform the president of Malawi?
What does William seem to do every time he’s home?
He has to replace one of the blades on his windmill because they brake off
Where does William finally feel like he is surrounded by colleagues with the same motivations as his?
At his new school the African Leadership Academy.