Moving Windmills…The Power of an Individual.

Photo Credit: Kaitlin Houlditch-Fair
I have written several times about William Kamkwamba, the acclaimed “Boy who harnessed the wind.” On June 24th, myself and a few other friends were graciously invited to see the unveiling of William’s newly renovated primary school now powered with solar energy, one of the first and landmark accomplishments of his NGO Moving Windmills. I have read “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” (which YOU should read), but to actually stare at these massive windmills a fourteen year old with an imagination and an incredible will to change his situation built, is….humbling. It’s inspiring. It’s empowering. This guy saw a picture of a windmill in a book and read such a thing could be used to pump water. He could barely read the English describing what this machine did. Fast forward eight years later….there are now three windmills soaring over William’s property with plans for more. Solar panels, halogen light bulbs…this is the greenest house in Malawi.
Continue reading “Moving Windmills…The Power of an Individual.”

Fall in Malawi

A May night in Malawi feels like a North Carolina one in October. Indeed it is fall in Malawi and I am finally putting my sweatshirts to good use. Lilongwe is undergoing a makeover. The dusty Presidential Highway I use to cycle calmly in January is now a four-lane slab of cement and gas-guzzling SUVs racing from one appointment to the next. Indeed the highway is the centerpiece of Lilongwe’s concrete makeover, a symbol of modernity. Not only that, Parliament house was just completed last week and there were thousands of well-wishers to usher in the stunning monolith which is situated right at the base of Lilongwe’s “Capitol Hill.”

Maize, hopefully enough to last the rest of the season

Continue reading “Fall in Malawi”

More Malawian-Irish Fusion

In The Rehearsal Space
In The Rehearsal Space
I have heard from so many people about the dearth of instruments in this country but you’d never know it stepping in to my friend Scott’s house. Scott is a transplant from Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) but essentially a Malawian now having spent the last thirty-odd years here. Every morning 6-8 musicians show up at his door step and they literally play music all day long. “Come on by one morning and jam!” he said to me last week. So I did…and jam I did. Five hours to be exact.

Scott’s house is literally full of guitars (eight I believe) and one bass guitar. In addition, he has converted his storage shed into a rehearsal space which is filled with electric guitars, drums, and you name it. Dedicated to music, he is something of a coach for the musicians who come by and play his bounty of stringed instruments. Musically, the musicians and myself hit it off immediately. They sung some originals in Chichewa and I noodled around on my fiddle. To top it off, Scot’s place is literally at the top of Lilongwe and one can look out and see the maize and scattered settlements for miles.
Continue reading “More Malawian-Irish Fusion”