The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy WHo Harnessed the Wind

Section 1: Prologue–Chapter 3

  1. colleague: a person with whom one works, especially in a profession or business
  2. devout: having or showing deep religious feeling or commitment
  3. flurry: a small swirling mass of something, especially snow or leaves, moved by sudden gusts of wind
  4. laden: heavily loaded or weighed down
  5. regimen: a prescribed course of treatment, way of life, diet for the promotion or restoration of health
  6. taut: stretched or pulled tight; not slack
Comprehension Questions
  1. Malawi is a tiny country in southeastern Africa and is often called “The Warm Heart of Africa.” (pg. 4)
  2. The people and animals in William’s house are his mother and father, six sisters, goats, guinea fowl and some chickens (pg. 5)
  3. Before William discovers the miracles of science he believes magic rules the world (pg. 7)
  4. Grandpa insists on wearing the same tattered coat and trousers everyday (pg. 11)
  5. Whenever William sees a Gule Wamkulu, even if it is a ceremony, he drops everything and runs (pg. 13 )
  6. Geoffrey and Gilbert make up William’s solid gang of three (pg. 17)
  7. The most famous person that William’s father and Uncle John hire to help with planting and harvesting the maize is Mister Phiri (pg. 25)
  8. Mister Phiri’s secret to his super strength was mangolomera a kind of magic (pg. 25)
  9. William’s first and only experience with magic leave him with sore hands, a throbbing eye, and healthy skepticism of magic (pg. 34)
  10. In most parts of Africa dogs are used to protect homes and farms and are fed mice and table scraps (pg. 38)
  11. William keeps his tools and trap-making materials in a cloth sack tied to the end of a hoe (pg. 40)
  12. Since the village doesn’t have electricity or television their only link to the outside world is the radio (pg. 46)
  13. Of all the things to be curious about the thing that intrigues William the most is dynamos (pg. 51)
  14. A subject that William and his classmates have to take because they are farmers is agriculture (pg. 59)

Section 2: Chapters 4–8

  1. feeble: lacking physical strength, especially as a result of age or illness
  2. meager: lacking in quantity or quality
  3. morose: sullen and ill-tempered
  4. outwit: deceive or defeat by greater ingenuity
  5. punctual: happening or doing something at the agreed or proper time; on time
  6. woeful: characterized by, expressive of, or causing sorrow or misery
Comprehension Questions
  1. In Malawi maize is just as important as the water they drink (pg. 62)
  2. The best thing about burning stalks is the swarms of grasshoppers that come out of the piles of stalks. The grasshoppers can be caught and roasted to eat (pg. 64)
  3. The perfect holiday for William’s family is to eat a meal of chicken and rice together (pg. 66)
  4. With only two bags of grain left, William’s family will be starving within three months (pg. 73 )
  5. In Malawi the most prized possessions are a farmers animals as they are a farmer’s only token of wealth and status (pg. 73)
  6. William says that not eating breakfast or lunch is a lesson in patience and pain (pg. 79)
  7. The thing that William remembers the most about his day in Chamama is the crying of babies (pg. 85)
  8. In the days after Chamama the people start to sell their possessions in order to stay alive (pg. 89)
  9. William says the best combination to put into your mouth is a blueband sandwich washed down with milky, sugary tea (pg. 91)
  10. William wants to become a scientist so he believes the two best schools for him to attend are Chayamba or Kasungu (pgs. 99 -100)
  11. The rich smell of the land after steady rains is a cruel joke because nothing was ready to eat (pg. 101)
  12. William is more eager for school to start as the famine worsens because it seemed that it would be easier to be hungry with a classroom of friends, rather than being hungry at home (pg. 104)
  13. Unlike the farmers, Mister Tembo receives a small salary and this allows him to have some extra grain during the hunger (pg. 109)
  14. The one thing William’s family can dwell on during the famine is their growing maize crop (pgs. 132-133)

Section 3: Chapters 9–12

  1. cumbersome: large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry or use
  2. famine: extreme scarcity of food
  3. harness: a set of straps and fittings by which a horse or other draft animal is fastened to a cart; an arrangement of straps to fasten something to a person’s body
  4. hoist: to raise something by means of ropes and pulleys
  5. prong: each of two or more projecting parts at the end of a fork
  6. taut: stretched or pulled tight; not slack
Comprehension Questions
  1. After sitting for hours in the library, William checks out the same text books his friends are using in school so that he can catch up with his studies (pg. 139)
  2. The American textbook, Using Energy changes William’s life as it inspires him to build a windmill (pg. 147 -150)
  3. William knows he can buy a bicycle dynamo or motor from the hardware store at the trading center (pg. 153)
  4. When taking apart Geoffrey’s international cassette player he uses a bicycle spoke that had been hammered flat against a stone as a screwdriver (pg. 155)
  5. When William and Geoffrey power the radio with the windmill they hear William’s favorite band, Black Missionaries playing (pg. 158)
  6. The only reason William is hopeful about returning to school is that his father had manage to grow and harvest a small plot of tobacco and might be able to afford the school tuition (pg. 163)
  7. William’s mother says that only madmen collect garbage (pg. 179)
  8. When the younger boys find motors at the scrapyard they strip the motors for the wire to build toy trucks (pg. 183 – 184)
  9. To secure the bolts on his windmill William uses bottle caps to make washers (pg. 188)
  10. In Chichewa there is no word for windmill, so William uses the phrase “magesti a mphepo”, which means “Electric wind. Pg 198)
  11. William says windmills will be the family’s front line against hunger (pg. 206)
  12. Using a transformer gives electricity a boost and is like giving it coffee and doughnuts (pg. 210)
  13. Each night William goes to sleep with sounds of the jaws of termites eating away at the roof beam in his room (pg. 216)
  14. In order to find a proper wiring system, William turns to the book, Explaining Physics. (pg. 218)

Section 4: Chapter 13 – Epilogue

  1. commotion: a state of confused and noisy disturbance
  2. concoct: to make a dish by combining various ingredients; to devise or create a story or plan
  3. eloquent: fluent or persuasive in speaking or writing
  4. entrepreneur: a person who organizes and operates a business, taking on a greater than normal financial risk in order to do so
  5. gawk: to stare openly and foolishly
  6. tenfold: ten times as great or numerous
Comprehension Questions
  1. When people warn William that ESCOM may arrest him he says, it would be an honor to be arrested (pg. 231)
  2. Where others see garbage, William sees opportunity (pg. 243)
  3. Dr. Mchazime brings the famous journalist Everson Maseya to William’s house (pg. 246)
  4. After the media visits William’s house the number of visitors increases tenfold (pg. 249)
  5. TED means, Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and their annual meeting consists of scientists and innovators getting together to discuss and share their ideas (pg. 251)
  6. The headmasters of the science-based schools are not willing to accept William because of his age and the number of years he had been out of school (pg. 252)
  7. On the plane to Arusha, Tanzania, William finds himself sitting next to Soyapi Mumba, the software engineer and TED fellow (pg. 258)
  8. The line “I try, and I made it!,” from William’s presentation becomes a kind of motto for the conference (pg. 267)
  9. When William meets Tom he tells him his two goals are to remain in school, and build a larger windmill to irrigate his family’s crops so they’d never go hungry again (pg. 267)
  10. The homes in William’s village now get electricity from a solar panel and a battery to store power (pg. 270)
  11. While at the San Diego Zoom, William sees giraffes, hippos and elephants for the first time (pg. 276 – 277)
  12. William is particularly good at the orphanage gardening project because although he is an inventor he was first a farmer (pg. 281)
  13. Bryan and William’s adventure across America includes a dozen cities and fifteen plane rides (pg. 282)
  14. Ten thousand new books have been added to the Wimbe library thanks to the Pearson Foundation (pg. 287)