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  • Thank you.

  • Two years ago, I stood on the TED stage in Arusha, Tanzania.

  • I spoke very briefly about one of my proudest creations.

  • It was a simple machine that changed my life.

  • Before that time,

  • I had never been away from my home

  • in Malawi.

  • I had never used a computer.

  • I had never seen an Internet.

  • On the stage that day, I was so nervous.

  • My English lost,

  • I wanted to vomit.

  • (Laughter)

  • I had never been surrounded by so many azungu,

  • white people.

  • (Laughter)

  • There was a story I wouldn't tell you then.

  • But well, I'm feeling good right now.

  • I would like to share that story today.

  • We have seven children in my family.

  • All sisters, excepting me.

  • This is me with my dad when I was a little boy.

  • Before I discovered the wonders of science,

  • I was just a simple farmer

  • in a country of poor farmers.

  • Like everyone else, we grew maize.

  • One year our fortune turned very bad.

  • In 2001 we experienced an awful famine.

  • Within five months all Malawians began to starve to death.

  • My family ate one meal per day, at night.

  • Only three swallows of nsima for each one of us.

  • The food passes through our bodies.

  • We drop down to nothing.

  • In Malawi, the secondary school,

  • you have to pay school fees.

  • Because of the hunger, I was forced to drop out of school.

  • I looked at my father

  • and looked at those dry fields.

  • It was the future I couldn't accept.

  • I felt very happy to be at the secondary school,

  • so I was determined to do anything possible

  • to receive education.

  • So I went to a library.

  • I read books, science books, especially physics.

  • I couldn't read English that well.

  • I used diagrams and pictures

  • to learn the words around them.

  • Another book put that knowledge in my hands.

  • It said a windmill could pump water and generate electricity.

  • Pump water meant irrigation,

  • a defense against hunger,

  • which we were experiencing by that time.

  • So I decided I would build one windmill for myself.

  • But I didn't have materials to use,

  • so I went to a scrap yard

  • where I found my materials.

  • Many people, including my mother,

  • said I was crazy.

  • (Laughter)

  • I found a tractor fan,

  • shock absorber, PVC pipes.

  • Using a bicycle frame

  • and an old bicycle dynamo,

  • I built my machine.

  • It was one light at first.

  • And then four lights,

  • with switches, and even a circuit breaker,

  • modeled after an electric bell.

  • Another machine pumps water

  • for irrigation.

  • Queues of people start lining up at my house

  • (Laughter)

  • to charge their mobile phone.

  • (Applause)

  • I could not get rid of them.

  • (Laughter)

  • And the reporters came too,

  • which lead to bloggers

  • and which lead to a call from something called TED.

  • I had never seen an airplane before.

  • I had never slept in a hotel.

  • So, on stage that day in Arusha,

  • my English lost,

  • I said something like,

  • "I tried. And I made it."

  • So I would like to say something

  • to all the people out there like me

  • to the Africans, and the poor

  • who are struggling with your dreams.

  • God bless.

  • Maybe one day you will watch this on the Internet.

  • I say to you, trust yourself and believe.

  • Whatever happens, don't give up.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

Thank you.

Subtitles and vocabulary

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B1 US TED malawi laughter secondary school windmill irrigation

【TED】William Kamkwamba: How I harnessed the wind (William Kamkwamba: How I harnessed the wind)

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    Zenn posted on 2017/03/26
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