In this setting William, a village boy with no formal education BUT the ability to read, researches and builds from scrap materials a windmill with the limited financial help of the the village chief's son. His invention allows the village fresh water for drinking and crops.
The story also talks of the politics in Africa, who gets help and why.
I learned of TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) and what it does to help people like William.
The book points out the great importance of the ability to read and access to books (before the internet).