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Loading The Village Bicycle Project’s 100th Container for Africa

April 25th, 2010 · 4 Comments ·

This weekend the three of us had a great time volunteering with the Village Bicycle Project, loading hundreds of used bicycles, parts, and new tools onto a container bound for Ghana.  In the last decade, the all-volunteeer Village Bicycle Project has shipped more than 45,000 used bicycles to Africa.  This weekend’s effort was hard work, fun, and also a celebration–we were loading the Project’s 100th container.

The bicycles are staged outside the container and then loaded by size like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

The bicycles are staged outside the container and then loaded by size like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

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VBP founder David Peckham (center, in baseball cap) loads a bike into the container.

While spending time in rural east Africa, we had a chance to witness firsthand the importance of bicycles for village families.  A bicycle can make all the difference in access to health care, education, markets, and other opportunities.  Literally, a bicycle can lift a family out of poverty, and into sustainability.  But the Village Bicycle Project doesn’t just throw bikes at people–they have a solid distribution process on the ground, providing tools and  training in  bicycle maintenance to individuals and communities, with an emphasis on involving women and girls.  Good, good folks.

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Claire adds to the giant pile of tires, while volunteers remove pedals and turn handlebars in the background.

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After 100 containers, experienced VBP volunteers have it down to a science how to pack the maximum number of bicycles into a container.

Check out the Project’s new website.  They list all kinds of ways to donate bicycles at sites across the USA, donate money, or volunteer.

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On his last trip to Mozambique, Tom met this man Rafael who had ridden 8 kilometers with his two children on the back of his bicycle, in order to have a doctor at this Catholic hospital look at a rash his son had suddenly developed.

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The bicycle parking area outside the outpatient clinic. There was no parking lot for cars because none of the patients and very few of the clinicians can afford them.

PS: If you are interested in bicycles in Africa, or bicycles in general, then head on over to Tom’s great blog Bikejuju.com.

africa, bikes

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