Bike shop opening ceremony

19 Aug

OK, enough of me, back to the reason why I’m here in Africa; The bike work shop. Last Friday we had the grand opening. There were governors, chief of police, Michael LInke the BEN, Namibia founder and plenty of other important community people, including the Honourable Mr Happy. There were TV camera’s from the Namibian Broadcasting channel and journalists from the local newspaper. Like any ceremony there were lots of speeches, photos, and smiles and a grand feast afterwards (no, there was no sausage sizzle).

Here are a few photos and captions documenting the day:

The temporary bike shop sign for opening day. You can see from the photo that it says MEN BICYCLE SHOP. This is unusual for BEN, Namibia who is a leader in Namibia with women empowerment. The reason for this is because the local partner organisation Catholic Aids Action has an initiative where they have involved males in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The 5 mechanic trainees were selected from the current 14 male home based care HIV volunteers who have been volunteering for the past 5 years.

The first half of the mornings program. Check out the speaker at 10.00am, “Honurable Mr Happy”. I think I have finally found my place! I’m looking into building a mud hut and buying a herd of cows.

Some of the other honourable people.

Then opening ceremony took place under the shade of a tree. The brick building in the background is where the small business training has been taking place.

The 14 HIV home based carers receiving their new bikes. The bikes are sold cheaply to the members of the community, but these bikes were donated to the hard working volunteers to help them in the fight against HIV/AIDS epidemic that ravages this region with a 33% infection rate.

This was a special day for me as I (and of course Mandy) worked so hard for this day. I remember the day back on the overcast Melbourne Sunday afternoon (that blue sky in the photo was only there for the last bit) with the Bicycles for Humanity volunteers packing this container. To see the container sitting there and the home based carers receiving their bikes was rather special. It was this moment I have been working towards from the first time I met with Bicycles for Humanity founder Matt McCullough. It was over 18 months ago that I met Matt in an inner city Melbourne café to tell him my idea. My idea of raising the funds to ship one a Bicycles for Humanity container to Africa and then go work with it.

I want to take this moment to thank everybody who made this happen, there are many of you, and without all your help this would not be the reality that it is. I hope this is a special moment for you all. THANK YOU.

Although we had the opening day there is still one last week of business planning before the 5 bike mechanics get let loose in the world of running their own bike shop business. Such planning that includes the workers drawing up their own employment contract, signing up for social security, planning the layout of the bike work shop, opening hours etc. The thing I love about this, and Michael Linke is a big advocate of, is that BEN, Namibia do not come in tell them how it is. No, it is the 5 mechanics who decide and come to an agreement on all these. BEN, Namibia just facilitate this, trains them and guides them. It is very much a project run by the locals, for locals.

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4 Responses to “Bike shop opening ceremony”

  1. Geoff August 23, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Hap,
    Great to see you acknowledge all the people who have contributed towards the “special moment” with the opening of the bike shop in Namibia. What a fantatic legacy to leave in Africa. The culmination of many hours of hard work and generosity of a lot of people and organisations and all pulled together by the global drive of GEN X&Y!
    Also in a way its probably another “special moment” thats gone unnoticed, the achievment of your GOAL, “to live and work in every continent of the world before thirty”. BIG UPs & WELL DONE!!
    G & Syd (aka dad & mum)

    • Hap August 24, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

      Chur G

  2. working in new Zealand August 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Its a nice cermony, congrats Dear…

    • Hap August 26, 2011 at 12:45 am #

      Thank you, I work in NZ is going well.

      Hap

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