Tag Archives: bicycles for humanity

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.

Bikes for Africa Trailer

27 May

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I present to you the trailer for the upcoming Bikes for Africa Documentary.

Another impressive masterpiece from Mr Richard Sidey!

Exciting times indeed, Sich I have just got back from an overnight bike trip where he talked me through the finer (I should say the simpler) points of filming and what I need to do to capture the required footage whilst in Africa. I’m rather excited about it.

For more information on the doco go to the website www.bikesforafrica.net, spread the word, get involved.

Container location and route planning

9 May

Howdy folks,

With the $5000 donation to BEN, Namibia, it meant that the project we will be working with has enough money to get off the ground. And so the location of the container has now been confirmed as the town of Katima Mulilo, right in the heart of Southern Africa.

Katmia Mulilo the capital town of the Caprivi Strip, a little strip of land adjoining the North Eastern corner of Namibia that is bordered by Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Considering Namibia is one of the driest countries in the world, the Caprivi strip is a little oasis, dense in lush greenery with Katima Mulilo nestled on the banks of the Zambezi with crocs and hippos, woohoo. If you had thoughts of the Katima being a little village, think again, it’s a border town of 25,000.

The bike work shop will be working alongside a male engagement project that aims to involve more men in HIV/AIDS home based care work. We’re super excited to finally have a destination for the container and this helps a lot with our route planning.

Depending on when the container is supposed to arrive, our basic route will be heading north from Capetown, up through Namibia stopping off in Windhoek, the head quarters of BEN, Namibia.Then dependant on the containers arrival time (we will be on African time – give or take a month) we will either straight line it to Katima Mulilo (point B on the map), or if we have time maybe go through Botswana and Zimbabwe. Then after working with the container for a couple of months in Katima, we will cycle through Zambia to Lilongwe, Malawi (point C) where we will fly out having completed over 5000kms.

Beer, bikes & bands website

8 May

Hey Folks,

Our fundraising event, beer, bikes and bands now has the official website up and running, and not to mention looking pretty darn snazzy!  Go check it out and spread the word

www.beerbikesandbands.com

Big thank you to the hard working people the made it happen and Chiz for his geeky know how.

Also remember that the plastic fantastic  round again rings are still available, so pop over to Nicola Macklin design to get your mitts on these little treasures. All proceeds going to Bicycles for Humanity. Get your rings here.

Beers bikes and bands