Africa Trip

Unloading the container at the Thanda After School Program.


These 10 days were certainly enlightening as to how Bicycles for Humanity is doing and how people are being helped in KwaZulu-Natal. I went to several meetings and visited several sites to see how the project is working. In a nutshell, people doing this humanitarian work are working from their hearts in doing this work. The problems are almost insurmountable, but the dedication of the people to help is making inroads into problems and making peoples lives better. Bicycles are an integral component of this improvement in the lives of people.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2012:
THANDA AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM

I visited the Thanda After School Project, www.thanda.org. Angela Larkan is doing a fabulous job of taking care of 325 children each day. Half of these kids are orphans, mainly due to AIDS which affects about 40% of the pregnant women here, and many of them have to walk 2 hours each way to get to the facility. The kids get a good meal each day, are taught sewing, gardening, and other skills and the relationship between these skills and economics. Economics such as how labor rates in China affect the work that they do. They have a nice library at the facility, which is used by about 2,000 children, and a 2KW solar powered computer lab, although there is no internet access. 

The question of theft came up. Thanda is building community and it is working. There is a tight relationship with Thanda and the surrounding communities. As a result, theft rates are very low since stealing from Thanda is viewed as stealing from yourself.

This project received our latest shipment, which arrived the day after I left Africa. See more photos and also videos.

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Bikes being sorted  at the Thanda After School Program.


Entrance to the Thanda After School Program


Students at Thanda showing off some of their artwork.


Students at Thanda having their hotdog lunch!



MONDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2012:
BIKE DELIVERY TO ISOLESIZWE HIGH SCHOOL

We delivered about 25 bicycles to Isolesizwe High School near Mtubatuba today. This was one of the high points of the trip. Seeing the absolute joy of the kids when the bikes came in and the joy they received from unloading the bikes from the trailer was as heartwarming as any experience I have had. The deep appreciation they displayed is a testament to the benefits of this program. These kids were ecstatic. What was unwanted in this country or considered junk in this country will change the lives of these kids forever. The bikes will be given to the best students. The school set up the program this way to provide a motivation for them to study hard so they had an opportunity to get a bicycle. Many of the kids thanked us personally for bringing the bikes. They spent some time riding the bikes around the school courtyard and then they were put into a locked room at the school.  See more photos and also videos.


 Isolesizwe High School administrators come to greet us.


Smiling students are happy about receiving their new bikes.


MONDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2012: IZULU ORPHANS PROJECT

Kate Bain is another one of those special people that are dedicating their lives to helping others. After her husband died in a tragic motorcycle accident, Kate decided to continue on with the project that they started in 2006. She has close to 1400 children and 612 “families” that are part of the program. A family is used in a loose sense and essentially means any group of people, although frequently it is a relative with the orphan. Kate has focused on AIDS orphans, and does not accept those that are parentless for other reasons. She has created a database of the full personal and medical history of every child in her program. The database may well become a model for others to use to track the children and their medical history. In addition, B4H-S is in the process of trying to secure a $15,000 grant for her from the Seattle Rotary. This would most likely be matched by another $15,000 grant by Rotary International. Kate is in the process of building an administrative building, which will also serve as a  place for the orphans to go and learn. See  the wonderful things that Kate is doing at http://www.izuluorphanprojects.co.za/

Below are photos of Kate Bain, B4H-S bicycles at the Izulu Orphans Project, and the new admin and services building under construction. See more photos and also videos.




MISCELLANEOUS

There were also several other things that were experienced. Going to a Bicycles for Humanity repair shop, a visit to Ndumo where the very first B4H-S container was shipped, and visiting with several Rotary members that are actively helping with this project were also part of the trip. Several other people that are actively engaged in the project were also visited.

This was a wonderful trip that certainly ingrains in me the importance of what is being done. Our efforts on this side of the water are definitely worth the efforts that are being made. A special thanks to all of you that have contributed to the cause. 

Below are photos of the B4H-S Africa contingent with two bicycle mechanics in Mtubatuba and the first container that B4HS shipped in Ndumo. See more photos and also videos.

Myself, bike mechanic, Susan Finneran, Frank Finneran, and bike mechanic.



The Ndumo shipping container was the first container shipped to South Africa.


Bicycles for humanity is a 501(c)3 charity,  Federal tax Id# 27-1309387.