I want to ride my bicycle…

August 25, 2012

Well. Another trip to India has come and gone. I have been home for about 4 weeks and I am just now able to think about that wonderful, magical time without feeling wistful.

I left for Delhi on June 30th, 2012. My first stop was Varanasi, I had planned to spend 4 days there–which was about 3 days too long. I did not experience any of the magic that others have experienced by visiting this holy city..maybe it was me, maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the garbage and the incessant harrassment…I dont know, I do know that the city left me feeling less than holy.

But, no worries–I had an adventure at the very least, and on Thursday July 5, I took the train from Varanasi back to Umaria. In Umaria, I was met by the crew from the White Tiger Forest Lodge, the base from which I operate all the activities for ‘the mustard seed project”.

Friday morning, after a breakfast of parathas and chai–I met with the new group “The global tiger awareness society of Bandhavgarh, India”. Its a big name, for a little group–but they will do great things for their community, I am sure of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The group is just newly formed with their brand new title and they have recently applied for, and recieved NGO status. Knowing India like I do–I am sure there were many, many, many forms to fill out for this privilege!

At our meeting, it was decided that we would purchase 14 bikes with the funds so generously collected from my church, the staff at Valley Heights Secondary School, and some family members. We had a total of approximately 700$ or 14,000 rupees. Luckily, bikes are fairly cheap in India, and even buying the top quailty utility bike we could buy 14.

Bike Shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately we didnt bargain very much for the bikes–the proprietor of the shop was not interested in coming down a few rupees, and in the interest of time, we all agreed that he was asking a fair price. We agreed on a price, some pumps and delivery.

Shockingly, he assured us that the bikes would be delivered by truck by the early evening. I was skeptical about this, as nothing in india is quite so simple-and sure enough, the bike truck did not arrive at 4 as promised, but at midnight. No worries though, as I was just flabbergasted that we actually purchased and recieved 14 bikes at such short notice!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can not stress enough how quickly this whole process was implemented. From purchasing the bikes, to delivery was about 10 hours…that’s amazing. I am not even sure that Canadian Tire would have 14 bikes in stock, let alone a small bicycle shop in remote India. When you consider the distances involved, the quality of the roads and logistics involved in the whole undertaking, it was obvious that a bigger power than myself was helping out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, bright and early–the group gathered and bicycle delivery was under way.

We decided that each of the schools in the area would get 2 or 3 bikes, depending on the size of the school.

What followed was a day of joy and happiness. The looks on the kids faces as the bikes were unloaded, and they took their first spin around the grounds was worth everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The girls naturally held back, and let the boys ride the bikes–but one of the stipulations that was important for me to stress, was that the girls get priority for bike use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My fantasy is that the bikes will be used for school transportation, to go home for lunch, to get medical aid, to go to the doctor, to go to market–having a bike frees you to explore and gives you access to services the children might not normally have access to.

I hope my fantasy is a reality.

via con dios….

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