Sunday, April 29, 2007

First Distribution

Yesterday the coffee bike program had its first bike distribution in the Karaba cooperative. I brought 47 bicycles to the coop, and unfortunately due to an earlier rain in the day only half the people showed up to receive the bikes. The ones who did receive them were briefed on the contract, paid the down payment and became oriented to the bikes. The farmers surround the bikes and were told via my interpreter, Douglas and Isabella, the new aspects of the bike. The farmers jumped on and began grinding the gears up hills, slamming on the brakes and locking up the wheels. Nothing got hurt, both the farmers and the bikes.

They were very excited accepting them and riding them as they realized the difference of the bicycles that they were used to and the new ones they were riding. For me, it was a great experience and I saw that all this was actually falling into place. I, however, was so tired at that point from building the bikes the week prior and organizing the distribution to really appreciate it, or show excitement for it at the distribution. But after driving home in the latter hours of the day leaving 25 farmers with these bikes behind made me have a sense of achievement.

We are also going to keep distributing this week and hopefully get about 200 bikes.

The top picture is some farmers posing with their new bikes. The second picture is a wooden bike juxtaposed to the coffee bike, both the old and the new way of transporting goods.

Thanks for your comments and encouragement throughout this time!!!


Pamela said...

This is a huge milestone. Get some rest and celebrate properly you hear? I am so proud of you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jay, when you get a chance, I have never talked to you about it, but I am curious how the program (at least the aspects of aggreement between farmer and the project). It sounds like it is set up as micro-finance, where the farmer comes in with a down and signs a contract for repayment. Just curious on the terms of that contract. Is it something that will be self sustainable, what it the life expectancy of the bikes, costs of them, those sort of things. Can't wait to see some of these bikes in use when I am out riding in the country side.



Bob said...

It's really awesome to read about all of the incredible things that you are doing, man. I look forward to the next time we can hang, ride some bikes, and pick on Gainsey. -Bob

Anonymous said...

I am very impressed, keep up and help Rwanda and Rwandans to become a shining star one day.