Wednesday, 28 December 2011

When Eliahu told me about having to walk two hours a day going there and back to school and that they ate nothing the whole day I replied that I would fund his and his friends' meals and also buy each of them a bicycle. I wasn't prepared for the response in which I found myself in a bear hug. Only then did it really hit me just how difficult life is for people here, who struggle against great adversity to make their way in the world.

We decided we needed three bikes one for each student at the high school in Mbale and one for communal use in the hilltop campus.

Yehudah promised that the bikes would be given loving care so that they will not rust despite the rains that were all too frequent when I was there in November.

When buying a new bicycle I used to go to the shop and pick one. That's not the case in Uganda unless you want a 'Hero' bike that has no gears.

Getting to the hill of Nabugoya from Mbale town is almost continuously uphill for five miles, one without gears isn't really option. Derraileur gears are essential unless you're prepared to walk one way.
So new bicycles in Ugandan are hand made from any parts that are to hand. Each one is unique, 'new' and of the 'best quality'. So what if the saddle on one was torn and the handlebars were somewhat rusted.

Isaac who manages the guesthouse was here acting as quality control inspector. He was also the purchasing and general manager. I kept out of the way as when a foreigner is spotted the price goes up.

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