Slightly fewer than 500 bicycles started their long journey from Kelowna to the West African country of Ghana, on Sunday afternoon.
A dozen volunteers with Bicycles for Humanity, an international charity that got its start in Kelowna, packed bikes, helmets and spare parts into a 40-foot shipping container that immediately left for a cargo ship in Vancouver.
This is the second container the group has shipped to Ghana this year. The previous one, sent this spring, has arrived and its contents distributed.
Jim Couper, a volunteer who has observed the use of bikes in Ghana, said, “It’s inspiring to see so many bikes, that would be under-used here, going to nurses, farmers and students. When I visited I found Ghanaians to be honest, friendly, hard working, peaceful people. They deserve our help.”
All the bikes in the container were reclaimed, or donated, by Okanagan residents. To facilitate packing the maximum number into a container volunteers removed pedals, turned handlebars, lowered seats and took off front wheels.
John Hillis, who worked inside the steamy container stacking bikes, said, “The quality of the bikes always surprises me. Some look like they’ve never been used. It’s so good that they keep being donated year after year.”
Adult bikes can be dropped off behind St. Charles Garnier church on Benvoulin, near Casorso, next to Father Pandosy historical site.
For more information or to made donations contact Keith Germaine at 250-764-2942.