To the editor:
During the past six years Okanagan residents have donated more than 3,000 bicycles to the international charity Bicycles for Humanity that was actually founded in Kelowna. The organization has shipped the bicycles to African countries to improve the lives of impoverished citizens.
Part of the pleasure in making any donation is receiving feedback about the good that the donation is doing. Until Bicycles for Humanity focused its efforts on the West African nation of Ghana that feedback came too rarely.
This conglomerate letter provides feedback and updates. As well, it thanks those who donated bikes, donated products to silent auctions and donated huge amounts of time preparing bikes and raising funds.
The following note comes from a supporter of the Ghana project:
“I am sending this email to update you on some progress made recently as a result of your kind contributions to the Kelowna Chapter of Bicycles for Humanity project. It is a rare occasion to be able to see first-hand (or almost first-hand), how your money was spent and who received the bikes collected in Kelowna which were ultimately shipped to Ghana.
“Through our friend Vida Yakong we were able to get about 85 bikes to villages close to where she lives in Ghana. Vida also resides in Kelowna where she is studying for her master’s degree in nursing. Vida has put together some information on the bike recipients and how receiving a bike has affected their lives in a very positive way.”
Following are sample profiles of women receiving bikes through Ms. Yakong’s GROW (Ghana Rural Opportunities for Woman) project:
Berimah Nkahiteiba, a 30-year-old woman in north Ghana who cultivates okro, groundnuts, rice and maize: “I cover a distance of about seven kilometres to get to the farm. I used to walk to the farm but now I ride to the farm, to GROW meetings in Nyobok, which is about 11 kilometres away from home, to Pelungu Market a distance of nine kilometres and to take my child to school.”
Lawoagban Bogreroug, a 46-year-old woman who grows beans, rice and maize: “I cover a distance of about three kilometres to get to the farm. I used to walk to the farm and really sweat but now I ride to the farm, go for meetings in Nyobok which is about eight kilometres away from home, to Pelungu Market a distance of 12 kilometres and take my children to the hospital when they are sick.”
Puzemniba Tule, 38, rears animals and cultivates soya beans, rice and millet: “I travel a distance of about nine kilometres to get to the farm in the bush. I used to walk to the farm since I could not even ride but now I ride to the farm, go to find castes termites for my duck, turkeys and guinea fowls, go to Pelungu Market a distance of 10 kilometres to buy goats, go to repair donkey cart tires and my son also uses it for school.”
Lariba Dora Ndeog, a 16-year-old junior secondary school student from Nangodi: “I walk for about 13 kilometres before getting to school so the bike will help me go to school early, fetch water to cook and also help me go to church which is three kilometres away from home. I used to walk to do everything before benefiting from the bike project.”
Keith Germaine, Tim Young, Hal Puder, Jim Couper,