55“It is fabulous. I am going to show this bike to other farmers and they will see the importance of growing coffee.” Beatrice Kayitesi, Rwandan coffee farmer, first-time bicycle owner
There’s that cycling-coffee connection again – this time with an African flavor and as a means of enticing industry for economic development. Our intrigues of professional racing seem minor compared to the problems Africa faces: distribution of basic necessities, epidemic disease, unsafe water supply, inadequate sanitation, starvation, government corruption, and genocide. Despite all these hardships, African cycling rides on with a vibrant racing schedule, several internationally-ranked teams and tours, and potential for positive change via the bike. The first American to participate in the Tour de France, Jock Boyer, is now directing Rwanda’s national team, which is fast becoming a showcase to other African nations of what a cycling team can accomplish. Supported by Tom Ritchey, mountain bike design pioneer, the team brings attention to the national economic impact of his specifically-designed bike. The coffee bike has special panniers and durability to haul beans and transverse African byways. World Bicycle Relief® has also partnered with various organizations to combat the HIV/AIDS virus in Africa by providing means of transport for healthcare workers. Here is their mission statement:
56“Simple, sustainable transportation is an essential element in disaster assistance and poverty relief. Bicycles fulfill basic needs by providing access to healthcare, education and economic development. Bicycles empower individuals, their families, and their communities. Our mission is to provide access to independence and livelihood through The Power of Bicycles.”
Simple transport, racing exposure, basic needs: ride to empower!
Prayer for African Cycling
“Men cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.”
We are grateful for bikes as a means of livelihood! We confess we ignore the problems of others. We pray for relief and resources for the distribution of bicycles. We ask blessing upon African racing.
Ponder What am I doing to relieve the suffering of the oppressed? Affirm I 58assist others using my bicycle. Watch for a riding way to heed the world’s cries for help.
55“Coffee farmers get bikes on credit,” by Eugene Kwibuka, Northern Province, The New Times, Rwanda’s first daily, March 18, 2008 www.newtimes.co.rw as credited in Project Rwanda newsletter www.projectrwanda.org
56“The Power of Bicycles: Empowering People,” www.worldbicyclerelief.org
57The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society