two wheels making a world of difference
Ride Climb Transform

Here's where the name comes from

Wednesday
Jun 5, 2013
by Dudley at 9:14 am

By Curt McPhail
Why do we call this trip gbconnect? It’s because connecting is critical. We’re connecting people, resources, ideas and passions.  

Here are some of the connections:

A group of young bike mechanics with Safari Simbaz saw a group of broken bikes at Second Chance Education Center in Moshi, Tanzania, a privately run program that prepares 35 to 60 children for final exams. These kids often need a chance to make up classes and subjects they’ve missed in primary school, often because they had to help with family farms or care for younger siblings. One of the bike mechanics said the bikes needed a second chance and offered to provide a week-long class on bike maintenance. The offer was accepted.
 
People on this trip are also connecting during free time as those needing help with cycling receive extra lessons from those of us with more experience.

Another connection was made when globalbike learned about a local business, Writefully His, and their work with schools in Africa. Writefully His provides paper and pencils to schools. Writefully His and globalbike provided two boxes of composition books, one box of paper and hundreds of pencils to the Second Chance Education Center. We bought the supplies from a local store here.

We also learned about a local organization that supports women in a social enterprise to make high-end handbags. We invited them to our camp to teach us more about the program.
It’s also special to watch the Spartanburg Day School students bond and learn from Kenyan and Tanzanian youth. 
 
Curt is globalbike's executive director and director of global partnerships. 

Beautiful scenes, beautiful people

Tuesday
Jun 4, 2013
by Dudley at 9:31 am
By Caroline Turner
The biking was difficult but the rewards were worth it. The beautiful scene surrounding us as we biked (and walked) through the tropical rain forests of Tanzania was breathtaking. It was almost as if we had been put directly in a National Geographic magazine.
 
Along the way, I have become close with some of the Africans accompanying us and have been amazed by the stories they tell me about their schools and daily lives. All of the people I have met and become friends with on this beautiful journey have touched my  heart and opened my eyes in so many different ways, and I continue to learn more from  them every day. This trip is truly the adventure of a lifetime, and I can honestly say it is the best thing I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of.
 
Caroline is a Spartanburg Day School student. 

Finding solutions

Tuesday
Jun 4, 2013
by Dudley at 9:15 am
By Curt McPhail
Last year our bikes arrived in parts. This year they got stuck at the border. After multiple assurances that bikes would be delivered when we arrived in Nairobi, the bikes ended up  being stuck at the border. Last year we learned that Africa is a continent of solutions, so we quickly made a plan and waited on the bikes to be delivered.  
 
We hosted a ceremony at the Marondi Hotel where we presented local women's groups  with certificates for bikes that they will receive later. Today, we arrived back at the Honey Badger Lodge and the bikes were waiting for us.  We will deliver the remaining bikes along the way and send the remaining bicycles up to the Marangu Hotel for their delivery.
 
Curt is globalbike's executive director and director of global partnerships. 

'Changed for the better'

Tuesday
Jun 4, 2013
by Dudley at 8:25 am

By Ella Webster

It's hard to even know where to begin. Being in Africa has been the experience of a  lifetime, and I already know that I will return home changed for the better. There has been  an absolute barrage of observations to make since I arrived here, but the thing that I have been most stricken by is the kindness of the Kenyans and Tanzanians. No matter where  I've gone, I have always been met with a smile- not just any smile, but a beautiful, genuine smile each time. I hope that of all the things I could bring home with me, that lesson of joy  and hope will be the most prominent.

Ella is a Spartanburg Day School student. 

Passion, Dedication, and Transformation

Friday
Mar 9, 2012
Jean's picture
by Jean at 8:40 am

A final trip blog from Curt McPhail, President and Director of Global Partnerships for globalbike:

Over 15 years ago I had an experience in Africa that transformed the way I looked at the world.   In an orphanage in Zimbabwe Africa I met a young boy who, without knowing it, created a passion inside of me and shrank the globe all at the same time. 

The passion would lead to a dedication to Africa that would be hard to shake.  This dedication leads me to read novels about Africa, subscribe to news feeds about Africa, think about strategies that can be easily employed to assist with the development in Africa, and this passion led to the development of globalbike. 

Last year, after seven globalbike representatives biked from Kenya to the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro we hatched a new chapter in the globalbike story.  This chapter would be titled - Transformative Tourism.  The details would involve taking people from diverse backgrounds to experience Africa.  When globalbike began to develop this idea we had several motivations.  Transformative Tourism was a business strategy as it could lead to an increase in the donations that globalbike takes in to support bicycle donations.  It would also be a friend-raising strategy as we were quite sure that the people who joined us would have an experience of a lifetime, an experience that would make them ambassadors for our work and cause.  Lastly, it would be a simple strategy to share our contagious vision of bikes changing the world.

You have followed our story.  This story is one of surprises, our amazing experiences as a group, our creation of a 30-person family, aged 12 to 69, spanning 3 nations. globalbike has always and will continue to look to surprises as the place where we grow, learn, transform, and ultimately find the best solutions to challenges we face.

During the process of figuring out how to assemble the multiple boxes of bikes, my good friend Tim Challen from Kilimanjaro Initiative said something that I found so simple but so true.  "Africa is a continent of solutions."  This is so true and immediately you can see this no matter what country you visit.  I have thought about this statement many times during our most recent stay in Tanzania.  I began to understand that this just might be what fuels my dedication to Africa.  Africa is a place where people want solutions AND where people implement them. 

For example, on Thursday night we stayed in a beautiful Ndarakwai Lodge.  This 11,000 acre property had beautiful lodges and was focused on environmental stewardship.  There was only solar power at this lodge and some running water.   Now what drew me was Ndarakwai's "solution" to showers.  Each hut had two large beams fashioned from trees with a pulley at the top.  On the pulley was a rope and just under the pulley was a green reservoir with a yellow garden hose coming out of the end.  Now when you "ordered a shower" a five gallon bucket of hot water would be delivered to your tent.  They would lower the reservoir, fill it with the water, hoist it back up and say "your shower is ready."  This solution brought hot showers to the guest and minimized the usage of water. 

If Africa is a continent of solutions globalbike became a solutions implementer.  This trip tested out theories on what would work best in a tourist trip to a developing country.  The trip also proved many of our strategies to be true;  we secured lots of corporate, foundation and individual support for this trip,  we learned many lessons that will be implemented on future trips, and we sorted the assembly of 74 bikes in an extraordinarily short period of time.  This trip would ultimately be about surprises and solutions.   

In ten short days globalbike proved that it could plan and implement a trip on the other side of the world.  globalbike proved that 30 people speaking 2 languages from 3 nations can create a bond so strong that saying goodbye is hard and emotional.  globalbike proved that when you take the term partnership seriously opportunities turn into future opportunities. 

This trip took our group through some of the most challenging back roads in Tanzania.  It also showed us first hand the difficulties of rural poverty.  In the end this trip ended with a reception where we shook hands with Jakaya Kekwete, the President of Tanzania.  The paradox isn't lost on globalbike or its travelers. 

While we sat at dinner on Saturday night the second to last group meal we discussed our personal transformations.  To hear our new friends from Kenya talk about what they learned about themselves and the world was a testament to the success of our trip.  It was a comment from Kennedy, a young man from rural Kenya that has stuck in my head while traveling back.  He said that this trip has been the best experience of his life,  he has gained new friends - family you could say.  He ended his short talk by saying while we will be separated by geography we are connected in spirit. 

It's this kind of transformation that makes the world small.  It's the kind of transformation that globalbike anticipated, planned for, and ultimately worked diligently to achieve.  It's the kind of transformation that makes this trip a huge success!