Though today’s ride had its highs and lows, with a slightly smoother paved road stretching over 100 kilometers, this update is more appropriately about someone we met along the route, Mulenga.
As many of you are aware, Bike Zambia is a ride to support a number of beneficiaries who are working to address HIV/AIDS and poverty in Zambia. One of these main organizations is World Bicycle Relief, who we support through the Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP), the STEPS/OVC caregivers program, and a revolving microfinance bicycle lending program through Vision Fund.
Mulenga was a recipient of a Vision Fund bicycle loan.
Just over a year ago, at the age of 58, Mulenga received a Buffalo Bicycle to help him with his dairy business. As part of a dairy collective, he is the traditional target of a microfinance bicycle loan, which are often made to those in the agriculture sector to help bring their goods to the market. Dairy farmers especially benefit from a bicycle because they must get their milk to a truck by a certain very early hour of the morning in order to be transported to the city. If they miss the truck, their day’s product goes sour and their income is lost. For Mulenga, being able to transport his 40 liters of milk in the morning on the back of his bicycle is crucial for his livelihood. He is paying off his bicycle in 4 installments.
With a full year’s use under his belt, Mulenga could not stop raving about how well the Buffalo Bike has served him and how well it has held up under its daily use. He has never had to replace or repair anything more than a tube for the tires! We were incredibly happy to be able to see this program in action while on the road and hear first-hand of its success.