Bikes for the World

Monday, May 9, 2016

Prosper: Pass It On

Prosper Dzandu traded his weaving loom for a truing stand six years ago and he's been riding success ever since.

Originally chosen for a project with the UK bike project Re~Cycle, Prosper retrained as a bike mechanic after years of working as a kente weaver. As he worked his way around a bicycle, Prosper first honed his new skill as a bike mechanic preparing donated bikes for re-use in Ghana.

He eventually joined Village Bicycle Project (VBP) and became a trainer. He would travel along with the VBP team to remote areas in northern Ghana where they would introduce donated bikes into small rural villages. Prosper helped train new bike owners in basic maintenance skills and taught some participants how to ride a bike for the first time.

Prosper eventually started his own  permanent workshop called No Rush In Life. Prosper trains apprentices and shares his love and knowledge of bikes with these employees. His bike business helps provide income to his employees and their families as well as his own wife and their five children.

The shop, seen here, has been upgraded to a more secure metal structure. Previously Prosper had been operating out of a wooden shack that was insecure. To protect his business, Prosper had to sleep at the shop. He can now leave his workshop with peace of mind and return home to his family every night.

 Kente Weaver Courtesy Marie McC
Prosper couldn't have been given a better name. After a few short years he left his weaving position behind and excelled in the bike field. As a trained kente weaver, Prosper was good with his hands and had a meticulous eye for detail. Skills he would bring to his bike stand and eventually his workshop.

Kente cloth is a highly recognizable textile sometimes associated with royalty. The designs are quite intricate and often convey a message. Weavers work long hours sitting at a loom in an uncomfortable position. Weavers move fabric quickly with their fingers and even their toes when completing a kente cloth.

After becoming his own boss, Prosper found his new career as a bike mechanic liberating and rewarding. He is a great communicator and his enthusiasm to share his craft is evident in every workshop he runs with VBP. By training apprentices in his own shop he is helping to boost local economy while freeing himself up to continue working with VBP.

Just last month Prosper received his first ever container of bikes directly from Re~Cycle. He will sort these bikes, and pull out the ones suited for his workshops to help train new riders and mechanics through this work.

Way to go Prosper!

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