Bikes for the World

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

We've Been Invaded By Canada....Again

DC Serve Canadian/Michigan based crew
Joining forces with volunteers from around the globe, Bikes for the World kicked off July by desperately trying to empty out the warehouse to make a little room to move around. We failed, by the way. Still stacked to the rafters with bikes, which is not a bad problem to have because it means more bikes to donate!

BfW, keeping with our annual tradition, welcomed two crews from DC Serve to help load the first container of bikes heading to Costa Rica. The crews, largely from Canada, worked through one of the hottest weeks of the year to start and finish a container on back to back days.

Cypriots welcoming the Birzers from the Carroll Creek Rotary
Then, just when we thought it couldn't get any hotter, it did. The following week we brought in another container and welcomed back the Cyprus Friendship crew, who hasn't visited us since we left King Farm. Now that we are back in Montgomery County we were thrilled to have a group of six girls back with us again from this amazing program.

Cyprus is located in the Eastern Mediterranean  with Turkey to the north and Greece to the west. Cyprus is divided in two with Turkish-speaking Muslims on the north and Greek-speaking Christians on the south. This deeply divided nation has been at odds for generations and Cyprus Friendship Program is one way they are trying to change attitudes and bring a more peaceful future to its people.

The program pairs two girls (or boys), one from the north and one from the south, and challenges them to work together, live together, laugh together: ultimately creating a bond they will hopefully keep upon their return home and serve as an example to their families and friends. A catalyst to change. They spend one month here in the US with host families and participate in numerous peace focused workshops.

When they visited us, we put wrenches in their hands and put them right to work. At the beginning of our day we asked if they had ever worked on a bicycle before and they collectively said no. By the end they were tearing through our bikes like seasoned bike mechanics. We apologized for the sweltering, muggy DC heat wave that plagued their visit and they said, no worries, it's just like home!

Not to create any rivalries here in our  bipartisan warehouse, but it was no contest between the Cypriot youth when asked which is better, Baltimore or DC. On the topic of healthcare, the Canadians said, good luck with that, we're good. It's a small, small world here in our warehouse.

Bikes for the World has nearly 1,000 bikes now on the way to Costa Rica to share among about half a dozen urban and rural communities. These bikes will provide much needed affordable transportation for work and school, but they will also be part of a bigger economic impact we will tell you about in upcoming posts. Check back soon...

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