Giving Tuesday and what we are thankful for.

It’s the time of year when we in the USA celebrate what we are thankful for; with Thanksgiving last week and today Giving Tuesday which helps support nonprofits like us, we decided to make a list.  

The past year has been a truly exciting one.  We have developed a new website (globalbike.org), new marketing materials, had the largest crowd ever on a gb connect trip, and launched 2 new women’s owned bike related businesses.  As we reflect we wanted to share 6 specific things we are thankful for.globalbike-facebook-cover-photo

  1. The Buffalo Bike by World Bike Relief – The Buffalo is the perfect bike for the women we work with.  Sturdy and able to carry large loads.  These dependable bikes are great in the rental businesses because they require low maintenance.  They also help the women providing healthcare have dependable transport to and from homes and the clinic.  Thanks World Bicycle Relief! J13A0969
  2. gb connect travelers – We started our gb connect trips to  “share the heart of our work with the world.”  Since our first trip – that included a climb to the top of Kilimanjaro and since then over 60 people have joined us on this trip.  We have another planned for July of 2016.  Email info@globalbike.org for the latest brochure.IMG_8937
  3. Ema Motta – Ema is our point person in Tanzania but he is so much more.  Colleague, friend, advisor, amazing guide, and all around great person.  This work would not happen without his support and help.  Thanks Ema!  Read more about Ema here on our blog! http://www.iamglobalbike.org gb-Mikocheni-24
  4. Partners in Tanzania – Working in the developing world takes patience and great partners.  globalbike is thankful to have some of the best.  Our work with TATU in Msitu wa Tempo is the model for women’s bike rental businesses – not to mention all the other support we get.  Tuisidiane is modeling a women’s bike rent to own business that show’s great promise.  FT Kilimanjaro’s health work and new bike rental business in Mikocheni show’s amazing promise.  FT Kilimanjaro also provides much needed logistics support in getting bikes into the country.  Last but surely not least, Anza is a long term partner who always challenges us to be more innovative and better.  For each of you we say THANK YOU! IMG_0182
  5. Women – In general women are amazing.  In our work they are the key to long term success.  For every dollar given to a women 87% is returned to their family and community.  This says it all – women are the key to creating long term sustainability and success in rural Africa!women
  6. Donors – Our list of thankfulness would not exist if not for the literally hundreds of donors  – in addition hundreds more who have written checks, contributed to events, or joined one of our cycling chapters.  This work is so important we hope you will consider giving today on #givingtuesday.  We have three simple ways – 1) donate online http://www.globalbike.org 2) purchase a Kauli bag made by women in Tanzania – all proceeds support our work! Shop button on globalbike.org  3) buy a great new t-shirt. https://www.booster.com/globalbike-boosterbikesgb-Mikocheni-25J13A1076

 

“How do you explain?” by Mary Grace Wallace

“I always have a hard time reflecting and writing into words on a page what my experience was. How do you explain to someone that you feel more comfortable in a woman’s mud hut in TanzIMG_8125ania, Africa than with friends and family around all your very comfortable surroundings? It does not even fully make sense to me, so why would I try to explain it to someone else? “

These words were the first ones written in my journal as we sat on the plane departing for takeoff away from Kilimanjaro International Airport. I sat dumbfounded, stumbling for concrete thoughts.  Reflection is so difficult, when there is so much to process.  Twelve days of bike riding…beautiful words in Swahili…the giving of pencils…the devastation of sickness…providing education to those so deserving…

Here stands the concrete: I have traveled to many countries, including Africa three times, but this journey was different.  I have had weeks to sit on why this looked and felt different than previous trips and why my heart was affected and burdened more than ever. There are so many moments unprocessed and questions that still haunt me.  However, I believe I can boil the impact of my trip down to a single event.

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On June 21, 2015, we were given a tour by Margaret, a healthcare worker in Little Mikocheni. The organization, globabike, has given bicycles to the Tanzanian healthcare workers of Mikocheni since 2010. It is a volunteer position women are committed to 2 to 3 times per week. They have no medicine to give, but they give encouragement and friendship to women and children that are HIV positive. Despite the devastating diagnosis, these women and children are not downtrodden. Instead, they are vibrant and welcoming.  For example, upon entering one of the homes, they pulled out their finest lace to serve as a cloth to sit on. kidsngrace

The second, of our ten tour home, was occupied by two little girls and their parents. The six and eight year old were HIV positive.  Additionally, they had just been treated for abdominal worms due to unclean water. Their families did not have enough money for medication so Margaret, the healthcare worker, visited them daily to do all she knew-encourage.  The school was five miles away and both little girls were too weak to make it there and back in a day.  Holding them in my arms, I made a heart-felt and tearful promise.  This family, these young girls, would not endure this situation forever.  I could not leave them without proper medication and education.  They were happy and joyful, and did not have all the resources to live the life they deserved. I promised that they would have an opportunity to go to school and be educated without the fear of dying from HIV.

It was a simple and small statement that is launching a big act.grace

This was my pivotal moment. I realized that I had been preparing and was prepared for this specific moment.

I first met globalbike’s executive director, Curt McPhail, at a Spartanburg coffee shop three years ago.  I was fresh out of Wofford College and embarking on my journey with WritefullyHis.  He shared with me the work being done in Tanzania.  During those sips of coffee, the bike and the story captured and encouraged me.  Three years later, it led me a mud hut promising big things and believing in their possibility.

globalbike does big things.  The work they do does give back, but also encourages so much more.  globalbike encourages dreaming big, exuding joy, providing more and meeting those that deserve a promise.

A dirt dilemma

J13A0599 After 30+ hours of travel, I was home.  For days, I had been dreaming of a luxuriously long, hot soak in my tub, followed by wrapping myself in a big, full towel.   But when the time finally arrived and the clear, hot water began gushing out of the tap with a simple twist of the knob, I was strangely hesitant.  I knew that the purple polish on my toenails was hiding several weeks worth of dirt and that my hair was crunchy and dry from the fine African dust.  But there was a part of me that didn’t want to wash it all off.   Maybe if I left just a little dirt, I could somehow hang on to that feeling of connection with a country 8,000 miles from my home and with the people we met who are happy to share everything even though, in our eyes, they have so little.

J13A1018Being with globalbike in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania was an experience that I will never forget.  Research has shown, and globalbike acknowledges, that women are a powerful force and an often untapped resource for positive change.  We talked with Sara and Joycee with the TATU Project, were welcomed with exuberant singing by the women of Kazi na Sala (the Swahili words for “work and prayer”), and danced with the women’s group in Mikocheni in celebration of their new bicycles.  These women are brave – they speak out against difficult taboo issues like female genital mutilation and sexual consent.  They work together to run bike rental businesses and create beautiful beaded jewelry to provide an income for their families.  Most importantly, they represent an attitude of self-respect and value that is often suppressed or discouraged in rural Tanzania.  There is much work to be done, but I have no doubt that these women can do it and I am proud to be a small part of their support team through globalbike.

J13A0870 - CopyThe dirt under my toenails was a just small testament to the challenge that the women in Tanzania face every day.  I did eventually get clean, but I don’t ever want to wash away that feeling and I hope to get some dirt under my nails again soon.

— Laura Bain

An act of love: written by Taylor Moody

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It is not every day you get the opportunity to head half-way across the world to a place incredibly different than what you are used to.  That’s why I was so ecstatic when Curt McPhail asked me to join the globalbike connect trip to Tanzania that took place this past July.  Prior to the trip, I had no idea what to expect.  Now I wait in anticipation for next summer when I will hopefully be able to join the globalbike team once again in Tanzania. J13A0736

Living in Spartanburg, the ideal of “southern hospitality” is assumed by our culture. After my trip with globalbike, I realize the standards of southern hospitality need to rise quite a bit to match the level of welcome and friendliness given by those in Tanzania.  “Karibu”, meaning welcome in Swahili, could be heard left and right as the globalbike team drove through the villages on our bike rides.  Swarms of children smiled and laughed and greeted us in the streets as we approached a new destination, and the men and women let out a warm “jambo”, their hello, upon our passing through.  I have never felt so welcome in a place so out-of-place from my norm.

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Being a recent graduate from Spartanburg High School and about to start my next phase in life at the College of Charleston, I feel that this summer was the perfect time for me to experience what globalbike does to help those around the world.  During one of our bike exchanges with a local women’s organization, one member said that she viewed the bikes not only as a tool for success in the villages, but as “an act of love”.  Her words stood out and hit home. I believe that, yes, the giving is an act of love – a love that can be transformed into other acts of love, like giving back to the village, the family, and to the individual herself.  I know that I will never forget my time on the globalbike connect trip.

From the friends I made on the team, the individuals I met that lived in Tanzania, and the entire experience itself, I believe I have learned more in a 2 week period than many teenagers can say they have learned in the entire summer.  Thanks to globalbike for this amazing opportunity and such a great act of love

Happy Mother’s Day: A note from our executive director

I vividly remember growing up in Ruby, SC, rural town in the Sandhills.  My mother did an awful lot to help us out.  She sewed her own clothes for many years so that we could afford to have one’s with tags, from a store.  Mom hung our clothes out on a line to dry each morning to save on the electric bill.  Mom played the piano at church on Sunday’s while my Dad preached – so we would have a little extra money.  Mom stayed home till my brother and I were in school to insure we got started on the right foot.  When Mom went back to work – she could have easily rewarded herself for all of her hard work.  Instead, Mom took us all out to eat each Friday night.  I have wonderful memories of hamburger steak or fried shrimp depending on which of the two restaurants we picked to eat.

It’s not too different for the women in Tanzania that globalbike works with.  They do the hard work day in and day out.  When they get some money 87% of it goes to support their family and their community.

This mother’s day help us help others – #2wheels4mom

Sincerely,

Curt McPhail

globalbike executive director

Two ways to give and support

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Two ways to give – Two ways to prove Two wheels make a world of difference.

This week you have two opportunities to support globalbike.  On May 5th globalbike will participate in Spartanburg County Foundation’s day of giving.  Donations that day have the opportunity to be matched – so your dollar will go farther.  globalbike is rooted in Spartanburg.  It was almost a decade ago that our founders met at a coffee shop on Main Street and decided to purchase 10 bike in Zambia.  Through the years Spartanburg has been a huge supporter or our great work and globalbike has grown and flourished here.  To participate in this day of giving alongside many other amazing organizations is truly fantastic.

Here’s how to give to globalbike during May 5th:

  1. Go HERE on May 5th.
  2. Donate – it’s that simple!

Opportunity #2 gives you the chance to honor the amazing woman whom you call Mom!  globalbike focuses on women because they are critical to transforming lives in the developing world.  Our work along with tons of research proves that women invest 87% of what they are given to their families and communities.  An investment in a women is one that has a huge return on investment.  This mother’s day give in honor of a special women who invested in you to help globalbike invest in women in Tanzania.

Here’s how to give to globalbike to support your Mom:

  1. Go HERE before May 10th.
  2. Donate and in the Apply Donation field type #2wheels4mom
  3. Tell your mom you loved her so much you gave to globalbike in her

What’s so special about gbconnect?

In 2012, globalbike was asked to support an organization’s efforts (Kilimanjaro Initiative) to ride from Nairobi, Kenya to the base of Kilimanjaro and then hike to the rooftop of Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro. This effort raised awareness for environmental issues facing the nations of Kenya and Tanzania. We had a team of seven who participated in the journey and came back to the US to spread the news of the adventure. Promptly after the trip, it was clear, seeing the work other were doing in Eastern Africa first hand, transformed both the participant’s perspective of the world as well as globalbike.

This week, 3 years after globalbike’s initial trip to Africa, the participants of the 2015 gbconnect trip gathered to meet each other and discuss the trip in July which will be held the 17-27.   The energy and excitement was palpable and the trip is still several months away. The agenda was discussed along with what to bring and what not to bring, there was a lot of talk about shopping trip and bike rides to prepare for the journey. This will be the largest group globalbike has taken, 30 individuals ranging in age from 10-60. We asked our participants why they wanted to go with us…the answers varied from,” I want to support globalbike and what you do” to “It’s a great learning opportunity and when else will I have this chance.”

So what does a gbconnect trip look like? Imagine a diverse group of people traveling halfway around the world together. Then, landing and getting your bearings for a few days – taking in the landscape and sounds of a new place. After a couple of days of acclimation, we mount a bike and head deep into remote Tanzania, where you will camp in the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro, play with the village kids and eat local cuisine. Each morning we travel to new villages learning from amazing women who are using bikes to transform the lives of their families and villages. In the evening there is reflection on the work the women’s organization do and how globalbike helps; you see and the experience all while riding on a bike.

This year’s edition will be the 5th trip for globalbike. Each one takes on a different flavor due to the participants and route but they all are rooted in common themes.   True learning and transformation comes on the other side of ones comfort zone. This isn’t to say that our trips are uncomfortable but we focus on cultural exchange, biking, and authentic learning and sometimes this is not what we are used to.

gbconnect trips exist to share the heart of globalbike’s work with the world. Stay tuned for more updates leading up to this years trip – and if interested sign up for the 2016 trip now.

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