Bicycle repair (Tuesday)




This morning started with trouble. It had been raining all night and the outside temperature dropped to 15 degrees. Rushing into the car to get to the city on time was completely unnecessary. The car did not turn on and so it took half an hour for the three house guards to give us a jump start. Finally driving to town was another adventure. The roads had turned into mud. All trucks were carefully crawling over the slippery ground, it is important to mention that most of them do not have functioning breaks.

Arriving at the bike garage was like surviving a rollercoaster ride through a thunderstorm. But here the impossible is always made possible. So in the garage my job was to straighten tires and reassemble a Canadian bike. I learned fix problems in a way that would be unacceptable to German people. For example cutting away half of the fender with a pair of scissors because it was touching the tire. The repairs basically took up half of my day. (UPDATE: my fixed bicycle was sold for 65 000 kwacha!!!)  People here like to work very slowly and if possible not more than necessary. It is a troubling attitude because it hinders all economic development. Even worse is seeing how other countries are intervening. Big containers with used shirts, bicycles or shoes are sent to Africa. Once you are here you will shake your head because it is extremely inconvenient and disrespectful towards the natives. Inconvenient in one way that it does not drive the people to produce their own clothes and learn how to sew, in the other disrespectful for thinking these Africans are so poor that they have to wear our used shirt. Sending money is another big problem all on its own. None of these things are any help to the future of the children living in Malawi. What they need is good education, meaning more schools with better trained teachers. At the moment classes consist of 100-150 students, where kids in grade 7 have failed to learn how to add and subtract numbers. I get confronted with these issues every day in the orphanage. So it’s no material things that can assist this country, it is human experts that can teach adults and children how to think in different areas. Experts like mechanical engineers, highschool teachers, doctors, pilots, and so on.

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