Just wanted to give you all a quick update on Project Rwanda.
This past year, Project Rwanda has seen some challenges (for example: getting the remaining coffee bikes out of Customs, personnel changes and departures within the country, frustrations with trying to get things done in “our timing” vs Rwanda timing, etc). PR’s founder, Tom Ritchey, admitted it was overwhelming and discouraging at times. But Project Rwanda has a life of its own. Just when Tom was thinking about winding things down, they get a surprise donation – a huge one at $250k – from a donor in Texas who wants them to finish the Team Rwanda film project they started. (They started filming this when I was in Rwanda 3 years ago.) God works in sometimes strange and very wonderful ways!
Going forward, the two main goals of the Project are:
1. The Team
Finish a feature-length film about Team Rwanda, and support their training and racing development in an effort to compete on the world stage in the Commonwealth Games and hopefully in the next Olympic games. Two additional elite-level coaches have joined Jock Boyer to help develop the team to the next level. I met the team, and these young men are amazing athletes, but more importantly they are world-class role models who generously give back to their communities with their time and their talents.
2. The Bikes
Project Rwanda is going to focus on creating an infrastructure to service and support the coffee bikes (and other bikes) that are currently in the country. There is no such thing as a “normal” bike shop in Rwanda. There’s no good place to buy tubes and tires and get decent repair work done. Until now. Through Project Rwanda’s good relations with the government of Rwanda, they are receiving a container structure and permission to place it in a central location near the stadium in the capital city of Kigale. That container will be turned into their first bike shop/repair center. Next step is to purchase the supplies and inventory, and then get it all successfully shipped and through Customs (a process they hope will be easier due to their good government relations).
Our 50 Mile Ride team is excited to learn about the continued progress that Project Rwanda is making on behalf of the good people of Rwanda.