You’ve already been to Bujumbura City and back again on our RAGBRAI journey; where will the adventure take you next?! Today we travel to Gitega Province, to explore the importance of bicycles in more rural areas of Burundi. We asked our Burundian partners and friends to share their bicycles stories with us – Odette Habonimana, BFI’s National Women’s Empowerment Coordinator – did us one better! She hit the streets of Gitega and interviewed individual bicycle riders and owners to help bring us this breaking story.
See how biking has been a catalyst for staying in school, providing for family, and paving the road for economic stability in Gitega!
Let Odette take you on the ride through rural Burundi…
These three people ride bikes as their daily job.
On the left side, we have Jean Marie Ngendakumana, he has 5 years of experience as a bike rider. He said that he chooses to ride a bike as a means of transport because he was not able to continue his studies; as jobless, he found that riding a bike can provide him a way of living. From the money he earns, he was able to build a house, get married, and support his family. The only challenge he mentioned is that the bike riders are not allowed to work in the night, while that is a time they can get many clients (from 6 PM on).
At the middle, we have Delphin Ntihemuka, he is a high school boy and has been riding a bike for 3 years. He confirmed that a bike is used as a means of transport just like motorcycles and taxis. He appreciates this job because it takes him to different places and connects him with many people. From the money he earns, he is able to pay his school fees, and all school materials. He rides the bike during free time and on holidays.
On the right side, we have Gervais Nshimirimana, he has been riding a bike for over 20 years. He uses the bike as a means of transport to ride clients to different places when they go to school, or to work. For him, this is a job he likes because it is an income generating activity. From the money he earns, he is able to support his family; he is a father of 4 children.
We couldn’t bring you these stories without our correspondents in Burundi, and their commitment and openness to sharing and educating all of us here in the US. Huge thanks to today’s contributing Burundian author, Odette Habonimana, for sharing stories from her community.
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