Greetings from Zambia…

Dear Jeff,

I hope someday you’ll come on a Third World trip like this with me.  It’s moving beyond measure to see all the good the efforts of our hard work can do for people in the far reaches of the world. $134 buys a bike for a child to ride to school. You won’t remember that we bought ten.

No, the internet here isn’t quite as fast as you’re used to, but it’s wifi and our hotel, The Southern Sun, has super clean modern everything and a great breakfast, including custom omelets with all of your favorites. The cafe lattes are almost as good as Peet’s. Really. I’m embarrassed to say I had three that this morning. They were small.

You may be happy to know that the Southern Sun does not have a jewelry store! But the Taj hotel does and I remember the way.

The library with our names on the dedication is amazing. When we write a check it may seem abstract, but when you see dozens of children in a library that services hundreds….the reality just embraces you. As I do from here.

Dave did a great drill down into World Bicycle Relief today. When he started drawing graphs of supply chain and the complicated arrangements I really wished you were here. I’m sure you could help with productivity. They needed to increase quality and so have shifted production from Tata to Giant bicycles in Shenzhen. Aren’t you happy you haven’t had to go there in a while? They swore it wasn’t planned that the first three containers of bikes, 970 bikes to a container, arrived while we were at the factory.

The highlight of the day was building our bikes. It reminded me of when we built the plane. (Done quicker, though!) Hadn’t heard these words in a while, “cotter pin”, “spanner,” “bushing”. My “assistant” Joseph professed amazement that I actually know how to handle tools. Told him some jobs are better done with small hands (mine) and some tasks better done with larger hands (his). And that became a joke. Was this a small hands task or a large hands task?…reaching inside to attach the mud guard, small hands…wrestling the chain over the chain guard, large hands. You’ll be thrilled to know that my manicure is intact. (that shellac is a miracle.)

Last step in bike assembly was to put a sticker with my name on the back.

At the end of the week, when we give the bike away, that sticker will stay, and travel around with it as it services the whole family.

Must say it made me feel proud.

Hope your parents are doing better. See you soon.

Love, Karen

About Karen Ray

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One Response to Greetings from Zambia…

  1. Cristina says:

    Sweet and profound; what an amazing woman you are…what an amazing life you lead.

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