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With My Own Two Wheels
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With My Own Two Wheels
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As a tool for development, a simple bicycle can mean transportation, employment, even access to education and healthcare. With My Own Two Wheels weaves together the experiences of five individuals into a single story about how the bicycle can change the world, one pedal stroke at a time.
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A Hubub Films production.

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Learn about the efforts of World Bicycle Relief and Bikes Not Bombs.

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Segment 1

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Look for solutions, not problems. - Dan Eldon
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Hubub Films Presents
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With My Own Two Wheels
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5:30 AM, Chapola, Zambia
FRED HANYINDE
My name is Fred Hanyinde. I was born here in Chapola in 1975. I am 35 years old. I got married in 1997. My wife's name is Emelda Chulu. She was born in 1983. We have four children.
FRED HANYINDE
I am a farmer. The soil here is fertile. I grow many types of crops. I grow potatoes, corn, sunflowers, cotton, groundnuts, and peas. I also have a garden where I grow vegetables like tomatoes and cabbage. The most important things in my life are going to church, then being a caregiver, then football! These are things I love.
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Zambia is roughly the size of Texas. It has an estimated population of 12 million. 1.1 million are infected with HIV/AIDS. Many of these HIV/AIDS patients live far from the nearest clinic. Their only regular care comes from volunteer caregivers, like Fred.
FRED HANYINDE
I decided to become a community health caregiver because of my brother, who suffered from HIV/AIDS. The issue was very close to my heart. The Bible says that, "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, so you do unto Me." As a caregiver, my job is to visit and take care of the sick. The main problem with our clients around here is how they are kept in their homes. They are stigmatized. Most of them say, "The people around here don't want me." Their families tell them, "We are not the ones who gave you that disease. That is of your own doing." Sometimes families give patients their own plates, because the family is afraid that they will be infected as well. Because of this, patients are normally happy when we caregivers come along. We shake hands and do all sorts of things together. They become very free with us, and they tell us problems that they wouldn't tell their own families.
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7:15 AM, Koforidua, Ghana
MIRRIAM ODURO
My name is Mirriam Oduro. I am 27 years old.
MIRRIAM'S FATHER
She wants to explore. She is something like -- she is adventurous. Sometimes, when she wants to do something, I will even try to discourage her. But, she will have the courage to pursue.
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In Ghana, people with disabilities are often stigmatized. Many find it difficult to fit in, let alone find a job.
MIRRIAM ODURO
I was a kid, and I had a dream that a dog bit me. Then my mom told me that I started shouting, "A dog has bitten my leg there." The next day, I couldn't even stand on my feet. I was paralyzed.
MIRRIAM'S FATHER
I found it very difficult to get even school for her. Because at the normal -- or at the regular school -- they didn't want to mingle up with people with crutches.
MIRRIAM ODURO
When I was a kid, I found life difficult. At that time, I didn't want to come out. I didn't want many people [around]. I didn't want people to see me walking.
MIRRIAM'S FATHER
Some people, when they see them, they admire them, they have sympathy for them. But some people too, when they see them, they just shun them.
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8:00 AM, Sone Sangvi, India
BHARATI PHAKAD DATE
My name is Bharati Phakad Date. I am 14 years old. I live in Sone Sangvi. My favorite actor is Mithun Chakraborthy because he always plays a humanitarian, someone who helps other people. There are a lot of people who live on the streets. I will help them. There are so many people in this world who do not even get one meal a day. I will help them.
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In India, 81 percent of girls attend primary school. Only 49 percent of girls attend high school. 46.4 percent of women are illiterate. Many women in Bharati's mother's generation were married by the time they were Bharati's age.
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Bharati's Mother, Bharati's Father
BHARATI'S MOTHER
My life, my generation, was full of darkness. If you are uneducated, then it is as if you only have one eye.
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In 1998, Armene Modi founded Ashta No Kai to empower women in Bharati's community.
ARMENE MODI [Founder, Ashta No Kai]
For about a couple of years, we only focused on adult women and literacy for them. And I noticed that many of the girls who came to the class were very, very young girls, with a mangalsutra, which is a gold and black beaded necklace that they wear around their necks, which in India is a symbol of matrimony. And they had babies on their hips, and I started to ask, "What's going on, and why are such young girls married off already?" And there's a famous Indian saying, "Why water a plant that is going to grow in a neighbor's garden?"

Segment 2

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9:00 AM, San Andres Itzapa, Guatemala
CARLOS MACHIN
My name is Carlos Enrique Marroquin Machin. I am a native of San Andres Itzapa. I am 41 years old. My farm is three kilometers from here. We call it El Chibul, because it is much higher up than the town. Now, in the month of September, we grow beans, ejoteros, that is, green [unripe] beans to sell to the market. I also just planted huicoy, carrots, lettuce, corn, piligua. Also radishes and beets. We grow it all. They say I have the hand of God, because I have five children. My eldest daughter is 18 years old, Carlos is 17, Antonio is 14, Jenny and Carolinia are 11, and Christian is almost six.
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Guatemala is still recovering from a long and brutal civil war.
CARLOS MACHIN
When the armed conflict started, I was a child. I had a very painful experience. I was tortured, because I was accused of hanging out with the paramilitaries. After that, after growing up, I did not have the chance to have a childhood as my children do now. It was lost.
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The civil war wreaked havoc on the indigenous Maya community. In the rush to rebuild, the residents of San Andres have paid a steep price. The air quality in the region is now so bad that many farmers can no longer work in their fields after 9 AM. Some, like Carlos, are looking for a new way forward.
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10:00 AM, Chapola, Zambia
FRED HANYINDE
I used to walk. Whether the patient was near or far, I used to walk. Rain or shine, I used to walk. I asked the caregiver program for a bicycle, but they never gave me one. They said, "You are only using it for useless programs." But we needed to help sick people in the community, so we used to walk.
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Caregivers like Fred often walk 15 to 20 kilometers to visit a patient. They must visit these patients two to three times every week. In 2005, World Bicycle Relief partnered with Rapids, one of the largest caregiver programs in Zambia. Their goal: To increase the effectiveness of caregivers by giving them bicycles.
JOHAN BRUYNEEL [Board Member, World Bicycle Relief]
What I find so particular about it is that it's so simple. It's measurable, something that we take for granted, and that in other areas of the world is something that changes lives. One bike, it is 134 dollars per bike. And I know that that bike is going to go somewhere and it's going to change the life of not only one person, but probably of a whole family.
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Fred is one of 19,000 caregivers who now make their rounds by bicycle.
FRED HANYINDE
The bicycle helps me reach patients in good time. For example, if I go by bicycle to visit a patient at 7:00 AM, I can reach the patient early and come back early. The bicycle makes visiting patients easier. Now I can visit a patient as late as 4:00 PM and still make it home by sunset.
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12:00 PM, Sone Sangvi, India
ARMENE MODI
In many villages, there were only schools until seventh grade. There were no high schools. So we worked in ten villages at that point of time, and there were only three high schools. So then I asked the parents, the mothers, "Well, what happens to the boys, how do you send the boys to school?" And they said, "Well, we give them bicycles." And I said, "Well, what about the girls," and they said, "Oh no, it's a waste of money to give a bicycle to a girl, she's going to turn around and get married. So I thought, my god, if it's only a bicycle that's keeping girls from going to school, let's go ahead and give it to them.
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Thanks to Ashta No Kai's Bicycle Bank program, Bharati and her friends are now able to get to high school by bicycle.
BHARATI PHAKAD DATE
I am going to Nimgaon Bhogi High School. I am learning in the ninth standard [grade]. I like mathematics because I like solving mathematical puzzles. The bike has been really useful. Now, the time that I save commuting to school can be used to study. Also, now I can ride to school with my friends. It is a lot of fun.
BHARATI'S MOTHER
She now feels very motivated and enthusiastic to attend school. I have to make sure that my daughters get a good education. It is our duty.
BHARATI PHAKAD DATE
I want to become a district supervisor, because then I can make big decisions, and also have the power to implement them. I would be able to make decisions regarding the welfare of the poor and downtrodden. I would be able to help transform society. I want to eradicate poverty from this country.

Segment 3

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2:00 PM, Koforidua, Ghana
MIRRIAM ODURO
This is my bench, yes. I have all the tools that I need at my bench.
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Mirriam is now a mechanic at Ability Bikes, a bicycle shop cooperative established by Boston-based Bikes Not Bombs and staffed entirely by disabled Ghanaians.
DAVID BRANIGAN [International Programs Director, Bikes Not Bombs]
The first day, there was one young woman named Mirriam Oduro. They came up to me and said, "David, I want to be a part of this project." And I said, "Okay, that's great, you want to learn how to fix bikes." And she said, "Yes. David, I'm serious. I want to learn how to fix bikes."
MIRRIAM ODURO
That day, they [the other mechanics] were laughing at me because I bent my [wheel]. So, when David taught me and I started doing it, I finished mine, and David came and checked it. He said, "Oh wow, you have done well!" They are sitting there [saying], "Mirriam, can you help me with my rim?" I said, "You are sitting there laughing at me. You want me to help you? I won't do that!" Then David told me, "Mirriam, you can help them." So I helped them.
MIRRIAM'S FATHER
She is always adventurous. She wants to go beyond what everyone expects of her. She doesn't seem to be handicapped. She doesn't seem to be worried about her problem at all.
DAVID BRANIGAN
It's a pretty amazing thing to have this aggressive male come with his bike and say, "Hey, my bike needs to be repaired. My wheel is going like this," right? And then everyone looks at him and they say, "Okay, we'll fix it for you." And then they take the wheel off and give it to Mirriam. And the guy's expression is like, "What? This woman, this disabled woman is going to true my wheel?" And what ends up happening is that she trues his wheel for him. And sometimes there are men sitting there, just watching, as Mirriam is repairing their wheel, something that they can't do themselves, and there's this female, physically disabled, mechanic fixing their wheel for this person.
DAVID BRANIGAN
I know that her life is changed by it. I know that she now sees herself in the world as an influential person. She sees herself as having skills that other people don't have, that are valuable to her community, and even to the world. She sees herself as now representing other physically disabled people who were in her position before, without work, and in a position now to advocate for them, and for recognition of the enormous amount of unemployed disabled people in Ghana.
DAVID BRANIGAN
She is a woman working in a field that is generally dominated by men. So she's even expanding the boundaries of women, and other women who are able-bodied look up to her as an example of how women can be in the world.
MIRRIAM ODURO
It makes me happy. It helps me to achieve something. And I feel proud. My name is Mirriam Oduro. I am a mechanic.
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4:00 PM, San Andres Itzapa, Guatemala
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In 1997, Carlos helped start Maya Pedal, an organization dedicated to creating environmentally friendly tools to empower rural Mayans. Their invention: the bicimaquina.
CARLOS MACHIN
First of all, the bicimaquina is all recycled. We start from the bicycle. The bicycle is the fundamental part. To this we attach the old machines that used to be powered by other sources, like gasoline. With the bicimaquina we try to join together elements that have been discarded [bicycles] with elements that used to pollute.
CARLOS MACHIN
First, the bicimaquina does not pollute the environment. Second, it fills the gap between the artisanal and the industrial. It is a middle ground, because it is going to allow the user to complete tasks faster. Third, it helps the economy quite a bit, because it reduces expenditures on fuel and energy. It helps to minimize the costs of both running and maintaining the machine. It is simple.
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The community of Cruz Nueva has two bicimaquinas: a bicimolino (corn grinder) and a bicipulpar (coffee depulper).
WOMAN 1
Oh God! It used to be a lot of work. We only ground at night, and could only grind a little at a time using our old tools. This is what we used before. But now that we have the bicimaquina, we don't use that one anymore. Now it is different. Yes, it has helped us a lot. With it I can strip corn very quickly to make my tamales. I can now grind my corn very quickly. Now grinding corn is a communal activity. The bicimaquina helps all of us.
CARLOS MACHIN
It also helps the family to learn to use the resources that are at their disposal, that surround them. It helps them learn how to do things in new ways that don't pollute. They learn how to do things in a better way.
MAN 1
We export coffee to the United States and, in another year, maybe Japan. The bicimaquina has helped facilitate this. Those two bicimaquinas help us to use less diesel or gasoline or electricity. It is a little better, no? Really, there's a lot of pollution. Those two help us pollute less.
CARLOS MACHIN
For someone who hasn't seen a bicimaquina, the concept is impressive because they are astounded by what it can do. If someone has a heart attack, we are going to try to revive him or her. That is what we are trying to do with these bicycles.
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5:30 PM

Segment 4

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8:00 AM, Santa Barbara, CA, United States
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Sharkey Esquives
SHARKEY ESQUIVES
You feel the fresh air. You can feel how fast you are going. You feel like you're going a hundred, you're going, like, only ten, fifteen! You can feel all that wind coming to your face; you're feeling all fresh and everything. It feels good, better than a car.
SHARKEY ESQUIVES
It all depends, the day and the mood. If I feel like riding my bike somewhere far, with my headphones, I go to my racing bike. It has blue tires, blue frame with some chrome on it. With the beach cruiser, if I feel like riding with my friends, with my homies, anywhere, I take my beach cruiser or my mountain bike, whichever one comes in handy.
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Sharkey is a volunteer bike mechanic at Bici Centro, a community-run bike shop that sells refurbished bicycles and teaches patrons how to repair their own bicycles.
ED FRANCE [Director, Bici Centro]
You have recreational road riders, who can generally afford bikes up to two, three thousand dollars, more. You have recreational mountain bikers, same deal, and those folks will tend to replace bikes every few years, even. You have the die-hard enviro bike commuters, but that group is not just the classic image we have of a bicycle commuter, the white, well-educated cyclist who's decided to simplify their life and to live environmentally, and thus they're going to bike. In Santa Barbara, at least half of that five percent of people getting around by bike are working-class folks who rely on that bike, probably not necessarily out of choice, because people ride whatever they can, you know? And again, that's half of our active bike commuting population. And so, our feeling at Bici Centro, as the group of founders, was that that group wasn't being served.
ED FRANCE
I feel a lot of sympathy for people in Shark's position, because out of high school, the possibilities are really bleak. What do you do? Continue hanging out with the gang? He probably has some hard job prospects.
SHARKEY ESQUIVES
It has kept me from the streets, from kicking it with my homies, kicking it with everyone, not knowing. Getting busted, getting locked up every time. Bici Centro has helped me in stopping it. I could be here, I could come here, and it’s kind of like a job. Come here, throw all my stress in here, and go home and just chill, and just pass out. It’s like a regular day, doing a regular job like a regular person. I've always been proud of working in here. Been helping a lot of people from different spots, people from a different world, different states, different age. You get the smallest kid to the biggest, oldest, like, "O.G." -- old man -- whatever! You could get anyone in here who doesn’t know anything about bikes, we teach them.
SHARKEY ESQUIVES
My life has changed plenty. A lot of people know me better from working at Bici Centro. They'll be like, "Aren’t you that person who helped me fix up my bike?" I’m like, "Yes, I'm the one who fixed it." They'll be telling me, "Thanks for fixing it, it's running good." My name is Sharkey, I'm from Santa Barbara. I'm from Bici Centro, I'm a volunteer, and I’m 21 years old.
ED FRANCE
This is just the same story over and over: people with enormous potential that are overlooked throughout the world. But we need our solutions that are intermediate. We have all these overpowering solutions. We want to have electricity! Well, we'll just dig up that mountain and we'll just make electricity, and we'll just run railroad cars and trucks. All we do is overpower things or neglect things.
CARLOS MACHIN
We as human beings need to take care of the world, not the world take care of us. Because we have been given wisdom, understanding, and all this.
DAVID BRANIGAN
The majority of trips that people need to take in their lives -- if you're in Guatemala, or Ghana, or in Boston -- are bikeable.
JOHAN BRUYNEEL
If we have a problem with transportation, we wake up in the morning, we look at the sky, and we say, if it's cloudy, do we go by car, or do we take the bike? The transportation story or transportation problem in Africa is totally different. They don't have the choice. They either have to walk-- kids have to walk two to three hours to school and from school, or caregivers have to walk all day long, in the best circumstances they can see maybe two or three patients. It's a completely different view on what a bike can do. We don't see the use of a bike other than, we have the choice.
ARMENE MODI
Having a bicycle and being able to access education can have such a huge impact on aspiration levels, on educational levels, on quality of life.
DAVID BRANIGAN
That bicycle is increasing their mobility. It's increasing their ability to go places. It's broadening their scope of their life, of what resources they can access.
JOHAN BRUYNEEL
Bikes have been part of my life, naturally, for always, and I've never thought about not having a bike. What a bike can do, to me, just made too much sense, and I couldn't afford myself to say, "I'm not part of this."
ED FRANCE
It is a comprehensive development tool. Development that happens for an entire country starts with one person. And if every single person in that country begins to become empowered, and begins to have access to resources, the entire country's going to develop.
CARLOS MACHIN
We know that we don't have to speak for the machine. The machine speaks for itself.
FRED HANYINDE
You can go and see a patient and still make it home. The bike makes the work of a caregiver lighter.
SHARKEY ESQUIVES
You fix that one up; he's going to tell his friend. His friend is going tell another friend.
MIRRIAM ODURO
It gives you mobility to do something.
BHARATI PHAKAD DATE
I was very happy when I got the bicycle. I felt really good riding my bike.
CARLOS MACHIN
The machine speaks for itself.