Our team that conducts the workshops about improved cookstoves and homemade production of bio-charcoal briquettes has been very busy in the past year, despite the difficulties of COVID-19 lockdown measures and subsequent restrictions.
To date they successfully conducted workshops in 10 villages. All of that literally on foot in early 2020 walking to the villages and later zipping along with their spiffy new zahana bicycles.
Buying bicycles for our team not only increased mobility tremendously, but also boosted the morale and infused them with new energy and dedication. As an added benefit it made the visit to the villages safer for them. They travel as a group in the daylight hours because it is not safe to travel after dark.
To honor their commitment, they got a very special Christmas bonus this year. In an envelope each of them got an image of a bicycle. After opening it, they were not sure what to make of it, because most likely they were hoping for a crisp new bill as a culturally customary cash bonus. When they were told that the bicycles were theirs to keep for good they were flabbergasted. After all, they were prepared to pay us back for the bicycles over the next two years from their salaries. A good mountain bike in Madagascar cost more than a two month’s salary, and this bonus is a ‘really big deal’.
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