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Click here to see a La Crosse Tribune article about the mission in Uganda.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Down, But Not Out

There could well be a trend developing here. Not too long ago, I wrote about Breakdowns. And since then, there have been a few more, in the same vein. Starting with the latest first, the opportunity for the third ride of the year presented itself this afternoon. And I took it. It was cool, but it was a damp cool. Meaning it was less comfortable than I had expected. But I chose one of the many scenic routes along the river, up the bluffs and along the ridge that make this area so very good for cycling.

As good as it was, there is always the chance that something will go wrong. For instance, when you find one of these in your rear tire:

you can be pretty sure it’s not going to come out well. Not only did I have to stop and change out the tube on the rear wheel – why is it always the REAR wheel? – I was on the highest, most exposed part of the ride, up on the ridge above the river. There was a stiff wind and I was decidedly uncomfortable. But, I reflected, I had the tools I needed, a spare tube, a pump and the know-how that comes from (just a little too much) practice. Nothing to get upset about and it wasn’t all that long before I was on my way, enjoying an early spring ride in scenic rural western Wisconsin.

And there have been other disasters to consider. In Japan, of course. And in Africa. It is my privilege to be part of a group that is providing support to the Kenyan village of Ola Nagele, a project of Global Hope Network International. One of the first things accomplished for this village was the provision of clean water, piped into a 5,000 liter tank sitting on a platform built for that purpose. Regrettably, the platform collapsed under the weight of the full tank, resulting in a sort of major-league flat(tening), as you can see here:

Now I can’t be sure, as I wasn’t there, but I’m guessing this minor disaster was met with not-too-much drama, similar to my experiences with breaking-down vehicles in Uganda. There is already a new platform being constructed, this time with rebar reinforced cement, and the new tank is already at the site, ready to be put into place.

As I said, it is a privilege to be part of the support team and, if we aren’t careful, we might just learn a thing or two. Such as, a flat tire isn't anything to get worked up about, it's just something to fix so you can be on your way.

See more about the Ola Nagele project on the Village Blog.