Just Like Riding a Bike

Sometimes it’s easy to take things for granted.  Like learning how to ride a bike.  Among other things, we teach sports at the Resource Center, an after-school program for kids under age 14, at the Jakob Marengo School in Katutura, the poor and predominantly black township in the northern edge of Windhoek, Namibia.

Usually we get about 30 kids, but during holiday periods many of the children return to “the village” to spend time with their extended families.  So we only get a handful that show up at the Resource Center.  Whereas we would normally organize a game of soccer, or relay races, or some sort of game, when there are just a few kids we have an opportunity to do something different.  Like teach the kids how to ride a bike.

The vast majority of these kids will never own a bike.  But like the saying goes, once you learn, you never forget.  So we spent an afternoon naming all the different parts of the bicycle I borrowed from a colleague, talking about the importance of bright and/or reflective clothing and helmets, and a bit about how to ride safely (on the left, hand signals, etc).  And then the kids took turns riding around the schoolyard, with me running behind.  Two hours later, they were riding like old pros.  And I got to relive the experience of teaching kids how to ride a bike.

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