Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bikes for underprivileged students of Adams courtesy of Wheels 4 Life

Last September 2, I finally pushed through with my bike delivery mission, on behalf of Wheels 4 Life Foundation, to far away Adams town.

First, we loaded 20 mountain bikes on an Elf Truck in Laoag City.  Then we travelled 100 kilometers north of Laoag to Brgy. Pancian, Pagudpud town.

When we got there, we had to transfer the bikes to a dump truck because the Elf won't be able to handle the rough terrain uphill.

Since the climb up was 13.5 kilometers, I made sure all 20 bikes fit in the back of the truck.  I only wanted to make one trip on this delivery.

The road started easy.  A kilometer of rough road just like this.

But then it started getting harder.  This next picture shows a portion of the road affected by a landslide brought about by Typhoon Karen a couple of weeks ago.  We encountered around 5 obstructions like this:

And then there were the streams.  We had to pass through this...
and this.  There were others just like this river/stream along the way.
Finally, we reached our destination.  Adams National High School.  114 kilometers from Laoag City, 602 kilometers from Manila.

When I called up the mayor a few days ago telling him I'd deliver the bikes I told him that we'd just have a simple turn-over ceremony.  I thought we'd call the recipients one by one from their classes, I'd interview them, and then hand over the bicycle.
When I entered the high school, the teachers and students prepared a special program for us.  I don't think they get a lot of visitors in the school.
Here are some students dancing a tribal dance in front of the bikes.  70-80% of Adams residents are members of indigenous tribes.

After the short program, where I told the students that the bikes didn't come from me, but from Wheels 4 Life Foundation, we called on the recipients one by one.  And when we had everyone on stage, we posed for posterity's sake (and for my accomplishment report to the foundation)
All recipients are students of Adams National High School belonging to poor families, and living as far as 13 kilometers away from the school.

Afterwards, we followed the students to their home.
Here is picture with one of the recipients, Zaldy (in white shirt behind bike) in front of his home.  Actually, it's not his.  It's his aunt's.  He and his family just rent a small space inside.  His relatives were in tears when I told them the bike was theirs.

Here I am (in blue) with the school principal, the social welfare officer, Jason (on bike), Dr. Bawingan and the mayor.  Notice the clothes hanging on the right.  The photographer did not notice it while taking this picture.
I visited and inspected the houses of some of the recipients to make sure that they were indigents and really needed the bike.
And they really did.  Adams in a mountain town and it is hilly and most of the roads are unpaved.  The bikes will surely shorten their travel time to school and save them in commuting/transportation costs.
So, on behalf of the beautiful, pristine and rural town of Adams, Ilocos Norte, thank you Wheels 4 Life!  May your tribe increase!

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