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Old 12-22-2005, 07:46 AM   #1
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11 Year Old Boy's Bike Drive For Africa

VERY impressive

By Nikita Stewart, The Washington Post | December 21, 2005

WASHINGTON -- When 11-year-old Winston Duncan was on vacation in southern Africa in August, he watched people walk, and walk, and walk.

Eventually, he realized that walking -- many times, long distances -- was the only way people had to get around, he said. There were few cars, fewer buses. ''The people were just walking so much," Winston said. ''It was such a hard sight to see. I couldn't take it."

When the fifth-grader returned home to Arlington, Va., he brainstormed with his mother on how to get people from Point A to Point B other than on two feet. Their answer: on two wheels.

Four months after his trip, the boy organized a bike collection.

Over the weekend, people pulled up in minivans, sport-utility vehicles, and hatchbacks to give away 10-speeds, three-speeds, and toddler bikes that were too old, too small, or too rusted.

Winston hoped to collect 75 bikes to send to Namibia, in southwest Africa. He wound up with 160 and had taken a few calls to pick up more.

Winston pulled together the event with the help of his mother and a savvy that belies his age: He publicized his efforts by creating a website, contacting the media, passing out fliers at stores, and holding an assembly yesterday at Nottingham Elementary School in Arlington, Va., with a representative from the Namibian Embassy at his side.

Dixie Duncan, Winston's mother, said her son has always been sensitive to the needs of others and aware of poverty around the world as a result of their frequent foreign travel. Two hours into Saturday's collection, Winston was talking about applying for a grant to continue his work, as well as holding a big bike collection on Earth Day. ''I want to try to make it bigger," he said.

The bikes came in all sizes and colors as owners wistfully parted with one-time birthday or Christmas gifts.

''I paid $400 for that bike," said Mary Lynn Skutley, 51, as a volunteer wheeled away her 15-year-old, silver 12-speed Raleigh with a pink bottle holder.

''I didn't even spend that much for a car."

For 12-year-old Emily Herring and her mother, Anne Mayberry, parting with Emily's two-year-old, three-speed Raleigh made sense..Mayberry, 50, said they were giving the bike away not only to remove clutter but also to donate to a good cause. Emily had outgrown the bike. ''We thought we should give it where they could use it," Mayberry said.

Duncan coaches her son's basketball team and got the players to help. The youths, their siblings, and parents removed the pedals from each bike and tightened the handlebars to make them easier to ship.

Winston set up a nonprofit group called Wheels to Africa, and he contacted Bikes for the World, an Arlington-based organization that ships bicycles to developing countries, including some in Africa. To defray shipping costs, Winston collected $10 from each donor.

Bicycles are expensive commodities in countries in Central America and Africa, where they generally are imported, said Keith Oberg, director of Bikes for the World.

''We're so affluent here. We discard these bikes," he said. ''In some countries, it can mean a child can continue to go to school

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Old 12-22-2005, 11:50 AM   #2
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Amazing. Truly amazing.

Can you imagine if we all acted on our convictions and saw the world through a child's eyes again?

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Old 12-22-2005, 01:12 PM   #3
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This is very impressive.
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Old 12-22-2005, 01:34 PM   #4
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What a great story. He should recieve some kind of an award. Like Coemgen said if we could all be like that.
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Old 12-22-2005, 02:28 PM   #5
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That is so inspiring. What a wonderful child.
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Old 12-22-2005, 04:20 PM   #6
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truly a blessing. Thank you for sharing that inspiring article with us Mrs.S
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Old 12-22-2005, 05:17 PM   #7
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Thank you for posting. I will share this with my family.

With the hyper commercialization children must wade through daily, it is refreshing to see a child who looks beyond his own desire for an XBox to help others.
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Old 12-22-2005, 07:17 PM   #8
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Winston is a blessed child.

Thanks for sharing this story.

Happy Holidays.
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Old 12-23-2005, 01:29 AM   #9
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What an incredible child, and an inspirational parent! Beautiful story, not only this giving time of year, but for all year round. This story should be shared with schools and rec centers all the world over! If children this boy's age begin their young lives as charitable big-hearted human beings, this world DOES have hope for it's future! Now I need the kleenex!

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