Just as in 19th century Britain, it is the bicycle that brings freedom and transport to the masses in rural Malawi. And none of your fancy 18 gear mountain bikes here, it is good old-fashioned solid designs from days of old – like this “Raja” from India that has a heritage running back to the Raj.
Interestingly though, it is not these new bikes to an old design that are most sought after for the discerning rough road rider but a recycled Royal Mail delivery bicycle! These are imported in their thousands and you see them everywhere you go. These photos are of the pride and joy of one of the ZEC pastors near Palombe. The Royal Mail apparently made these bikes from girders and they were certainly designed to last. And of course the front panier is just as convenient for bibles as it is for the post!
Most pastors rely on a bike to get around their villages and Prayer Houses, sometimes spending several hours cycling to a far out station over the roughest of roads. so a strong bike is essential. Thankfully – with the help of brothers and sisters in the UK – Zambesi Mission regularly donates greatly subsidised bikes to ZEC pastors. If you are interested then have a look at http://www.zambesimission.org.
Yes, in Malawi the bicycle is king!