Cycle The journey of a bicycle connecting Two Brave Women
Dave & Kathy Hawthorne, Taryn Reynolds
This book belongs to...
In loving memory of Laura (Reddy) Richter The Dream Cycle Written by Dave and Kathy Hawthorne, and Tayrn Reynolds Copyright 2019
Elephant Parade Publications 2019
his is an inspirational story about two brave and beautiful women from different countries, whose life stories intertwined through the donation of a bicycle. It is an example of God’s timing not ours as the bike seemingly dropped out of sight for four years before communication reconnected us to the its journey and some wonderful people. It gives meaning to the work that a grass roots organization “Bicycles for Humanity” does and inspires everyone involved to keep pressing on in making a difference in people’s lives. Nigel and Taryn Reynolds (Namibia, Africa) were recently contacted by a special family, Dave and Kathy Hawthorne (Vancouver, Canada) with a very heartwarming request; and that was to honour their beautiful daughter, Laura’s life, by donating her old childhood bicycle to someone in need in Africa. Laura lost her life to cancer at the very young age of 30, leaving behind her husband Eliot and their precious two children, Jonah and Charlotte. Laura and Eliot had visited Africa in the years before having children, where Laura held very fond memories. Laura had said that when she passed away, she wanted “a job in heaven looking after young children who had died.” This brings us to the other precious lady in this story…Ester. Ester comes from a poverty and health stricken background, and has had to survive the odds from birth, being born premature, and seen as an omen of badluck in the superstitions of the culture, she came from, she had to make up for her small size with her tenacity and courage. She put herself through courses on counselling and childcare after schooling. Ester has managed to overcome all her adversities and raise two of her own children, help her husband pastor a church, as well as start and run a crèche and daycare, for underprivileged children in a local informal settlement. She and her husband live in a small one room shack made out of zinc, with very little money to spare. She often takes in children whose parents cannot afford to pay, saying that she would “rather have them with her than alone and in danger left at home during the day”. She is an inspiration and it was such a pleasure to gift her with this bicycle. Join us as we take you on this incredible journey from Vancouver, Canada to Namibia, Africa.
hen Laura was a young girl she often said she wanted to go to Africa and be a missionary helping those less fortunate. When Laura was 10 years old, her parents, Kathy and Dave bought her a bike for her birthday. A smooth riding Peugeot 10 speed. She didn’t really like it (wanted a racer bike like other kids had!) and it was then referred to as Laura’s “Clown Bike”. She didn’t ride it much at first, but this bike grew on her in time. Laura was raised in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada with her parents and sandwiched between two sisters, Jessica and Andrea. After high school, she went to BCIT to study marketing and tourism. Here she met her handsome husband, Eliot Richter. They married October 15, 2005. They decided on the spot, to move up to Blind Channel, on the small island of West Thurlow (up from Campbell River) and help grow the family business, but Laura had one stipulation. If she was going to go and live on a remote island, she would have to fulfill her lifelong dream of travelling to Africa. Eliot agreed, and they moved to Blind Channel in spring of 2007.
he African trip happened in January â€“ February of 2008. Laura and Eliot were offered volunteer positions as marketing and business consultants for an island resort in Uganda. They jumped at the opportunity. Once there, they were able to make some productive suggestions and share their professional insight with the owners and staff. They met two bishops and got to drive around the country in an official vehicle. They felt like celebrities. After they left Uganda, they met up with their close friends Sarah and Ian to go on a safari and travel to Zanzibar. It was an incredible experience that none of them would forget. Laura left Africa with a multitude of exceptional experiences along with closer bonds to Eliot and their friends. Here are a few of the letters she sent, telling of their experience.
January 7, 2008 12:02 AM
So we are off in the morning! I think we are all ready, we better be by now... Here is the rough plan - take off tomorrow and fly for days! We land in Dar es Salaam on the 9th and fly out to Uganda on the 1 1th. I have emailed flight details. This is where we will be staying www.busharaislandcamp.com the website is a little funny right now but you can just click on one of the options in the index (youâ€™ll see what I mean when you go to the site) and it will bring you to the resort website. This is the organization we are working for www.acts.ca. We fly back into Tanzania, Kilimanjaro airport on Jan. 23rd. Eliot and I will then hike around for a while before we meet up with Sarah and Iain in Arusha on the 29th. Our safari leaves first thing the next morning. We will be on safari (I have sent this itinerary separate) until the 4th of Feb. On the 4th the four of us will be taking a flight straight from the Serengeti airstrip to the beautiful island of Zanzibar. Here we plan on staying until the end of our trip. Eliot and I will be flying out of Africa (still havenâ€™t seen that movie!) on the 12th landing in back in Vancouver on the 13th in the late afternoon.
January 7, 2008 12:02 AM
We will email all of you as often as we can and please email us. I have left print outs of our passports, visas, flight info etc with my parents..that’s right Mom and Dave don’t loss this! If by any chance something happens to us, Phil, you ended up being the emergency contact on our passports so please let my parents know asap. (Don’t think anything will but you never know.) We love you all and will see you very soon!! Love Laura & Eliot
January 10, 2008 1 :43 PM Hello Family, Well Eliot and I made it here safe and sound and boy oh boy it is HOT!!!! The flight here was so long and even though I was on Gravol I felt sick most of the time. On our last flight from Amsterdam to Tanzania there was a group of twenty bible students from Germany sitting all around us. They are here for nine weeks! So it was nice having them around, really good energy, I actually felt much better on that flight. It is taking a bit to adjust to the time difference. Right now it is 10:30 am on Friday and at home it is 1 1 :30 pm Thursday. Quite a difference. The place we have been staying the last two nights was ok, nice and clean, hot water etc but the area is a bit of a dive. Although I donâ€™t really know how nice any areas are in this city. Yesterday we went to a outdoor museum which was pretty interesting, it had huts set up for the different areas in Tanzania. We are flying out to Uganda this afternoon. Talk to you soon. Hugs and Kisses. Love Laura & Eliot
Hello my family,
January 16, 2008 1:32 AM
Just wanted to let you know that we arrived in Uganda safe and sound. The resort is beautiful the weather however has not been the best. We are in town (if you want to look at a map we are in Kabale) at a small internet cafe and the computers are barely working, I couldn’t open gmail that is way I am emailing from this address. The internet at the resort runs on solar power and since the weather has not been very nice there is not much power. ***OK I opened Gmail wonderful*** Anyways, Eliot and I had to meet the Bishop today (with the head guy of ACTS in Uganda) to get approval of our project. So up until now we have not actually been officially allowed to be doing this project! (We’ve been working on it anyways.) Good news...we’ve got the go ahead! This is such a lush country, lots of flowers, interesting plants and so many birds. There are sixty six different types of birds on the island! Eliot and I may get to go to Queen Elizabeth park in the next few days to look at a site for a new resort that ACTS is thinking of opening. That would be cool! Then on the 22nd we have to make the seven hour drive back to Kampala and fly back to Tanzania on the morning of the 23rd.
January 16, 2008 1:32 AM
We got to go to a local church on Sunday. It was over three hours long! Great music and there was a HIV/AIDS presentation during the service by a local drama group with was great to see. Some other people working for an ACTS HIV project were visiting and wanted to see this presentation so they brought us along. At the end of the service we had to go up to the front to introduce ourselves!! A little different then picking up a visitor card in the lobby! Also for offering you had to go up to the front to put your money in a basket, people who didnâ€™t have money put in bananas, beans whatever and then they were auctioned off! How are things at home? Please still email my gmail account and maybe just cc my hotmail account in case this happens again. Love you all and will write again soon. It is time for lunch then back to the resort. Hopefully the weather will clear up. This is such a change from the city, it was smoking hot there! Well we will write again when we can, itâ€™s a little touch and go here. Love you all, Eliot says HELLO Love Laura
January 23, 2008 7:44 AM
How are things going back at home? Eliot and I are back on the road. We tried to change our flight so we could spend an extra few days in Uganda, but the other flight was full so we left today. We would like to one day go back to Uganda, it was very beautiful. Really nice people (once you got used to them a little), so lush and green. You should have seen the fruit stands!! They have everything, I have never seen pineapples so big and the bananas. There is no shortage of bananas. They actually use bananas in a lot of dishes. A main staple there is matoke with is green banana that has been steamed and mashed. They eat this like rice, almost every meal! On our last day we got to go check out a site for a new resort sort of on the edge of Queen Elizabeth Park in a little village. We went with the head guy from Acts a bishop and a few reverends! We all packed into a land rover and off we went. You should have seen the looks we where getting from people in villages! Three white people with all of this really high up well respected public figures (the church is REALLY important in Uganda) it almost felt like we were riding around with the president...almost!
January 23, 2008 7:44 AM
So we are back in Tanzania, flew into Kilimanjaro airport early this afternoon. We asked this couple in the airport (who lived in the area as missionaries) what the best way was to get into town. They ended up dropping us at a bus depot down the road from the airport and putting us on a small packed bus!!! Our first African bus ride. Not nearly as bad as I thought it would be! These missionaries could speak the language so they just put us on and even paid for us! When we arrived in Moshi (the main town at the base of Kili) we took a short cab to a hotel. Anyways in the end the trip only cost us about 2 dollar usd, instead of a 50 dollar cab ride from the airport!
Once we got here we slept for most of the afternoon (the last three days we have been up and on the move at around 6:30 so we are tired), tonight we are having dinner on our hotel roof top patio with a view of the mountain (I think it is a little cloudy so we may not see it!). Tomorrow we may do a day hike on the mountain, or maybe just look around the town and organize
something for the next day. We are here for a few days before going to Arusha where we will meet Sarah and Iain!! So excited!
January 23, 2008 7:44 AM
Anyways things are going great. We are having a really good time. Mom how was the interview did you get the job? Have you quit your other job? Dave what is going on with the conference, everything moving along smoothly? Ann what is up with you? Did I ever tell you how much I liked the little note you gave me, that verse is great. I actaully wrote it out for a bible student I was sitting beside on the plane from Amsterdam. He was from Gremany and had never travelled before. He was part of a big group who was doing missions work for a few months. Well I have got to go my session is up! Love you and I will be in touch. Eliot says HI! XOXOXO Laura $
Hello There Family,
February 5, 2008 3:41 AM
Just wanted to let you know that we are doing just great. Thanks for your emails. I really like hearing from you all. Yes we found Sarah and Iain, or rather they found us! And we are now maxing and relaxing on the hot sands in Zanzibar. I am wearing my new bikini at the moment! So since I last wrote a lot has happened. The night before the Safari we met up with Sarah and Iain, went and had a lovely dinner and hit the sheets early, so we would be nice and fresh on our safari. Well middle of the night I was not feeling so fresh! I got it bad....both ends! It was very strange, because two other people were in the bathroom same time as me also getting sick. We didnâ€™t even eat at the same place! And they told me right before they got in the bath room another guy was also getting sick. Two hours later I was at it again. In the morning I felt just crap...didnâ€™t throw up anymore thought, and took imodium (sp??) to plug up. We had a really great safari 4x4, just huge, big enough for 6 people in the back. It was brand new first time being used on safari. Our driver/guide was pretty cool as well.
February 5, 2008 3:41 AM
We got to stay at some really nice places (nicest any of us had ever stayed in) and some ok places. All pretty off the beaten path. And the animals....oh boy we saw everything. It was pretty amazing. Our hike was great, spent seven hours hiking up and over a mountain, stopped at a village where our guides sister lives and got invited into her home for Masai milk (straight from the cow and boiled). Oh yes and we got to see a cheetah hunting for her and her 6 cubs, very cool. We love our new camera and have taken some pretty good pictures. Well it is Eliotâ€™s turn now so I must go. Eliot says HELLO. Love you all and talk soon, Laura
onah was born in 2009 and two and half years later Charlotte was born in 2011. In the summer of 2012, it was discovered that Laura had a rare small cell cancer, residing in her cervics. One year later after many treatments, operations and tons of prayers, she died August 20th, 2013.
fter Laura passed away, Dave and Kathy weren’t sure what we would do with her bike. They heard of this place on 3rd Avenue in Vancouver where they have a project called “Bicycles for Humanity”. B4H send donated bikes in a container to Southern Africa where they are distributed to people who could really use a bike. Since Laura and Eliot went to Africa and she had often said it was a trip of a lifetime, and would love to go back... Well Happy Birthday Laura, part of you will be going back to Africa!
And so began the email correspondence over 4 years. Notice the dates
We are trying to find out how we can donate a bike for Africa. We saw the posting on Google about the TV interview and this was dated September 8th. Who do we connect with here in town and what is the process? Thanks...Dave & Kathy
Hi Dave & Kathy: Thanks so much for your interest in Bicycles for Humanity! We are thrilled that you have something to donate. We are always accepting donations. Our shipping container is currently being housed at Skiis & Biikes in Kitsilano. Donations can be made during the storeâ€™s regular hours with the store staff. Let me know if you have any other questions! Best, Sagal
We dropped Lauraâ€™s bike off at the store on her birthday. Then we found a little chocolate factory, bought some treats and went for a walk down at Kits Beach. Dave & Kathy
Hi Dave & Kathy: I wanted to check in with you because I think we were able to pick out your daughters bike when dropping off a truck load of donations last week. I wanted to confirm that it is green/blue Peugeot with orange stripes. We’ve brought it back down to Vancouver. We would love to give it a tune-up and donate a set of fenders or a rack. At this time we are 100 bikes short of sending a container. We’ll be taking the next month to spread awareness and reach out to other bike shops with the help of volunteers. Almost there! Best, Sagal
Thought I would touch base with you to see what’s the status of our daughter’s bike. I ride the bus every morning which goes past 3rd Avenue where the bike store is located and often wonder what happened? A fair bit of time has lapsed by since we dropped it off and we haven’t heard anything. Can you give us an update. Thanks...Dave and Kathy
Hi Dave & Kathy: In trying to take over the B4H Facebook stuff from Devon I’ve just pieced together who you are. My apologies I never realized there was this thread in Facebook until now or I would have reached out sooner. Your daughter’s bike was in the container that just shipped to Namibia I believe (it was a teal Peugeot ladies bike correct?). Before Devon moved back East he made sure we connected and that I picked the bike up from him. I’ll definitely see what I can do to get you some updates from the other side once the container has landed! And my apologies for the delay with all this too, collecting 500 bikes has been quite a big job for my father-in-law and I so that’s why it’s taken so long. I’m going to approach bike shops moving forward and we’re hoping to turn them into drop off locations which will speed things up I think. Each round I learn and get a bit more organized. Anyway, any questions at all let me know. Thanks...Mike
PS: The container is on its way and is currently near Los Angeles. In case it’s of interest to you, you can track the progress on vesselfinder.com and the ship is “APL Yangshan”.
Hey everyone: Weâ€™ve been quiet for quite awhile but Iâ€™m happy to announce that B4H Vancouver is back up and running! We quietly spent the last year and a half putting together a container that shipped 475 bikes to Namibia last night. Thanks to friends and family for their help and support along the way, specifically Ron Lunggren and Sheldon and team at NRI. Also thanks to Scott Green of T-Lane Nation for the container donation, Jason Pozniak at Pacific Coast and Bert at F&G for helping us get the container to port. An incredible amount of good is going to flow from this container! Thanks...Mike
Hi Dave & Kathy: A quick update for everyone following our container to Namibia. Weâ€™ve just received news from Nigel (who runs B4H Namibia) that the agents in Walvis Bay, Namibia are currently busy with the customs clearing process - following this the container will be transferred to the CCS yard for Customs inspection. Fingers crossed that all goes smoothly and the bikes are soon in the hands of those in need. A huge thank you again for all of you who donated and helped out! ...Mike
Vancouver Canada Walvis Bay Namibia
Hey everyone: Congrats to the B4H Team Finally! Back breaking work offloading the Bicycles for Humanity - Vancouver Container at the B4H Namibia Distribution & Outreach Centre near Etosha special thanks to Mike and team in Vancouver and Pat Montani in Whistler - more bikes to empower mobility to the needy in Namibia. Regards, Nigel
Jun/25/2018 Wow this is exciting news! Looking at the photos, that’s an incredible number of bikes that were sent. Keep us posted on “Journey of the Bike”. Thanks...Dave & Kathy
Thanks for making this happen for our daughter’s bike! I went by the store on West 3rd this morning and see it is slated for demolition! Good thing you connected with me and put the pieces of this puzzle together. Dave & Kathy
Hi Dave and Kathy: No problem at all, I’m so happy it came together FINALLY! I’m sorry it took so long. And really it was Devin who made sure that I got that bike before he left so really it’s largely his doing. And Nigel did an incredible job making it happen on his side and it looks like he found a very worthy recipient. So happy to see it’s found a worthy home!! ...Mike
Hi Dave & Kathy & family: The Container arrived, from Bicycles For Humanity Vancouver for Namibia. Thank you very much for your daughter’s Bicycle Loosing a loved one is extremely difficult and our hearts are with all of you. We are excited that her Bicycle will bring life and hope to a special lady. Her name ‘ Ester ‘ who commits her time to looking after Orphans & Vulnerable Children. We will do the hand over shortly and forward you the story and pictures. Warm Regards Nigel & Taryn – Volunteers
Hi Dave & Kathy & family: The Bicycle was Donated to Ester last week as she had been away at a mission station, FYI, we are all volunteers and I am retired, we have spent the last two months driving approximately 3,000 miles to distribute hundreds of bikes to various programs and people. Our Administrator was ill for 6 weeks so some catching up to do and we organized the National BMX Champs for Kiddies on the 1st September, which took weeks of hard work to prepare the track and venue. It has been hands on deck ...
Thank you Dave and Kathy, we’d like you to meet Ester. You know it gets complicated with photos on different phones etc - but this picture will be up on Facebook shortly and if you don’t mind we would like to include your beautiful story. The picture is Ester with her two kids and our project manger Melissa handing over the bike, Melissa herself is amazing she also fosters a number of orphans ... thank you God Bless. Warm Regards Nigel & Taryn – Volunteers Sep/22/2018 Nigel: Thanks for your reply. We have been following these wonderful stories of how a bike will help and transform lives. Amazing volunteer work all of you do, and big hearts. This photo brought tears to our eyes, as this “Journey was started four years ago, with a new chapter beginning”. We are excited to hear Ester’s story and maybe be blessed with a photo. Even to connect via email would be great. May you continue to be kept safe, full of energy and truly blessed with your work! Thanks...Dave and Kathy
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Ester with some children at the daycare
The outdoor washroom that needs to be updated A new purpose for a bike
The property where Ester lives and the daycare is located
t’s actually also a lovely story how Taryn met Ester. Just over 2 years ago, Ester’s husband had come to the bicycle outreach project and left his name with the manager. Taryn’s husband kept the phone number and kept telling her, she must give the person a call. So after a while, after putting it off, she just had this sense that she should call...She spoke to Ester’s husband and he explained that they had a small creche and that their year end graduation was coming up and they needed funds to help with the catering. Taryn had called just in time as the function was the following week. So she went to meet Pastor Nangula and had a look at the creche, and she and her husband decided they wanted to help them. The following day, she went with the Pastor to the grocery store and they bought all the things they needed for the graduation...then Taryn took him home and helped load the goods into his little shack...that is when she met Ester. Ester came out the house with these wide eyes and such gratitude. She had just had her second baby a week before and they had no food left to eat, so the day before she and her husband were praying for help and that is when Taryn had phoned to say they were wanting to help them. From that time on, Taryn has felt a strong bond with Ester... “She is such an inspiration and such a joy to know.”
Ester with her husband Kondja, their two kids and a some other children and Taryn
About the authors Dave and Kathy Hawthorne live in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, which is about an hour outside of Vancouver. They have lived there 28 years and raised three girls. The family has grown now with four granddaughters, two grandsons, and two great grandsons. Kathy likes bird watching and walks, Dave enjoys painting landscapes. They both like leisurely bike rides and both have been involved in grief ministries in their community. email@example.com Nigel and Taryn Reynolds live in Tsumeb, Namibia, Africa. Nigel was a sports professional and cycled on the Australian Team and well as had many victories and world records in Triathlon in France and abroad. Taryn is a graphic designer (like Dave). Nigel and Taryn have been involved with Bicycles for Humanity since 2010 using bikes to reach children and young adults, and all their funding for outreach programs they raise themselves. About Bicycles for Humanity In 12 short years, they grew to over 50 chapters, about 30 active at any one time and B4H have established over 200 BECâ€™s and in total delivered about 125,000 bicycles to Africa to the end of 2015. The key to their success has been telling the story of the need for bicycles in the developing world, and hopefully inspiring many to join a pure movement, and make a direct and meaningful difference. B4H ship the bikes in containers, that are turned into bike shops (BEC) Bicycle Empowerment Centres and they train local people to repair and maintain the bike. Stocked with 450-500 bicycles, tools, spare parts and comprehensive training material on bicycle maintenance, it is designed to empower people and their communities with transportation and the means to maintain it. For more information please visit the website www.bicyclesforhumanity.org
hen I was writing this book there were two pages which were blank and I didn’t know what to would put in to fill it. This story was not complete yet and these pages breathed new life. (It is amazing how God works!) On Jonah’s 10th birthday (Laura’s son) I saw this post from Nigel (Namibia). He and his wife Taryn came up with the idea to do a fundraiser for Ester, to convert the shipping container into a classroom. Mike (Vancouver) who worked tirelessly gathering the bikes, put together the Go Fund Me page his first time doing this. A new container is full of bikes and ready to embark on a life changing mission. It requires money to get it on the water and on it’s way to Namibia, Africa. Ester’s daycare needs some major improvements to continue to serve 100 children. The container has 500 bikes in which 300 were donated from Portland, Oregon. There are some school supplies, 100 pairs of runners and shoes, as well as balls and toys generously donated and carefully stuffed between the bikes.
auraâ€™s bike has impacted over 120 people so far! Can you imagine how many lives will be changed for the better from this next shipment of 500 bikes! This story impacted you by your action to donate; so you too are meant to be part of it!
Your $20 - helps cover the cost of shipping 1 bike (500 bikes x $20 each = the $10,000 we need)
Consider encouraging your friends to donate to the Go Fund Me page for Esterâ€™s Daycare/schoolroom or contact Mike Kirk who heads up the Bicycles for Humanity in Vancouver and donate a used bike. I also would be honoured to speak to your community group and share our story. Thank you for your kind hearted donation, and for taking the time to read The Dream Cycle.
$10,000 is a lot of money. How will the funds be distributed? -
$5,000 to Ocean Shipping (includes the container donation to be converted
to a school room in Tsumeb, Namibia) - $3,000 to B4H Vancouver for purchasing a replacement 40 ft bike container for future use in Vancouver - $1000 to crane, transport and port fees in Vancouver - $1000 to crane, transport and port fees in Namibia
An Inspirational Story about two brave and beautiful women from different countries, whose life stories intertwined through the donation of a bicycle.
ersonally I can just be in awe at the hand of God in this story…Laura’s parents say that a friend in their church named Esther helped them through their grief journey, and the name of one of Laura’s very close friends was Taryn, which happens to be my name. (Nigel’s wife) Isn’t it amazing that Laura’s dream of helping children is coming to fruition not just in heaven but also here on earth through Ester; whom has received the gift of Laura’s childhood bicycle and now can be used to help Ester in her daily tasks in caring for so many needy children in Africa. It is a precious full circle in life. May all the people involved in making this story happen, be blessed...Taryn Reynolds
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” Galatians 6:9-10 New International Version NIV) 9
Elephant Parade Publications 2019
An inspiring story of one bike connecting two brave women. It follows the journey of Laura's bike and give insight into Bicycles for Humanit...
Published on Apr 17, 2019
An inspiring story of one bike connecting two brave women. It follows the journey of Laura's bike and give insight into Bicycles for Humanit...