The movie posted a while ago gives a good summary of the work we’ve been doing on location in Kisumu. But it’s already been a while since we’ve been back in holland, and a lot of work has been done. After a few days of acclimatizing to the cold Dutch weather we got back together to evaluate our trip and to look at the period in front of us. Many decisions had to be made before we could actually start designing, things like what will the bicycle actually be used for,  what features will it get, which parts will be used, etc. After these points where discussed the sketching of the ideas could begin, we generated a lot of different set ups, some of them more realistic than others. From this pile of ideas we extracted four concepts, four bicycles that more or less fitted our list of demands. We are now on the verge of the decision between these concepts. Which of them will be developed further, and become a real bicycle in a few weeks? We will let you know in a few days……..

learning how to weld

In the meantime we’ve also been learning how to weld, you cannot built a bicycle frame without welding so we learned how to handle a MIG welding machine, and an electrode welding machine. Both of them are common in Africa, and may be used in the workshop that is going to produce our bicycle. In two weeks we will start to weld our own frame, lets hope the welds will sustain!!

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The bicycles for handout

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We are joining the entertainment team

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We, Nelson the chairman of the victoria boda boda assn. and Henk Kuipers our supervisor

Yesterday we ended our trip to Kisumu with a bicycle hand-out by our most important partners. Foundation cycling out of poverty, the Victoria Boda Boda association and the Neighborhood association had managed to facilitate 20 bicycles for high school children, for which the parents had saved. Luuk of cycling out of poverty and Henk, our professor, were also present to witness the ceremony, which started with some local dance (including us again!) and a lot of speeches of everybody except the students themselves.

After the ceremony we were invited to have dinner with some people of the different associations, where we got a real ‘good bye’ talk. It was the last time that we could eat the local food Ugali, a thick porache cooked of corn flour. And eat with our hands. Both of them we are really used to and even like them now.

Tomorrow (Monday) we will replace Kenya for Holland again, with a totally different view on business and life in Kenya then we had before. We gained a lot of information and met very helpful and cooperative people. In sum, a very fruitful 3 weeks of research.

After a weekend of relaxation we dove into our project again with a lot of energy and inspiration. Monday Luuk, of the Cycling out of Poverty foundation, arrived in Kisumu. We started the week with a good meeting with him. We all are satisfied with the process of this project, the decisions made and the opportunities identified.

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Street vendors share information

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Students of the polytechnic discuss our sketches

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Shop of bicycle parts

The rest of the week, our final week in Kisumu, we still wanted to meet a lot of people and gather more information. We interviewed street venders, discussed our ideas with a group of students of the local polytechnic and we visited shops that provide bicycle components and building materials.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rick kicks off the meeting with the co-creation team

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Anne discusses bicycle physics

The main event of the week was the meeting with our co-creation team. This team of people, consisting of mechanics, street vendors, boda boda drivers and some neighborhood officials, will give feedback throughout the rest of our project. During this first meeting we showed them some of our first ideas and challenges. This team will be involved during the whole process. When we are in Holland this team will meet again in Kisumu and discuss new input, provided by us. In this way they can give feedback during the process, and afterwards test the bicycle in January.

In the evening Henk, our supervisor from the University in Delft, arrived. Edmund took us to the local chicken restaurant, which serves the best chicken in Kenya. The chicken was indeed delicious and we had cooking lessons to make the local dishes. This morning we had a more formal meeting where we discussed the project.

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Find Rick.....

Today we split up to gather more information. The boys joined a meeting of the community of one of the slums. They had to sit next to the chairman, in front of more than a hundred spectators. After all attendants introduced themselves, the boys had to pray and even dance. The meeting took almost the whole day and was mostly in Swahili. So they did not gather that much information. Luckily the lunch meeting with the chairmen of the neighborhood and boda boda associations was more fruitful.

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Showing bicycle images on the market

We (the girls) had a more productive day. We went into town to speak to street vendors. Unusable our skin color is enough to attract a lot of attention, but when you bring images with you, a crowd gathers around you. They replace half their market booth to set a chair for you where you have to settle down. Business cards is not common here, but instead changing telephone numbers seems to be crucial.

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Local artists presenting their drawings of bicycles

In the afternoon the girls had a session with some creative artist. The ice breaker subject was the favorite snack of all the participants. We brought stroofwafels and drop with us that was surprisingly judged as tasty. We drew bicycles with them and made mockup models. Within half an hour a bunch a seemingly useless wires were turned into beautiful bicycle models.

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Bicycle made of wire

The mobile street vendors of Kisumu it will be.

 At this moment there are a lot of static street vendors in Kisumu. They sell their products just at 1 place. But what if we make some of them mobile, then they will have a much larger area where they can sell their products. Therefore we want to design a bike which can sell for example sweets. The mobile street vendor can drive from school to school to sell candies during lunch break. We have not decided yet for which products we will design de bicycle. It can be multiple purpose vending bike: maybe water, sugar cane or bread. In a large part of the Kisumu slums people have no access to water. So it would be great if our bike could reach these people.

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guy selling sausages on the street

We’ve just played a game of Frisbee with girls who stay at the Pandi Pieri. And we did our laundry today! We feel more civilized , less white and more accepted. Here some random pictures…..

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O-riginaly, B-orn, A-frican, M-anaging, A-merica

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Brainstorm with our "target group"

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women doing laundry

We have been in Kisumu now for one week. We spoke to the major parties that are involved in our project like the Victoria Boda Boda Sacco, Millennium Cities Initiative, Urban Matters, Kenya Investment Authority, Uvumbuzi, Boda boda drivers and metal workshops. We got a feeling of this city and the challenges it is facing. The major relevant challenges are the high poverty level, the lack of formal industries and the infrastructure that is not suitable for bicycles and causes dangerous situations.

Our project is aiming to develop a bicycle oriented product that stimulates entrepreneurship (and therefore empowers people who are living in the informal settlements). After our orientation we identified three potential groups that could benefit of our product; a bike specialized in the transport of freight, an addition to the Boda Boda to transport freight as well as people and the mobile street vendors.

Transport bike

Woman carrying cargo

Woman carrying cargo

Hand cart

Cocotini (hand cart)

A lot of products are transported by handcarts or are carried around, for instance by women on their heads. The speed, and in case of the head transport also the weight, is very limited. A bicycle would enable them to increase this. We think of some kind of ‘bakfiets’.

Boda Boda additions

Bike upgrated to Boda Boda

Bike upgraded to Boda Boda

There are 16.000 Boda Boda’s (bicycle taxis) in Kisumu. They buy a Indian bicycle and modify this for passenger transport (strengthen the frame and rim, place the driver seat more to the front and put a decorated passenger seat).

A Boda Boda transports cargo

A Boda Boda transports cargo

Besides the transport of persons, they tie up a lot of things on their back seat with an inner tire. This damages their passenger cushion and is instable. We could provide them a addition to make their bicycle suitable of cargo transport as well.

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Sweets are sold on the road side

Sweets are sold on the road side

In Kisumu there are hardly any shops. Like a development country all the business is done on the street. But we noticed that most of the vendor are static, they sit in front of their house with their products. We think that if these people will become mobile they could increase their sales. Another limitations of the amount they are selling right now is the weight they can carry. A bike would enable them to increase this amount.

Sketches
Sketches
While almost everyone is in church, we are sketching al the ideas that we gained. Based on these ideas we will chose the target group. In the coming week we will gather more information on the target group and orientate ourselves on local resources and alternative materials like recycled plastic and papyrus that is locally available.

This morning we started our day visiting our host at Pandipieri. He explained what all the people are actually doing around here. Pandipieri holds several places; street children accommodation & school, Aids clinic, baby care center and more. Quite moving to realize that a lot of people walking around here have Aids/Hiv and the underfed children should be twice as big for their age.

Orphan at Pandipieri

Orphan at Pandipieri

Besides the serious and good things happening here, we also have a very pleasant stay. This places welcomes very friendly and offers loads of space and fun. Today we actually got to meet the small version of Obama.

Pandipieri

Pandipieri

To elaborate on our search fields we facilitated a mini brainstorm. Dutch bikes acted as input for discussion and were appreciated, especially the ‘bakfiets’.  

session at Victoria Boda Boda Association

session at Victoria Boda Boda Association

After the first impressions gathered from urban Kisumu, we took a trip around the rural area. By Boda Boda we went 6 km to Dunga beach, which is one of the harbors were fish is brought to land. As good old tourists we took a guided boat trip to see the local fishermen and caught some hippo’s on the side.

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Fishermen's boat - Lake Victoria

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Hippo

 When we got back at the harbor we were lucky to witness the chaotic arrival of the fishermen. Like they were hiding before, suddenly the whole beach area was filled with women buying and selling fish. We were overwhelmed by all the colors, chaos and movement surrounding the place. 

Dunga harbor

Dunga harbor

 

Fish market

Fish market

Coincidentally  we had heard some stories about the papyrus production at this spot. This drew our attention. So we went to a local producer, which produced beautiful crafted baskets, from this material.

Papyrus at a basket production place

Papyrus at a basket production place

On our way back, we tried the Boda Boda bicycles ourselves, which caused lots of laughs from the original drivers, which didn’t believe women are able to cycle in the first place. But of course Floor and Anne surprised when making a more than smooth ride.  

Anne & Rick riding Boda Boda

Anne & Rick riding Boda Boda

This wasn’t just  one of the ordinary researches we are used to in Delft. It was a visit to several very lively areas where people make, prepare and sell everything one might need, also known as a market. Of course we focused on the bicycle repair shops and stands that sold spare parts, and to make the experience complete we used the Boda-Boda’s (bicycle taxi’s) to get from one place to the other. All in all an intense day with a lot of incredible impressions, the pictures say enough.

Boda Boda taxi trip.

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Kibuye market in the neighbourhood of Manyatta.

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Two women on the market (thinking inside the box).

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Fundi; local bicycle and motorcycle repairment shops.

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