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Aid and Relief6 min read

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Bicycles, boats, and boda bodas

Emily Towns
Aug 16, 2022

The old, wooden boat slid its way through the waters of Lake Kivu. The boat’s passengers steered the vessel, laden with heavy food boxes, toward Ishwa Island in Rwanda. They could see the shoreline in the distance, which could only be reached by boat. It was full of people cheering and singing with thankful hearts.

Earlier that day, those boxes of food had arrived in Rwanda in a shipping container. And long before that, the supplies sat in a warehouse in Virginia, waiting to be shipped. But because of faithful donors like you, that food made its way across oceans, countries, and continents to reach a group of hungry children.

Delivering food to remote islands that aren’t easily accessible shows the people there God’s love for them

“It speaks to the desperation of people when they use what they have or can afford to rent to reach and distribute the product we have sent,” said Josh Brewer, World Help’s Director of Aid & Relief.

Thanks to the World Help family, many shipments of food, clean water, clothing, medical equipment, hygiene kits, furniture, and more have made their way to people who were desperate for hope. This year, more goods are ready to be sent — supplies you can help deliver by giving to cover the shipping cost!

And like the people of Ishwa Island, individuals are waiting with boats, bicycles, and small motorbikes, ready to transport aid to those desperately waiting for it.

Here are some ways the lifesaving aid you help ship are delivered:

By bicycle or motorbike

In countries across Africa and Asia, bicycles and small motorbikes called boda bodas are a primary mode of transportation. It’s not unusual to see a family of four plus the pet goat squeezed onto the small seat. And when a group of pastors arrived at a shipping container in Rwanda to unload supplies, they brought along their trusty, old bicycles.

Pastors draw their strength from the Lord to deliver food to starving families 

“Each box weighs about 40 pounds, and they each loaded five boxes on a bicycle,” Josh said. “That’s how they’re getting them back to their villages.”

Every time a food shipment arrived, these pastors got on their bikes and pedaled the dusty miles to reach the shipping container. But that was nothing compared to the return trip. The men found the ride home much slower and more exhausting with their bicycles loaded down with cumbersome boxes.

But it was worth it. The pastors knew each box of food equaled lives saved. Each box of food equaled hope for the future — and that hope made the ride a bit easier.

By boat

Covering over 1,000 square miles, Lake Kivu is one of Africa’s largest lakes. The remote Ishwa Island sits isolated at its southern tip. The island is home to thousands of Rwandans, most of whom suffer from extreme poverty and malnutrition. Our partner and their fellow pastors and teachers knew they couldn’t let the isolation stop them from reaching out to the people in need.

The group formed an assembly line to unload boxes of food and other supplies from a shipping container. Laughing and singing, they loaded the boxes onto an old, small wooden boat. The group stacked as many boxes as possible in the vessel and began their journey.

Helping to end food scarcity in this community allows people to dream of a better future

As their boat sliced through the water, the pastors and teachers began to watch and listen. A group of men, women and small children was waiting on the shoreline. They ran down the shore, shouting and singing and welcoming the boat … grateful for the gift of food that would help save their lives.

By foot

The journey didn’t stop once the boat hit the shore. The villagers who greeted the boat had to walk up a very steep hill to reach their homes. One by one, they grabbed as many boxes of food as they could carry. Then, balancing the boxes on their heads, they began the trek home.

But when they reached their village, their reward was waiting. Gathered was a group of hungry but happy children — ready to eat.

By you

Communities like Ishwa Island are located all around the world. And residents are willing to do whatever it takes to get food, medical equipment, and other resources. They are desperate, but you can meet them where they are by helping ship emergency relief.

It truly does take a village to provide children with the love, encouragement, and resources they need to thrive

The journey begins with you … a compassionate person who wants to help. Your gift will help cover the cost to ship a container of aid overseas so it can then be distributed— either by bicycle, boat, or boda boda — to people who are struggling.

And your gift multiplies 16x!

That means your $30 will ship $480 worth of supplies donated by corporate partners and grants. You can help send boxes of food to fill canoes and bicycles in Rwanda … shipments of medical equipment and hygiene kits to be distributed out of old trucks in Guatemala … and blankets and clothing to be carried one by one to families in need.

Shipping aid with necessities like food takes one worry off the shoulders of people living in poverty

But your gift doesn’t just help ship physical aid … supplies are often distributed by pastors and other believers, just like on Ishwa Island. By meeting physical needs, you open the door for these men and women to share the Gospel.

Right now, our warehouse is full of items ready to ship. These supplies are ready to travel by boat, by truck, by bicycle, or by foot to reach people who are sick and starving. The only thing missing is you. Will you go the distance and give $30 to help ship medical supplies, food, and more to people who are dying?

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