Yesterday we arrived in El Rosario (about 5 hours south of Tijuana) with a convoy of cars from Southern California to deliver 10 bikes to kids in the village of El Rosario and the newly built orphanage.
W4L boardmember, Diana Graber had made arrangements for this project with ‘Mama Espinoza’, who had just completed building a orphanage; and Andy Schouten from the San Diego based organization “Commitment”. She also brought her husband, Michael Graber, Emmy Award Winning Cinematographer, with his camera and several children from the Aliso Viejo, CA – Journey School, who had raised almost $1,000 in a fundraiser for W4L last year.
We brought 7 brand-new bikes we got donated from Incline Bicycles (James McLean). These bikes were very nice, the chain-less bikes had a shaft-drive and were of higher quality than the bikes we usually give away. We also had 3 used kids bikes with us, which we got donated by friends. Although we usually don’t deal with used bikes, in this case it made sense, since we could hand-deliver the bikes and didn’t have to ship them or repair them first.
It was very touching, a bit sad, but very inspiring to visit the orphanage and to hand out the bikes. Mama Espinoza, who is 99-years old, had for 73 years a landmark restaurant in Baja California and 15 children of her own. For several years she had planned to open a much needed children orphanage in the village, which got finished and opened literally 2 days before. Some of the bikes we brought were left with the orphanage, to give the kids mobility as well as something to play with. The children live a very hard life and the orphanage is only equipped with the most essential and basic things. Judging by the cabinets in their rooms, they each process about 2 pairs of socks an extra shirt and a tooth brush. We also identified 7 children from low income families, who needed a bike to get to school. Some of these kids had one hour to walk to school, before they got a bike.
After we presented the kids with their new bikes, I did a little trials riding demonstration for the kids and then I got to meet Mama Espinoza, who blessed us with some inspiring words. She seems extremely fit for age, mentally and physically; the orphanage is just one of many causes she supports in the area.
Thanks to everybody who helped on this project to make a difference and to change a life.
Hans Rey Founder Wheels 4 Life
Photos courtesy of Carmen Freeman
Watch the Videos from this presentation in the “Media” section.