When Alain was 9 years old and asked for a bicycle, I quickly got him one because I remembered how he loved his tricycle as a kid and will carry David behind as the zoomed the house. I had left Cameroon when he was 8 years, and was still dealing with so much guilt. Anything he asked for (given that I had easier access to him and barely any to his brothers), I quickly bought.
That was how he quickly learnt to ride his bicycle at his granny’s, and became the ‘chef du quartier’ par excellence (translate this as neighbourhood hero by popular acclamation lol). He always had what I call 12 disciples following him around, negotiating for even only 2 mins on the bike. We don’t have a bike culture here, and most middle or struggling families can’t afford the luxury of buying bikes for their kids, not to talk of each kid having their own lol
So, I got one for Alain, and when his brothers started visiting, they’ll learn how to ride on his bicycle. Their dad the ever his type, refused to get theirs for different reasons. He said they’ll run into the road when I offered to send the money to buy them…his first reason had been he had no money…
Anyway, fast forward to 2018 of course, we now have 3 bicycles for three guys in another neighbourhood like at granny’s. David of all, the one his dad feared for most, is the chief errand guy in the area. He flies on the bicycle, he rides almost standing, and does business with his bicycle more than the others.
They (except Gaby oh lol) ride their bikes to school too, and that spares me some change for taxi etc. It gives them so much autonomy and empowers them, they even give me some coins every now and then. They are fast learning to save and manage their finances and I couldn’t be more proud and grateful.
Alain is now with his 3rd bicycle since then, and he takes immaculate care of his bicycles. David does too, Gaby is just Gaby.
He puts the chair and chain on each time hahaha, but he still has some clients too; just for smaller amounts like 25 frs a ride or even a mango in exchange for some time on his own bicycle lol.
Alain bargains the most and he is big guy now right, so his own generation use the bike for more serious reasons like going on a date etc. One paid 500frs just last Tuesday for 3 hours. You can bet he needed that bike, maybe to go impress a chap lol.
I also seize the opportunity to continue teaching them to save and manage their finances, save also for when the bike breaks down and a wheel needs air for example. Alain and David have been doing that so well, Gaby is still trying to get that right hahaha. They even try fixing it themselves sometimes too and from them I have learnt some parts of a bicycle like the chain, brakes, nodes etc
Talking about business further, David is what we call a real Bamileke man (These are like the super business minded in matters of business in our country – a tribe renowned for being business inclined and with all the pride we can give them). He also has a sticker business. Stickers are called ‘autocolants’ in French, and he gets a packet of say 20 at wholesale price, then retails them for a profit.
The small downside of this business atmosphere here is that they tend to neglect other stuffs like washing their clothes. Nope I don’t do it for them, and nope I don’t have a washing machine, and nope I don’t have a housemaid.
So one day when I got back home and they had all gone out wherever, I didn’t want to raise my voice on their return – see am also fasting from anger and attack thoughts etc. I therefore left them a note on the kitchen door, and went to the nearby lake to read in peace. On my return, my obedient sons had done their laundry and we were all so happy. All is well that ends well, parenting can be fun if we are creative and let the children be themselves too.
Be inspired and motivated all you parents especially single mothers in here