Little could the French father and son duo, Pierre and Ernest Michaux, have imagined when they invented the first modern bicycle in 1861, as to the far reaching and life-changing universal impact their revolutionary mode of transportation would have a century and a half down the road, surprisingly smack dab in the middle of the Third World African country of Ghana.
Wheels of Change, a forty-five minute television documentary program, brimming with vitality and inspiration, tells the story of the delivery of 5,000 bicycles to Ghanaian middle-school children and the effect it has had on their daily lives.
Sponsored by the Cadbury corporation and The Bicycle Factory, a unique charitable promotion that enables Canadians to support the building of bicycles by purchasing any of Cadbury’s 500 products, Wheels of Change provides us with a glimpse into living conditions in Ghana and how a simple invention and the united efforts of thousands of Canadians can change a child’s life and the future of an entire community.
The cinematography is breathtaking and gives us the best seat in the house as we witness the pure joy on the faces of the children as they anticipate climbing aboard a machine that can travel anywhere, one hundred times further and faster than on foot.
The program is hosted and narrated by Bob, a Ghanaian who has a great love for children and a passionate concern for their education and medical care. He introduces us to Philip, the thirteen year-old son of a cocoa farmer and Elizabeth, a young woman who makes a living helping her mother at the local market. We follow them riding their bicycles, weaving and smiling, their lives being given a brand new purpose and their families, a new hope.
Wheels of Change is guaranteed to make you question your values when filling up that motorized vehicle at today’s prices or stuck in gridlock while bike riders drive by on their way to better health.
I experienced an overwhelming amount of guilt while hailing a cab after the premiere to travel a mere two kilometres home. I made up for it by pumping air into my deflated bike tires and cycling off to the next movie. I made it in record time and felt superior when passing the motorists caught in heavy traffic. Hey, what goes round comes round!
Wheels of Change is a Frantic Films Production, executive produced by Jeff Peeler and produced by Booker Sim and Alexandre Trudeau. The Bicycle Factory is striving to send many more bicycles to Africa in early 2011. Google it and support Cadbury’s dream and a child’s reality.
“And the wheels of love go round …….”