Biking Towards Physical Development!
With repaired bikes, the children of NPH Honduras are growing and learning.
February 26, 2018 - Honduras
"Biking is one of my favorite things!" Livia* exclaims.
Thanks to donations some years ago, NPH Honduras received more than 30 bicycles for small children. Unfortunately, due to the number of children riding them and the rust caused by the rainy climate, many of them fell into disrepair. Luckily, volunteer physical therapist Mattieu doubles as a repairman during his free time.
"I've always been working on bicycles and motorcycles back in France; it has been fun to do it here. Also, there are a lot of physical therapy benefits to having the children biking," Mattieu explains.
Beyond providing hours of fun for the children of Casa Suyapa, where our youngest kids live, the bikes offer another tool in combating delayed physical development.
"Exercise is always good for the little ones of course, but these bikes are much more than that. Using your legs to go forward and your hands to steer is a complex process that cultivates development for many of the children that are physically delayed," Mattieu continues.
Because of previous living environments, it is not uncommon to have the youngest at NPH Honduras not begin walking until two or three years old.
"Usually, if everything goes well, a child starts walking when they are a year or so old. Many of our children were behind when they arrived, and anything that makes them work on balance now is great. The fact the bikes are fun is amazing," Mattieu observes.
Beyond physical development, the repaired bikes are helping the youngsters learn about sharing and responsibility.
"When you set it up, they know they have an hour to play and that there are more children than bikes, so they share to make sure everyone get a turn. Also, they have realized if they do not take care of their bikes, they will not be able to use them in the future," Mattieu remarks.
The repaired bicycles are teaching lessons beyond the smaller children's home. Ivan* has been helping Mattieu in his free time, and is learning new mechanic skills.
"Of course, I like doing the bike repair with Mateo! (the children's nickname for the French volunteer at NPH Honduras). It is fun to work one-on-one with the volunteers, and I get to use one of the larger bikes to have some time to myself after we fix the other ones for the smaller kids."
Too enthralled with their new activity, the smaller children miss much of this larger picture, though. They just see bikes and fun.
"You can go fast if someone helps push you, and then you turn - which is the best part!" concludes Livia*.
*Name changed for privacy purposes