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by Lori Hinton

“Hand me that pedal wrench,” smiles Sandy Murray, wiping her brow while assembling one of 225 Kona AfricaBikes in 110-degree heat at a remote school in The Gambia’s up country village of Medina Wallom.

Murray, an emergency room nurse and Medical Teams International volunteer, and industrial hygienist Barbara Trenary have traveled to this West African country on multiple occasions for humanitarian work, but this year marked the beginning of an incredible ride.

What brought these Seattle women and a handful of volunteers all the way to The Gambia some 8,000 miles away? A chance to help break the cycle of illiteracy in Gambian girls.

How? By assembling hundreds of ultra durable Africa-specific bicycles for kids to use as transportation to school—thanks to fundraising efforts from local non-profit HopeFirst Foundation www.hopefirst.org and Kona Basic Needs www.konabasicneeds.org.