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Tales from the Missionary Hut: The Worldbike


Tales from the Missionary Hut: Worldbike

The Worldbike or cargo bike is the latest answer to the world’s transport needs. Never mind Luton vans, removal trucks or a container, moving home on a bike is perfectly possible. For the poorest parts of the world it’s just what they need. The Sustainable Living Advice Guru or S.L.A.G shows us how to make our own and move home with zero environmental impact. It’s a super solution, enthusiastically adopted out in the missionary hut by the Bono inspired NGO Hands on help for the poor.

Recommended links:

  • Worldbike: Mobility for Good website

Related topics: Spoofs

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Martyna said:

It is often questioned how helpful NGOs are in developing countries and this satirical documentary gives you one answer: it demonstrates them as patronising, offering them terrible short-term solutions. NGOs should be focusing on the long term solution to help the developing countries rather than offering laughable alternatives.

Daisy said:

When I was travelling through southern Africa I was constantly amazed by what people can put on the back of their bikes. Back in Holland I once interviewed two students who invented a cargo bike. Not quite as cheap as this one, but probably slightly more useful. To see the interview (with subtitles), click on this link

What I liked a lot about this video is the original way you address a more serious subject. It looks like one of those many self-help videos on Youtube, but manages to discuss a deeper problem concerning transportation and environment. It is good to see that Worldbytes can make videos that discus serious issues like immigration and the Fukushima disaster, as well as more lighthearted subjects like the DIY cargo bike. I believe it is important to offer that balance to get a great variety of viewers and to keep them interested on the long term.

Anastasia Brindley said:

I like the documentary, it’s makes you think. Although I don’t like that I can see a picture of Bono. I don’t like that guy. Always asking people to give money, yet didn’t he recently move his money to Switzerland to avoid getting taxed…? Hypocrite.



Simin Cox said:

I really enjoyed the way the boxes collapsed in a heap at the end,it was indicative of the whole ridiculous notion of the Worldbike being a solution to so many problems .The tapes and ropes used to support the obviously overloaded bike superbly represented the all to familiar insufficient patch and mend
solutions offered to combat serious problems in supposedly inferior countries .
The expression – you can not be serious springs to mind.

Tunde Ajala said:

I find this quite interesting because it shows how a simple idea can enhance the environment especially in places in Africa. This can help people spend less and also encourage people to not rely on diesel removal trucks.

Alex Smith said:

This is an amusing representation of cultural differences.

Kassandra Gordon said:

I really liked the humour in this. It definately show some people’s attitude to the ‘poor, helpless, waiting for our Bono saviour Africa’. This makes me question what development really is.

kelly said:

I really enjoyed this it reminded me of Blue Peter! Obviously there are real problems in Africa, that cannot be solved over night, but light humour is a good way of highlighting these issues without being to serious or patronising. Also i think it highlights just how ignorant some people are as there are still people out there who believe that Africa is full of mud huts and people with spears, but who is to say what is ‘normal,’ and what is not. What makes the western world so ‘civilised?’

Eleanor Harrington said:

haha great, was so glad she was health and safety compliant. It is true though in a’ country with relative wealth such things we take for granted like transport. To patronise the third world we see they should ‘help themselves’, yet this spoof is perfect for gently reminding us with what exactly? How can you move an entire house on a bike? Great concept to get a lot of ideas in a short space of time.

Aisha said:

PHHEEWW!!…is exactly how i felt at the end of that film. I genuinely had breathed a sigh of relief that this was not genuine. But just thinking that, i bet thats how people in African may feel when opinions and supposed proposals are imposed on them, however i don’t think that they get to breathe the same sign of relief as me, as for them its not joke. i have always thought comedy, for us, in the west is a great tool to highlights genuine problems around the world with the most potency. I guess it helps us take a secondary approach to the issue. With that in mind, its definitely no joke for those at the receiving end of this kinda of bafoonery, which is supposed to better there lives. Comedy always get my brain ticking, great clips, extremely funny which makes me quite uneasy….??

Kira said:

Very funny.

On a serious note, it’s ridiculous the “developed” world persist on forcing their way of living onto “developing” countries. It’s like they’re saying “until you think, act and live like us, you will always be a poor savage society in need”. Well maybe, the West should stop and ask what they want. If they want anything. Developing countries like Africa and India will never be like the West, simply because it’s not the West; the soil and forestation, their livestock, the fish that runs through their rivers, is different, as is their climate, so we have to respect things have to be done differently and not patronise them.

Their way of living does not limit their intelligence.

Charlotte said:

When I watched this video I was initially horrified, but thankfully the irony soon became apparant – which, judging by some of the comments, I’m not sure everybody realised!

This is a fantastic representation of Western attitudes towards developing countries and the ending to the film proves the point well – however well-meaning so many NGOs are, most ideas imposed on developing countries are ultimately ridiculous and insensitive. We need to stop patronising these countries and help them to grow in the way that THEY choose, and not the way we impose on them.

Congratulations WORLDwrite for making this film and I hope it helps to spread some sense throughout the West!

Fran said:

A very witty film, I particularly like the health and safety section. It provides a really useful springboard for discussing broader issues, in particular – what do we mean by development? A few things came to mind around this topic:

-The film is very timely given the recent Millennium Development Goal conference in New York. MDGs continue to promote a technocratic agenda, similar to Bono and the rest of his celebrity ‘do-gooder’ wannabes. In an ideal MDG-Bono partnership people would be loading their mosquito nets, portable water pumps and all those other magical objects that will give people a “simple healthy life”, into their bike removal ‘van’.

-The thing about development is that it’s relational. The West can only define itself as ‘developed’ if it’s in relation somewhere that is ‘underdeveloped’. This begs an important question – is the developed world proposing and imposing these inadequate MDG solutions to maintain the developing world in a constant state of ‘developing’ so that the West can continue to see itself as developed?

-Moving beyond criticism I think it’s important to contemplate alternative ways of understanding development. In the Bono model you are either a “developing bike owner” or a “developed car owner”; it draws up this false dichotomy between what does and doesn’t constitute ‘being developed’ and the symbols that come with these two supposedly distinct identities. Yet we only have to look to examples such as mobile phone banking in Kenya where you can own a phone, have a bank account and be a subsistence farmer. Bono wouldn’t allow this – it confuses the symbols that he uses to distinguish between developing and developed. In many Latin American countries recent years of multi-cultural reform have given historically marginalised indigenous groups unprecedented political representation. The message from these reforms is that we want ‘development’ but we want it our way. And if we want your advice, we’ll come and ask, don’t arrive out the front door with a supply unwanted, inappropriate and patronising packages.

Neeta said:

Adding a plank of wood to a bike is not a solution and it hardly even qualifies as an invention. The West need to stop patronising the poor. They may not have money but that doesn’t make them stupid and deserved of shoddy “solutions” like this.

Katja said:

Good satire and really funny.

I mean the first thing what was coming to mind was…how can somebody take this invention serious? I cant understand that high studied people and academics have such ideas to help in the third world. I mean it is a good thing that they want to help but it isnt simply the right way to do this. The people want actually what they want and not what others want for them as there is a differnce between what they need and what they want. That means they have the same aspirations and wishes that we have and they want not only something better but also the same standard that we have.

Soraz said:

Great satire of the dispicable & patronising solutions that are posited for the developing world especially by international NGOs. I saw a guy from Ghana on one of your other films say: “it’s astonishing that when they are sending rockets to the moon, they are at the same time busy preparing water pumps for Africa.” That sums up beautifully what is wrong with development today. Small-scale solutions because we somehow imagine that people living in developing countries do not have the same aspirations as us in the West. We imagine that they wouldn’t want to live in great cities with paved roads, proper infrastructure and well-built houses so they wouldn’t always be at the mercy of a even a relatively mild windy day. I can’t even ride a bike, yet I get by in life pretty well. If I ever learn, I’ll be using it for leisure purposes not to move my house on it. That’s how it should be!

Richard said:

As clearly viewed at the end of this clip, there are major safety risks to anyone asked to transport goods in such manner. But moreover, the idea is not without some ridiculous connotations as well as having the ability to offensive many. I question, what the Worldbike or cargo bike is suppose to resolve and how?

shoeless joe said:

I’m using a WORLDBIKE the next time i move!