bicycle frames are usually made out of materials like carbon fiber, steel or aluminum. but in rural ghana, a businessman has developed another way to make bicycles from a natural product -- bamboo.
bamboo does not get much respect in ghana. farmers think of bamboo as an unwanted plant that needs to be cleared from their land. construction workers use it to support buildings while they are being built.
but kwabena danso thinks bamboo is much more valuable. he operates a business called booomers international. his company makes bicycle frames out of bamboo. the wooden bike parts are sent from mr. danso's village to other countries, including germany, the netherlands and australia.
kwabena danso says bamboo can help a country like ghana in many ways. he says he wants to, in his words, "get the people to know that there's a great advantage to bamboo."
young men from nearby villages come to work at booomers international. they sand, glue and connect the bamboo frames. the company makes about 50 of the bicycle frames each month. the bamboo is grown locally. the glue to hold the parts together is made of flour from the cassava plant.
mr. danso says booomers international provides good jobs to young men like abdul razak. he serves as a foreman or supervisor for the company. mr. razak says that without this job, he would still be living at home with his parents. he adds that the job helps him a lot.
kwabena danso has sold only a few of his bamboo bicycle frames within ghana. walter kudzodzi is one of his customers. he bought a bicycle earlier this year. mr. kudzodzi says his bike gets a lot of attention when he rides around his neighborhood.