I have always bicycled around the city and embarked on multiple eco-adventures. That was how I found that the train was no longer working, and an idea that wobbled in my head awakened. On January 2, 2017 I decided that I would start that trip I wanted so much to do. Without many preparations and without wanting to prove anything to anyone, I went south looking for my north.
The idea? To know the routes, the landscapes, the history of the train and experience the adventures that it could bring, in addition to making an audiovisual record and learn about the state of the tracks. During my trip there were no major difficulties, but they were many deviations due to impenetrable undergrowth that had taken over some sectors. Without a doubt it was a great journey that I will never forget, and it was one of the most important decisions in my life.
Thousands of people joined me, literally, in each moment of the unforgettable route. It was amazing to receive so many messages of support. I realized that I was not the only crazy dreamer, but there are many other crazy people like me who joined this trip encouraging me to think that the dream of building the longest bike ride in South America could become a reality.
It was the energy and communication of all those with whom I talked during my trip that made me realize the opportunities and benefits that the bike path can bring for the communities along its route. It is a golden opportunity to facilitate access to quality education for thousands of young Paraguayans who now face multiple challenges to get to school. As more people, communities, enterprises and governments get involved in this type of activities, the benefits will multiply. The first one, for example, being a sustainable, safe and healthy alternative so that young people can go to school.
Recently, I learned that the Paraguayan Ministry of is going to finance an extension of the school day, but for the children to access these higher quality centers and receive all the contents that the school can offer them, it is necessary that they have the adequate infrastructure to be able to reach their schools.
Therefore, in support of this type of initiatives that encourage greater mobility and access to schools, this weekend I participated with 80 Paraguayan youth in an Innovation JAM organized by Scholas, KOGA, the Ministry of Education, and the National Secretariat of Information and Communication Technologies with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The challenge? Promote students’ creative thinking to find a safe, ecological and social solution to the problem of student mobility.
Looking closely at our youth, who are motivated to find solutions that benefit others in their communities, confirms that they are committed. We only have to guide them in their pursue of their great goals.
Now comes the most difficult part of the journey, keep the enthusiasm of the people alive and strengthen coordination among all state agencies, private sector and organized civil society to overcome obstacles in the way. This is an unprecedented venture in Paraguay, but I am convinced that it can be achieved
Author of the entry: Jerónimo Buman is a cyclist and an audiovisual professional who decided to cycle the train tracks from Asunción to Encarnación in Paraguay. His journey led to the creation of the longest bike path in the region. Based on his initiative, he is promoting local development and new mobility models.