Getting Around Ithaca
Last month, Nga was referred to ISP for services since she had recently emigrated from Vietnam to the US and needed assistance in getting enrolled in ESL classes, applying for health insurance and obtaining a social security number. Nga’s husband, a former Vietnamese refugee who resettled in the US in the mid 1980’s, accompanied her to the appointment.
During our first meeting, the couple asked if we could help them get bicycles; the day was hot and after walking across town, they felt wiped out. Nga’s husband explained how “it’s hard for us to get around Ithaca so we want to ride bikes.” He continued, “everyone in Vietnam rides bikes – that’s what we’re used to. No one can afford to buy a car, we all ride bikes.” It’s true, motorbikes are so popular in Vietnam, that the city of Hanoi actually hopes to ban them by 2030. The couple didn’t want motorbikes though, they were looking to pedal.
In order to see if we could find them some bikes, we reached out to Emily, a volunteer with Ithaca Welcomes Refugees who is great at helping us out with our random requests. Emily then reached out to the folks at RIBs – Recycle Ithaca’s Bicycles – a program run by Southside Community Center that refurbishes and redistributes bikes in Ithaca. As a result, Nga and her husband received the bikes and helmets pictured above, free of charge. Now the couple can be seen biking on one of Ithaca’s designated bicycle boulevards as they run errands around town. On behalf of Nga and her husband, we wanted to extend a heartfelt thanks to both Emily from IWR and the folks at RIBs.