Meet Brenna, one of the most beautiful
people I know.
As I said, we first got to know Brenna as a babysitter, but she soon became my yoga instructor, my push to get back on two wheels, and my nutritional advisor, whose tips I still keep in mind. But Brenna was meant for bigger things. In 2010, Brenna started volunteering with the Shanti Uganda Society, a group helps support the women in Uganda, and empower them through midwifery, entrepreneurship and a variety of other areas. Brenna's goal from then on was to go to Uganda and be a part of this amazing group on the ground. Should that not be a big enough challenge, being one who loves travelling on two wheels, her bicycle would have to be an integral part of the journey.
|Brenna after the trek to Winnipeg. In her words,|
"changed, and so inspired."
My family and I followed her journey all along the way through her blog, mooncycleafrica.ca, and her Facebook updates, Coralie being so excited to see what new place Brenna had reached. During her travels, she experienced so many new places, cultures and foods, all would inspire her greatly. She also gained some very important insight into travelling alone as a young woman. She learned not to be fearful because she wasn't with a man, that she was completely capable on her own, and grew the confidence to ask people for help when she needed it, which many were all too willing to give.
I had asked a seemingly silly question about such a long and eventful journey. What was her favourite part? Of course as soon as I asked it, I realized it was a very loaded question, but Brenna being such a thoughtful person, took a moment, and told me about various parts of the whole journey that made each country special, but Botswana held a dear place in her memories of her trip. Here is an excerpt from her blog from Christmas 2011:
"Yesterday – Christmas – I didn’t feel much like riding. My body was tired, aching for a rest, and moving any quicker than 12 km/hour seemed impossible. In addition, the wind was coming from the North East again – yep, where my nose points! By mid day, the temperature was a scorching 40 degrees Celsius , and maybe even hotter with the humidity! But it was Christmas, and I had to get to Maun!
|Roadside goats in Botswana|
So, instead of feeling frustrated, which would have been easy to do, I decided to just enjoy the peacefulness of a leisurely ride. I started to appreciate and wonder about the different elements of life in Botswana: Waif looking goats and cattle lazily grazing beside the road, donkeys skittishly bolting into the bush when they notice me, and – and this is unique to Botswana; I did not find this in any other country so far – entire skeletons of horses and cows laying perfectly intact in the field, possibly in the exact same position as when they had passed.
It’s strange, but there is something very beautiful and perfect about these elements of Botswana. I feel a total acceptance and embracing of the circle of life here. There is so much vitality: green grass and animals running free. There are few fences but no one seems to be running away. Death seems to be accepted as much as life, and the animals are able to return to the earth exactly as nature intended. Every butterfly, beetle, animal and grain of sand has it’s purpose here, and yesterday, I eventually allowed myself to become lost in the bigger picture, which was a really beautiful thing.
‘Uh oh,’ I thought, as I snapped out of my dreamy state. ‘I think I’m starting to fall in love with Botswana!’"
|Brenna's bike, Topanga, resting in Egypt|
"I will be a person who is loved by my best girlfriends, my brother and sister, my cousins, nieces and nephews, my kids and grandchildren and the people in the community where I am working. When I am 80, I would like them to toast to my commitment, my heart and courage, and to my faith and positivity."