Local bands and ex-pat cyclist team up to help

Brenna Coupland, a former Winnipegger living in Vancouver, is looking to change the lives of 28 HIV positive women living in Uganda by cycling half way across country and raising $10 000 while doing so.

The funds are being raised for the Shanti Uganda Society’s Women Income Generating group, 28 women who are trained in textile and jewellery in the Luweero district of Uganda.

According to Coupland, this group of women supports roughly 108 children.

Along with being trained on how to form long-term and short-term business goals Coupland added that, “ with the $10 000, these women will be able to open savings accounts, keep their children in school, and support themselves and their families for the year.”

Along with the massive bike trip, Coupland is holding an event titled “Mosaic of Peace” on April 30 at Mondragon Bookstore and Coffeehouse. Coupland has been able to organize the event from Vancouver, as she has a strong base of supporters in “The Peg.”

“I’m totally thrilled by the response!”

Scheduled to perform at the fundraiser are local acts including punks Seconds from Disaster and alt-folk troubadour J.R. Hill, amongst others.

“I am lucky to have a group of amazing friends who are very much involved in the scene and were able to connect me with some enthusiastic, young talent that were interested in being involved with the show,” said Coupland.

“It’s so touching to see musicians offering their time and music for a charity that’s on the other side of the ocean, I’ve been able to connect with the performers via email and have only heard a few of their songs on their MySpace pages, but I can already tell it’s going to be a great show.“
Coupland explained that the idea to start her own bike trek formed after she had found out the charity she was originally supposed to cycle for endorsed animal testing and that “something didn’t feel right,” even though the charity would have provided her with shelter and food along the way.

“I decided to create my own bike trek, which would help support a cause I felt totally passionate about, and simultaneously allow me to accomplish one of my dreams to bike across Canada.”
Coupland said that the future of The Moon Cycle is current undecided but that it will continue, “I would ideally like to see a bit more of Canada on my bike, and eventually have crossed the entire Trans Canada Highway and maybe even travel up to the northern territories.”
She continued, “In either the summer of 2011 or 2012, I’d like to plan “The Moon Cycle” round 2, and go from Winnipeg to the Maritime Provinces. Also, at some point within the next 2 years, I’d also like to spend two months volunteering for Shanti in Uganda.”

As far as the trip goes Coupland added there is still a lot to do, “I’m still looking for lots of support throughout the route; whether that be food, accommodation, or random parties along the highway as I come through, anything and everything will be much appreciated.”
When asked to describe the process thus far Coupland said it has been “inspired, grateful, anticipating and busy.”

“Mosaic of Peace” takes place at 7:00 PM, on April 30 at Mondragon. Admission is by donation. For information on The Moon Cycle, go to shantiuganda.org