Brenda bids farewell to TRC

Brenda and Masi at the Training Centre

Like so many people around the globe, I find myself mourning life as I have known it for the past two years, as retreat manager at TRC. I enter a new and uncertain chapter, due to the Corona virus. It has left me, and many others, without our jobs and has brought a great deal of uncertainty as to what the future holds.

I find myself having to let go and take a leap of faith. As I say good-bye to the wonderful supportive staff, volunteers and other residents here at TRC, and my faithful canine companion Jock, I realize that they have become like family to me. I find myself trying: to be convinced that everything happens for a reason; to practice non-attachment; to accept things the way they are; and to see that aversion and attachment are causes of suffering. Of course, it is easier said than done!

We have had to cancel all of the retreats and close the main site, due to the lockdown. Many of the facilitators who usually hold their retreats here are now doing their teachings online. This seems to be becoming a new trend and I do wonder what awaits us in the future? I truly believe it is a huge lesson for all us to wake up and to take better care of the earth, all sentient beings and each other. I now wait, like so many others, for the restrictions to be lifted so that I am able to travel back to the Cape.

The Buddha’s Teachings

I reflect on the teachings of the Buddha, of how everything is always changing, and how much I have learnt during the two years I have spent here at TRC. It was an amazing opportunity I have been given, all the beautiful people I have met and all the wonderful l friends I made and the privilege of being able to attend retreats with some incredible teachers. I even got to live in a beautiful straw bale house, which was always one of my dreams, surrounded by open space and fresh clean air.

I have been feeling rather lost without any sense of purpose as I had become so comfortable in my role as retreat manager. While taking care of all our visitors, doing my best to make them feel at home and comfortable and to make their experience here at TRC as memorable and enjoyable as possible as they got to experience and share this truly magical place.

Fortunately the permaculture site and the training centre are still up and running, as they have funding from Rokpa International and do not depend on their income from retreats. Masi is super busy with her Power House project; they have almost completed the renovations of the house. She is busy training new young community leaders and doing her community work with the people of Rietvaly.

Visiting Rietvaly with Masi

I am so grateful to Masi, as I suspect she sensed how lost I have been feeling. She offered to take me with her team to do a photo story of the community and the slate quarries, which this area is well known for. We followed the protocol of wearing our masks and social distancing.

I have been here for almost two years yet had never been to Rietvaly. I am so pleased to have been given the opportunity to go and meet this amazing, warm community and to be able to share and capture a day in their lives. It is truly uplifting to see what they are doing and what Masi has planned for them. She is such a bright shining light and inspiration to all of us and the more time I spend with her, I can see why the young people love to be around her and her positive energy. She is a true bodhisattva and such a gift to all of us.

So as I bid farewell to TRC and the wider TRC community that I have been blessed to be a part of, I would like to share some of images with all of you, with Masi’s permission.

In deepest gratitude.



Rietvaly Community Photos