Distance: 122 kms
Average speed:: 33.2 km/h
Average H/R:: 138 bpm
Ascent:: 547 m
Total Distance: 219 kms
Day two of our A21 freedom challenge is completed. It’s a little painful to think it is only day 2!! It was a great ride today but was not exactly easy. We have been keeping a pretty solid pace so far.
As we rode out of Pirot this morning we came into some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen with my own eyes. A stunning combination of greenery & rockery; vertical cliff faces; gorges; tunnels; it was amazing.
In the initial plan for the day there were 2 major climbs but (thankfully) we somehow missed them. It was looking like a blessing in disguise but it was later countered by realizing we added an extra 15kms to the ride.
Serbia is a very interesting place. Beautiful natural scenery in places; war torn in others; but definitely visually captivating.
Something that impacted me today was when we stopped at a truck stop for some food. Our Kiwi-South-African-Israeli-Security man Joey, who is an absolute legend, spoke with a truck driver who told him that if we wanted girls, we just need to go into this place.
The thing that got me is how easy it is to be completely oblivious to it all. What is it about our human make up that causes us to be so wrapped up in our own world at times that we are blind to all that is happening around us? We can be so consumes with our own problems and concerns and be totally unaware of the hurt; pain; suffering; hardship of people around us.
Philippians 2:3-4 tells us “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
To sign off today, I wanted to share Sofia’s story with you. Sofia, from Albania, was 40 KG when she arrived at the A21 shelter. She had been trapped in a brothel for over a year, used and abused in unthinkable ways. Starved! She was shaking and crying non-stop when she arrived, and would not look anyone in the eyes. If anyone got too close to her or tried to hug her, she would cringe. Today – after a couple of months in A21's care, she has gained 5 kg, her abused body is healing, she is smiling and laughing because she has found HOPE again, and she loves hugs. Her dream is to become a physiotherapist.
I pray that we all are becoming more aware of human trafficking in our world today. Sofia’s story is just one of tens of millions around the world. We can make a difference; we can bring hope & life & freedom to people in this world.
For more information and to support Ben on the A21 Freedom Challenge, please visit thea21campaign.org/cycle/fundraising