SMELLS LIKE SOMETHING GOOD
Dolce Magazine|Spring 2021
When Barb Stegemann’s friend Trevor Greene signed up with the Canadian Armed Forces because he wanted to help women in Afghanistan, she wanted to go, too. She couldn’t. But, when Greene was brutally attacked, Stegemann told him simply, “Don’t worry, I will take up the cause.” This is the story of how she poured her heart and soul into this new mission, achieving something far greater than either of them could ever have imagined — persuading farmers in Afghanistan and war-torn countries around the world to start growing flowers to make essential oil for perfumes
DONNA PARIS

‘‘YOU HAVE TO GET MAD FIRST, THEN YOU JUST THINK ABOUT IT AND CALM DOWN AND TAKE A BATH, THEN HAVE A NAP, AND YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND WILL GIVE YOU ALL THE ANSWERS YOU NEED ‘‘

When someone believes in you, encourages you and supports you, you don’t ever forget it. Barb Stegemann certainly didn’t. And when her family moved to Antigonish, N.S., from Quebec in the ’70s, her life changed. “I come from a very humble background,” she says. “We were on welfare, we had a few things, but mostly we went without. We were bullied, and I think that made me a risk-taker, because I never had anything to lose.”

All Stegemann knew was that she wanted to study philosophy and journalism at university, and when she was accepted at University of King’s College in Halifax, she was over the moon. She showed up with a knapsack, five bucks and no sheets for her bed. But when she met Trevor Greene, he became a mentor to her. “He took me under his wing and changed my life,” she says.

When Greene signed up with the Canadian Armed Forces, he just wanted to help women. But in 2006, a Taliban fighter put an axe through his head, and Greene was lucky to come home alive. He spent two years in a hospital being rehabilitated. And for many days Stegemann was there, along with his wife, Debbie, and his daughter, Grace. “I witnessed this strong man, now unable to move,” says Stegemann. Since then, Greene’s recovery has been nothing less than remarkable. “Whatever happens, you have to make sure that your best friend’s life is not in vain, and that became my priority, because so much was taken from him,” she adds.

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