Do you ever question what popular news media have to say about what’s going on in other parts of the world?
This is a story of a woman I met on a train in Iran and a letter she wrote to me — a letter I now read through tears.
My heart sank as I watched the news from Iran this morning, scenes of the British Embassy being charged by an angry mob in Tehran. It saddens me – angers me, really – that narrow groups like this who define the world’s perception of Iran and the Iranian people are in reality such a small percentage of the country's population.
My experience tells me they are the outliers, yet circumstances conspire to convince us on the outside to see them as the norm.
This is a very short story about music. In Iran.
I dont know that I've ever been so happy — or oddly surprised — to hear Stevie Wonder in my entire life.
I should explain.
What does it feel like to travel to Iran, to fly into the country for the first time? Here’s the story of our flight to Tehran including some things you might expect, and some others you might not.
Destination: TEHRAN. I ogle my boarding pass at the departure gate in Istanbul. We bought the tickets months before, all easy enough. So easy in fact that we wondered if the day of our flight would actually ever come; a rejected visa application snatching it all away in a breath.
But our Iranian visas were approved and there we were waiting to board a plane — our plane — to Tehran.
We offer the following slideshow of girls we've met during our around the world travels in support of The Girl Effect, an organization whose goal is to promote awareness of girls’ issues around the world and to highlight the benefits of investing in girls as a means to poverty alleviation, better public health and community development.
Oh, if our passports could talk! A quick look at the numbers and some stories and lessons behind my newly-fattened American passport.
On occasion, we are fortunate enough to have an experience or conversation that sends chills for its human quality. Our time with Zikra Initiative and the women of Ghor al Mazra’a in Jordan was one such experience.
From the moment I passed into the courtyard, Um Atallah took control and led me to a seat on the ground near her. Two other women swapped their attention between their work and us, offering encouraging smiles. These were the women of Ghor al Mazra’a near Jordan's Dead Sea. And for a few hours, they shared a bit of their lives with us.
In Jordan, I spent a lot of time with men. Not only did my immediate company consist of men (our driver and host were both men and I had Dan by my side), but many of our in-home social and cultural experiences were dominated by them, too. Tea and coffee in Bedouin tents was served by and among men, dinners in homes — outside of some interactions with the women of the house – were largely a male affair.
Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy spending time with men and learning about their world, but I also look forward to sharing time with women so that I may get a glimpse into their lives and appreciate their work.
And so I did in Jordan. And for me, three stories stood out. The women I met and their pride as individuals, as mothers, and as breadwinners left an impression on me.
For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
We often share stories of ordinary people who humble us by showing resilience and kindness in the face of challenges. In doing so, we highlight the positive — so much so that you might be thinking: “Do these guys only run into good people on their travels? Is the world really like that? Are all people around the world really that good?”
Not always. Sometimes you meet people who grind you to the edge.
And then, you must find your way back.