I posted a story about the Afghani women’s cycling teamto my Facebookpage a couple of days ago and cannot get the story out of my head. These women challenge all sorts of societal taboos when they rise each morning and head out on their morning ride, not sure if they’re going to make it home intact….everyday! I guess on some level, no one knows if they’re going to make it home alive, but it’s not something that daily and actively enters our consciousness. There’s an inherent trust in the world we’ve built for ourselves and an understanding that should something happen it’s liable to be a random occurrence, an aberration at best in an otherwise safe and secure society! Not so for these young women who brave insults and risk of physical attack to train for international competitions.
“Afghans rise early, and many of them are still scandalised to see a woman in sports kit speeding past on a racing bike. The Afghan women’s cycling team know this because, as the traffic swells towards the end of their morning training at around seven, men and boys start hurling insults and sometimes stones or chunks of rubbish at the women as they ride past.” The Guardian, October 25th, 2014
I’m so struck by what these women have accomplished, mentally and emotionally in a community and society that deems them second-class citizens, unworthy in almost every aspect of life. And here in my comfortable home we whine and moan about our first world problems…..adolescent attitude, my futile weight loss efforts, shuttling kids to there innumerable activities….you get my drift. And then boom, an article that makes my entire world tilt!
And I ask myself, why this article and not Malalaor the stories of African women overcoming obscene societal hurdles, or the bandit queen in India??? Well, I’m not really sure. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been doing a lot of whining and moaning about hopping back into the saddle with my writing, with exercising, with a whole heap of things?? This article shocked me into my “right mind” I suppose. I want to have such courage, I want to have that level of dedication, determination, drive, incredible bravery, passion and fearlessness in overcoming societal taboos. Seems it comes and goes in fits and starts for me, but these amazing women do it everyday!!
If you’re interested, check out Mountain2Mountainand get involved in some small way. This organization provides support to women and girls in high conflict regions. Shannnon Galpin believes that “Bikes equal freedom of movement and independent travel. They are a cheap and accessible way for women to get to schools and hospitals, and they make it harder for men to attack them.”
So join Mood Indigo in supporting these brave and courageous women!