August 29, 2003

La Prensa Persa

Editors Note: The biweekly column of La Prensa Persa (The Persian Press), is an opportunity for members of the middle-eastern communities to communicate and talk about the many issues facing them, immigration law, civil and constitutional rights to name a few, which not only impact that community but also impact the Hispanic community.

Fly with Poupeh in the Name of Love!

By Kathy Hadizadeh

Every one of us has some dreams. Dreams that lie somewhere in those hidden corners of our soul like a sacred statue. We look at them, worship them and even sometimes talk about them. But there are not many of us who go for their dreams and plan to achieve them. That is what makes a distinct line between “daydreamers” and “real world success” examples.

“Poupeh Mahdavi Nader” is definitely one of the brilliant examples of success. Poupeh is the first woman cyclist going round the world with this motto: “In the name of love, friendship and global peace”.

Poupeh, born in 1973 in Tehran started his bike journey on April 10th 2003. She plans to cover 10 countries by March 2004. Based on her itinerary she covers: Italy, France, England, United States, Japan, New Zealand, China, India, Oman and Saudi Arabia. The summit of her travel plan is taking pilgrimage to Mecca and performing Hajj rituals in Saudi Arabia as a Muslim as the final stage.

Biking is not the only activity that Poupeh is planning for. She plans to climb the summits of four mountains in her journey: Mont Blanc (4801m) in France, Monaca (4201m) in the United States, Fujiyama (3776 m) in Japan and Mont Kook (3764m) in New Zealand.

What makes Poupeh go for all these besides her personal enjoyment? She has some set of goals that she wants to adhere to them:

1. Gathering support and raising funds for orphaned children and the needy.

2. Communicating with the women, girls and youth in the countries to be visited and bringing their message to the women, girls and youth in Iran.

3. Observing the manifestations of God in nature.

Poupeh comes from Iran. An Islamic country in which women are required to cover their hair by law, and wear certain outfit, which results in restricting their sportive activities.Yet, this has not stopped Poupeh from her activities all these years. She started mountain climbing in 1992 and has climbed all the major mountains of Iran individually or on group trips. To name some: Damavand (5671 m), Alam Kooh (4650 m) and Sabalan (4811 m). She has a brown belt in martial arts that equips her with self defense and full contact if required. The list goes on with swimming, volleyball and horseback riding.

In a country that women have difficulty traveling alone as the hotels will not let them have rooms if they travel alone, Poupeh has traveled mostly on foot in different parts, especially rural and mountainous regions. The rural people in Iran are extremely kind and hospitable. Poupeh had stayed at nights with these people and has enjoyed their company.

She flew from London after biking in Italy, France, England, and United States. Poupeh is now biking in US. She arrived in Boston on July 30th and last news was that she plans to arrive in New York on August 20th.

Poupeh does not let you wonder much about where she is and what she is doing. She enjoys communicating with people as a major part of her journey and she does not let her supporters feel deserted. You can read her daily notes both in Farsi and English on her personal website: (http://www.mahdvainader.com). You can also see a great number of photos she has taken during her trip. The messenger of Peace at this time of terror and war takes your hand and makes you fly. Fly with her, to observe all she has seen, to experience how her belief in God, the Almighty has helped her to do what no other female has done on this globe.

One of the most interesting points in her notes is when she thanks God for getting a visa. Poupeh writes: “My trip has gone very well up to now even though it was not sponsored by any particular company. The truth is that I had no official letter or backing from any foreign or Iranian organization and God has showed me that He himself is the best supporter of all: I was able to get a Shingle visa during war time and, even more incredible, an American visa. The American Consulate informed me last week that they have got a reply from Washington and told me to send my passport to have the visa stamped on it. They’d said that Iranians must wait at least one month to get an answer, but they were cooperative with me and I got mine in two weeks, thank God.”

I have no doubt that Poupeh will cover her trip itinerary as she has planned. I will continue reading her notes till she comes to Los Angeles. It will be an honor for me to visit a person who achieved her dream through planning and strong belief.

Poupeh! Good luck with your trip and your goals! You have the strongest support of all times in your heart: your faith in God and that is what counts most.

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