Throughout my career, I had many unique flight experiences. The one that I’m going to share here is the Asian Games in 2018.
My team and I were heading to Indonesia for the Asian Games preparation. We had a long journey ahead of us. It took us more than 11 hours to reach Indonesia. After arriving in the country, we had to cover some distance by car and it took us around four hours to get to our destination.
It was 1 o’clock in the morning when we arrived and we found out that everybody was waiting for us - from the Indonesian Air Sports officials to the Asian Games organizers. They were waiting for us to see if we actually exist. By saying that, I mean they didn’t believe that Afghanistan had a paragliding team to join and compete in the Asian Games. They thought it was just a prank or something. They could not believe their eyes that we actually arrived - a group of 2 women and 3 men. They were also surprised that we had two women in our team who will compete in Asian Games!
After arriving at our hotel near the paragliding site, people from different countries came up to us and spoke to us. For most of them, it was shocking to know that Afghanistan has a paragliding team. Their common questions were “Is it safe to fly in Afghanistan?” “How’s the situation there?” “Do you practice paragliding in Afghanistan or in any other country?”
Unfortunately, most of them had a negative image of Afghanistan and they thought there was a war going on. But after speaking to us, it was very interesting for them to know that we practice in Afghanistan and it’s very safe to fly and do paragliding.
I am so happy and I feel fortunate that through paragliding and with the help of social media platforms, we get to meet people from different countries and we can project the positive image of Afghanistan to the world.