Harvesting mint on Damavand. // Photo Jon Snyder.

Sunday was the day before we flew back home. We spent the day driving to Damavand Mountain, the 18,000 foot peak a couple hours northeast of Tehran. The day was very cloudy, so we weren’t able to catch a good view of the peak, but we still had fun traveling and picking volcanic mint in the fog. In the evening there was an emotional farewell party with good food, friends and much exchanging of gifts.

We are back home now, but I am still a long ways away from fully processing this trip. I am thinking long and hard about the relationship between our two countries. I am overwhelmed by the friendship and hospitality we received in Iran. Even though there is bad blood between our governments the Iranians we encountered look upon Americans in a positive and hopeful way. Shahrokh thinks that despite everything that America still represents freedom to most Iranians.

I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone in Spokane and Iran who donated time or money to help make this trip possible. Without that effort it would have been difficult to bring the boys, which made all the difference for the trip. Their worldview has changed. So has ours. Look for an article in the June issue of OTM and for presentations and a short documentary hopefully later in the year.


Nasim and Jafar.


Abandoned building near Damavand.


The going away party.


Sunrise over Tehran 5:30AM on the ride to the Tehran airport Monday morning. The triangle profile on the left is Damavand Mountain–which was obscured by clouds the day before.