Mountain 2 Mountain | VideoKristin Clouston | 2/26/2013
Whoever thought a girl from Bismarck would end up traveling to some of the most dangerous places in the world?
"And for the past five years, I`ve been working in Afghanistan essentially because it`s the worst place in the world to be a woman," Galpin said.
She started by visiting women prisoners
"Jailed under morality crimes. They were maybe victims of rape and jailed as adulteresses so a male family member could save face. Some with prostitution charges. Many were trying to escape arranged marriages."
Galpin says the women eagerly told her their stories,
"My understanding of it was that someone cared enough to hear them and that story would live on outside the confines of the prison."
Getting their stories out gave the women power over what had happened to them
"And that became the whole thread of everything going forward."
Since then she has ridden her bike, which she calls a vehicle for empowerment, to mountain villages, and on a 140 mile ride across the country,
"It`s a country where women aren`t allowed to bicycle. You won`t see any women riding bikes to school or to and from work."
Galpin can ride a bike because she`s a foreigner.
"The Afghan men treat foreign women typically as equal, as honorary men. And so I sit and work and eat with the men and then have access to women."
Women she hopes will some day be able to join her
"It`s your own transportation, it builds your strength, it is the symbol of freedom, that men don`t want women to be doing."
Galpin is going back to Afghanistan to film a documentary on the country`s women`s cycling teams. The women practice in the very early morning when its still dark, but Galpin says it could be a good way for them to represent their country in the near future.
Galpin is launching a sister program here in the states this summer. She`s speaking tonight at 7:30 in the BSC Sidney J. Lee auditorium.