Day 8-Saying good-bye to many delegates and on our way to Shiraz!

By Amber Gilewski

Today was an emotional day for all of us. It was time to say good-bye to a majority of our delegation who had flights out to leave the scenic country of Iran. We gathered in the lobby of our hotel in Esfahan in the morning to share some warm memories of our past week together. We exchanged gifts and tears of joy and sorry at this parting. It was bittersweet to say the least! As we have noticed the Iranian people were much better at gift giving then we were. All of the delegates were given a beautiful embroidered bag with Iranian sweets and a stunning turquoise-colored plate in a protective case. How will we fit all of these great presents in our bags for our flight?

The rest of our delegation was on our way to cultural and historical sightseeing in Shiraz. We stopped at the Tomb of Cyrus the Great in the town of Fars. The first thing I noticed when we stepped off our bus was the thinness of the air, which makes sense at an elevation of 1919 meters or 6296 feet!  I also observed the magnificent and colorful clothing and decorations in this small town. We saw the remnants of a private palace. We learned that the Zoroastrian people buried their dead above the ground with their precious belongings. One of our delegates even took a camel ride donning a CODEPINK peace with Iran banner! After touring the Tomb of Cyrus we visited a small tea house across the street and talked to a woman who worked there about how the sanctions were affecting her. She said that she used to be able to afford to buy a car and now she can’t even afford to buy a refrigerator. Although the effects of the sanctions may not always be obvious just from looking, if you dig beneath the surface and ask people the right questions, you’ll find how U.S. policies are negatively affecting the Iranian people.

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