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‘I am the daughter of the desert’: Saudi woman’s journey from Riyadh to Jeddah on camel connects past to present

MAKKAH: Saudi camel owner Rasha Al-Qurashi embarked on a 14-stop journey from Riyadh to Jeddah on Sept. 1 after she had vowed six months earlier to ride her camel there if she lost the race at the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival.

Al-Qurashi, the first woman to participate in the women’s round at the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, told Arab News that her decision stemmed from a desire to preserve Saudi heritage and encourage future generations to learn about the country’s culture.

She also aspires to enter the Guinness World Records as the first woman to travel such a distance by camel after the introduction of cars in the country.

Her journey is expected to end on Saudi National Day, on Sept. 23.

“This is the seventh day of my journey, and I am on the outskirts of Qassim,” she said of the province that will be her fifth stop. The 14th stop will be Jeddah, her destination.

Her tent has attracted a good deal of attention, especially from the elderly, who see in it a glimpse of the past.

Al-Qurashi said that elderly women have been visiting her and giving her directions and advice on how to cope with the scorching heat.

On her mission for this journey, she said: “I am the daughter of the desert. I was raised on camels, which I inherited from my family, and I seek to prove that women can participate in camel breeding, as they are capable of taking part in all fields and succeeding.”

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