mmegi, 15 February 2013, Vol.30 No.24 page 54
Furtemba Sherpa, a cyclist from Nepal, located between India and china, arrived in Botswana on Wednesday. He leaves tomorrow. While in Botswana, Sherpa plans to meet the media.
Sherpa has been cycling around the world since 2003 advocating world peace and environmental protection. He is hopeful that this will encourage people to use their bicycle instead of automobiles. Sherpa has travelled through 89 countries so far and witnessed great pain and sufferings amongst people due to war and oppression; and of families torn apart by their countries' ideological differences. "Insecurities have led people to distrust and lose harmony with each other," he laments. Throughout his odyssey, Sherpa carries Lord Buddha's peace flag from his birthplace Lumbini, Nepal.
Being from a country with Hindu Dominance, I got aroused to know about an unexpected presence of Hindu Society in Botswana. Since my tour of 17 countries in Africa, I have been to various places of Christian, Buddhist and Muslim devotion that worked for the development and upliftment of specific religions. Although I met many Hindus on my way, I never had a chance to be in a Hindu organized community gathered together for the same purpose. I was convinced of not finding any. Dr. Ravi Shrestha informed about a Hindu Community in Botswana known as Botswana Hindu Society. Surprised and Curious, I made a plan to visit it at least once. By saying this, I don’t mean to get distracted from my belief that every religion should be taken together to have peace and harmony in the world.
Back in Kathmandu, I remember the time when I had not started my journey to the world. Then, the craze towards automobiles had just started. As a convenient, comfortable and quick tool motorbikes were common and car was also seen often. I had just started my life in the bustling city of Kathmandu with tight time schedule. And automobile could have been my good assistance. Unlike others, I did not quit my attachment with bicycle. The passion I had with my bicycle did not reduce but my concern to the environment increased. And the same passion is the only reason I have successfully pedaled the distance of 91213 Km to 88 countries in the world spreading the message of Peace and Environmental Protection.
South Africa is the land of peaceful warriors and it is a glory to share their message of peace as a world tour cyclist. Saying peaceful warriors, I literally mean the warriors who fought the war by non violent measures.
Nelson Mandela is the most respected person in South Africa. The Nobel Peace Prize (1993) winner is also an honorable asset to the world. He is a man with a strong compassion, dignity and will power because of which he was successful to establish an equitable world for his people. 28 years of prison did not affect his strength but built him as an advocate for Human right, against poverty and inequality. He was the key to abolish apartheid and develop a peaceful, free society. His step towards social Justice and reducing HIV AIDS is always praised.
On 1953, Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir, Edmund Hilary made the day ‘May 29’ historic for the world after stepping on the top of the world- Mount Everest. And on 2003, ‘May 29 Memorial Trust’ made 25th of December historic for me. I was ready to get farewell from the president Mingma Tshiri Sherpa for my 17 years of world bicycle tour. Now, I am proud to inform you that it’s already been 9 years since that day.
As every year, Jingle bell rang to give the warmth of joy to the world. Santa in his red and white outfit came to boost enthusiasm, peace and harmony. We, staying in South Africa were no exception to this.
‘Time Flies’ and it flew taking me very near to the door to completion of my 9 year of tour. It feels like yesterday in Uganda when we celebrated eighth year.
From Jinja, where the river Nile started; I started my ninth year. Like in various parts; the river Nile is no exception in deterioration by logging and mining. I was upset by the careless behavior towards environment and shared in my previous stories too. Mount Kilimanjaro was fascinating in Tanzania. Feeling the warmth of Malawi, passing through Victoria Lake was ravishing. And it would be my worst effort to explain the terrifying beauty of the gigantic Victoria Falls.
Moving slowly like a snail, I have my bicycle as my shell. It feels like a sailor in the midst of an ocean while I travel alone in the midst of my journey. Along the sea shore, middle of the jungle, desolate barren lands; I feel lonely. The only thing that accompanies me is my 8.5 feet bicycle, my luggage and flags of countries I visited.
On my journey, it is the first time I tarried this long. 70 days of idleness is annoying and frustrating for me. It was only the visa I was waiting and I was unaware about the whereabouts. I was given a code to check the processing description and I was unable to retrieve any information from it.
8:30 in the morning of 29th November, I was in a microbus for my 13th visit to immigration. A message tone rang on my mobile which said my application had been finalized and I need t collect my documents. I didn’t actually understand what the message meant. Whatever it meant, I was on my way to Embassy. Dilemma on my head weather the visa was refused or granted; I was anxious. On acceptance, I could move ahead on my journey and on Denial, I should return back to Nepal and restart the journey.
हट्यो सारा हिलो मैलो, हरायो पानिको बर्षा
भवानीको भयो पूजा, चल्यो सानन्दको बर्षा
“Slowly the cool shower of rain vanished breaking the bond of dirt and dust and with it came the auspicious moment where the almighty blesses her devotees after the humble worshipping she was offered”.
Oh yes! I am talking about Dashain. Generally accepted as a biggest festival of Nepal, the above cited poem by Lekhnath Poudel fully expresses the joy and excitement it brings in the heart of Nepalese.