Some really happy news from two friends I met while living in Nepal last year that I must share with you. Despite the earthquakes, the Nepalese still have time to celebrate life, love and beginnings.
If you have been following this blog since I first went off on my year of mid-life enlightenment, you will have heard lots about Ram Bahadur Tamang, the brave young man who inspired so many (including me) on his Wheelchair Yaatra. Check out all my previous posts on the Yaatra Yaatra. I mention this because Ram has been featured on Stories of Nepal and here is his story.
This is an extract from the Stories of Nepal publication:
“At 14, tired of seeing the suffering at home, I ran away to Kathmandu and found work at a carpet factory. Life was no better. We were treated like slaves and even beaten. Somehow, I escaped from there and ended up in the streets, sleeping inside sacks. People would call me mad, a beggar. My clothes were really worn out and I wouldn’t retaliate. But you know what hunger does. I somehow found work at another carpet factory. One day I messed up a design and as I was redoing it, I lost an eye to the sewing knife. Lost and angry, I returned home. I had turned 17 or 18 and so I got married. Now, I had added responsibility. Once again, I returned to Kathmandu and worked as a coolie carrying vegetables. I toiled for 3 years carrying and selling vegetable in the morning and laying bricks during the day. One day a fellow worker, suggested we go to Khasa for a break. On our way back the bus we were on fell to the river and I broke my spinal cord which rendered half my body paralyzed. After a few months at the rehabilitation centre, I went back to my village. People started calling me names. They started eyeing my wife, making remarks. I had lost my legs but I was not dead. So once again, with 50 rupees in my pocket and on my wheel chair, I left my village to test my destiny, to try my luck. I went to Khasa and met a businessman who felt sorry for me and offered me a job. I had to cross the border to China and bring in mobile phones. And for each trip they paid me 1000 rupees. After 5 months I managed to save 50000 rupees and bought some gold for my wife and my mother. I had slowly started seeing some light in my life, the end of sufferings. But I always felt I needed to do something for people who were different. Who functioned in a different way. I wanted to tell them to live their lives with dignity and that it is possible only when you get out of your bed and do it. So with a help my rehabilitation centre and few other people, I wheel-chaired from Kathmandu to Lumbini, spreading awareness to villagers about safety, love and concern and about possibilities. On the 26th day, I reached Lumbini. They welcomed me and checked me into this hotel, that looked like heaven. I had never seen anything like that in my life. The room, the bed, you know. They bought in so much food. I ate, constantly worrying about how I was going to pay for all that. The next morning, I somehow managed to ask for the bill but the hotel manager said, ‘Everything has been paid for, you did a great thing, you are a good person, so don’t worry’. I left the hotel, crying, in happiness, thinking of my mother who sold alcohol to raise me, wishing she was there.”
(Ram Bahadur Tamang, Kavre)