I am on my way to Uganda, Kampala from Nairobi, Kenya. It is going to take about 10 days to cover the distance of some 700 kilometres of road travel to reach Kampala. I am a little sad to leave behind the friends I met and made in Nairobi. After New York, meeting Nepalese people along the way has been tougher than I imagined it to be but here in Nairobi, our country’s people have made a nice little fortress, a little Kathmandu in the heart of the globalising city and it feels like home.
I got introduced to my host Rabindra Poudel sir via a good friend of mine, Nawang Karsang dai. The name had slipped my mind, it never sunk into me that it could have been the same person I met several years ago in Cambodia at a friend’s house so our reunion was really joyous. I stayed with his familyfor eight long days and I really appreciated it not just because the hotel rates here are expensive at about $15-$20 per night but because they did not just provided me shelter and food, they lovingly gave me a home and family which I have missed quite a lot in the past few weeks.
Before I actually met him, there were a few exchanges of e-mails and he offhandedly did mention there have been a lot of Nepalese cyclist frauds in Nairobi. Until I went there and started meeting people and they told me stories of their experience with such con artists, I was not aware of how grave the whole situation was. Some men have vowed to give any Nepalese they meet who claim to be a world tour cyclist a good thrashing and I do not blame them for feeling that much rage. It would have been a lot difficult to earn their trust if Rabindra sir was not there to support me. It is unfair and definitely infuriating to see these people taking advantage of such a dire situation the world is facing for their benefit.
I was lucky to be in Nairobi at the right time for Rabindra sir’s 9th birthday party. He asked for a bicycle from his dad. While I think it is every child’s dream to get a bicycle, his dad assured me that his son, Prashant was inspired by my journey and my message and really that is one of the greatest achievements in my tour. Besides that, the small but increasing Nepali society in Nairobi is something to be happy about. They have all created a good life here and many of them are holding very high positions in their respective jobs. It was wonderful to have the love and care of Nepalese. I am going to miss eating typical Nepali khanna, I am going to miss eating gundruk (dried and preserved vegetables) with rice and I am most certainly going to miss each and everyone I left behind. Take care my friends, till we meet again.