East to west Nepal in a wheelchair

After surviving a deadly road accident 10 years ago, Ram Bahadur Tamang-Gole is still on the road – this time in a wheelchair.

On Wednesday he set a new Nepal record for the longest wheelchair ride, from the eastern end of Nepal to the west, a journey of 1,028km in 26 days. He braved rough patches of highway, fumes from trucks, but for him the scariest part was traversing Bardia National Park where a man-eating tiger was on the loose.

“We got a lot of help and generosity along the way, I am really happy to have completed it and hope to make even longer journeys in future,” Gole told Nepali Times at Dhangadi airport before flying back to Kathmandu.

Making Nepal accessible to all, Nepali Times

Earlier, 39-year-old Gole had done warm-ups by making trips on his wheelchair from Namo Baudha to Lumbini and from there to Bodh Gaya in India. He was accompanied by his relative, Man Bahadur Tamang.

After setting off from the Mechi Bridge on the Indian border on 27 February, Gole crossed towns and cities and the Kosi, Kamala, Bagmati, Narayani, Tinau, Rapti, Baba, and Karnali rivers to finally reach the Mahakali Bridge on Nepal’s western border with India.  

He broke his spine in 2011 when his bus fell into the Bhote Kosi in Sindhupalchok while on his way back from the Chinese border at Kodari. Rescuers had left him for dead, but he survived. Gole has been paralysed from the waist down ever since, and was treated at the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre in Sanga. 

He now works at the Centre as a counselor for other patients like him, where his message is never to lose hope and to always aim higher. In that spirit, he now hopes to complete a journey across the Subcontinent to the southern tip of India.

“The bad road in Daunne was difficult, but we were really afraid when we heard that a man-eater tiger was loose in the jungles of the Bardia National Park. Luckily, we got an army escort up to the Karnali Bridge,” Gole recounts.

His message to others with similar injuries is: “Never give up. It doesn’t matter if I cannot walk, I can still travel, and carry on with my life.”

Read also: Changing disability to this-ability, Sravasti Ghosh Dastidar

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