A group of four cyclists from Nepal, out on an adventure of a lifetime, to spread awareness on the need for protecting the environment, are now in Bangladesh.
What started as a cycling adventure between two brothers in a bid to spread awareness on the environment and spread the message about HIV/AIDS has now taken the shape of an ambition to cycle around 100 countries.
Ajit Baral and Dr Amrit Baral, the brothers, first embarked on this journey, but Amrit discontinued the trip to continue his education, said Ajit, who paid a visit to The Daily Star office to talk about the journey yesterday.
Ajit who has so far cycled through 18 countries since taking on the trip, is now joined by three others-- Surendra Sharma, Saroj Gurung and Yam Gurung— and they entered Bangladesh through Benapole border on June 29.
The team is cycling with the motto “Save the Environment To Save the World and Awareness Against Drugs Addiction” and all the team members are social workers, all supported by ‘Dirghayu Nepal’.
Dirghayu Nepal is a non-governmental organisation established under Nepal Government NGO Registration Act on October 2014 with the head office in Srijanachowk Pokhara.
The team has so far participated in a clean-up programme at Osmani Uddyan of Dhaka and in a human chain against Chikungunya, a viral disease that is being spread from Aedes mosquitoes that breed in stagnant water.
“We may not feel it or see it but Bangladesh and Nepal are connected. If the snowcaps of the Himalayas melt due to rising temperatures, many parts of Bangladesh will go under water,” says Ajit.
Starting his journey first in September 2015, Ajit along with his brother traversed the breadth of Nepal and another 16 countries before heading back home after a year and a half on the trail.
“I was missing my son and there was a big festival in Nepal, so I could not resist heading back home,” said a sheepish Ajit.
Ajit, Surendra, Saroj and Yam started the journey again on June 5 this year to commemorate World Environment Day, they said in unison.
Experiences on the trail
During the first leg of the journey, Amrit and Ajit got detained in Maldives for entering the country on a cargo ship.
“We decided to go Maldives from India but because there is no land border and the airfare was so expensive, we thought of going by sea,” says Ajit.
However, on finding no passenger ships ply the route, the brothers convinced a cargo ship to carry them and their precious cycles to the island country.
“We were detained immediately after disembarking the ship. Of course, it was illegal!” Ajit said.
But with the help of a kind immigrant officer, the brothers managed to get out of the sticky situation.
Many experiences, flat tyres, accidents and kind people have dotted the journey of these cyclists who are out on an endeavor to spread the message of protecting the environment.
“Try and ride a bicycle once a week and you will see what a big change you can bring. Burn fat and not fuel!”
The group will leave Bangladesh for Myanmar on July 12.