A PROMISE TO KEEP

By: Lakshmi Kothaneth

MUSCAT: Tha’ir Aboud has been walking from Austria. He has covered so far a distance of 6,700 km. He is at present in Shinas. In the weekend he walked through the UAE border to enter the Sultanate of Oman. He shall walk to Muscat and follow the coast of Oman on foot to reach Salalah. From there he plans to fly to Jeddah and walk from there to Mecca. He began his journey on July 25, 2014. Tha’ir has a promise to keep.

“It all started two years ago when my sister called and said she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I could not do anything other than being there while she went through the treatment which was difficult. She was afraid. And I went through my mind wondering what would be the best way to keep her mind away from fear,” said Aboud.

He needed to put her mind on something else other than her health. “We are hardly 11 months apart and grew up almost like twins,” added Aboud.

That is when the idea struck him. He bought two travelling guide books one for him to follow and the other for his sister to follow his route. His first journey was to Spain.

“We kept in touch with the aid of technology. But at times when she called I couldn’t attend. That made her worry about me. Soon she had changed her focus to me.” “After 10 days of walking my body was in pain. I was covering 30 km a day and carrying 10 kg in my bag. I prayed to Allah that if my sister was helped and I could go on I would walk to Mecca. My sister’s treatment worked successfully and I completed my journey, but I remembered I had a promise to keep,” pointed out Aboud.

Soon he was onto planning the journey. “I chose to go through the mosques of Europe. The journey began from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey. After Turkey I went to Iran, the Emirates and now Oman,” said Aboud.

When Aboud was planning the journey, he calculated it through Syria. But by then Syria was closed. “I thought of Iraq and that route got closed too due to the current situation. So I chose Iran to cross to Kuwait but the snow made me take yet another route and I crossed to the Emirates. The Saudi Arabian Embassy informed me that I cannot enter the country by foot. So here I am and I am so happy I made it to Oman!”

Tha’ir Aboud was a general manager of a company that produced water tanks before he embarked on the journey. Being in charge of the Middle Eastern market also means he has many clients in Oman. Aboud probably never thought this is how he will enter the country of his clients.

His journey is all about hope and gratitude, “There is always hope. Never stop hoping.”

SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER

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