Bravehearts fight physical odds with smile

SALALAH, Nov 6 – In order to restore the sense of adventure that can sometimes be dented post injury, a group of six wounded servicemen from the United Kingdom were in Salalah to take part in a self designed adventure expedition under the guidance of some Omani nature lovers. Despite having their legs or hands amputated and some of them having serious post-war mental stress, the bubbly group did not have any sign of injury apparently. The expedition was supported by the Endeavour Fund, which was created in 2012 by Royal Foundation and fuelled by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s passion for supporting the recovery of wounded, injured and sick (WIS) Servicemen and women.

The Endeavour Fund offers seed funding for sporting and adventure challenges and helps emerging initiatives with advice, hands-on support and mentoring. The fund plays an important role in ensuring that more servicemen and women have the opportunity to rediscover their self-belief and fighting spirit through physical challenges.

Odds did not deter them.
They were so energetic and full of energy that they scaled the tough terrains of Dhofar and did a camel supported trek of 80-100km traversing the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve Escapement from Hasik to Mirbat.
“This culturally immersive journey was intended to get back to basics in a nomadic, live-like-a local manner and was intended to have a focus on learning about local wildlife and conservation,” said Team leader Matt Fisher on the conclusion of the expedition on Sunday.
The team landed in Salalah on October 28 and explored the length and breadth of Dhofar up to Empty Quarters.
Every one of them enjoyed the pure nature of Salalah and its adjoining places, while Fisher called camping under stars in Empty Quarters as “something amazing!”
Fisher, 33, lost his left leg in Afghan War in 2009 and is currently works as a carpenter in UK. “Challenges are there but I am managing nicely with my artificial leg… I was left with two options — to live an idle life, passing my time in front TV and becoming subject to everyone’s sympathy or to live an active life and support my family. I chose the latter and I am happy. Endeavour Fund is great support for people like us.”
Commenting on his trekking experience he said: “The Jebal Samhan is the perfect place to conduct an expedition and is the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen.”
Other five members of the team were Stephen Turner, Harry Card, Michael Greep, Nutan Rai, and Emmanuel Penuel.
Stephen Turner was highly impressed with the hospitality of Dhofari people. “It was fantastic experience to be with the local people. They are extremely warm and welcoming and we engaged, shared stories and immersed ourselves in the local culture,” he said.
Harry Card was happy to do something which he “would never normally do”. For him this was the most amazing experience of his life and was happy to be part of the Endeavour Fund team.
Michael Greep’s favourite aspect of the expedition was having the camels with the group.
Living with camels and understanding importance of camels in Omani tradition made the expedition an amazing experience.
Nutan Rai called it the most adventurous trip after leaving the army “and was something I will never forget,” while Emmanuel Penuel called it a great healing experience to cope with his post traumatic stress. “The chance to be out in the wilderness was so exhilarating,” he said.

Kaushalendra Singh