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  • Writer's pictureRichard Mark Dobson

Looking back to see the future

Downtime in Oslo? With the epic adventure behind him and a few days to spare in Oslo before we all depart Norway, you might think this could be a moment for Ajmal Samuel to chill – pardon the play on words, especially since it's only 4 degrees here. But when I say 'chill,' I mean relaxing, taking it easy. The truth is, chilling isn't AJ's style. He thrives on staying busy, feeling almost compelled every waking moment to inspire both the able-bodied and those facing physical challenges to take on monumental tasks, and yesterday was no exception.

Ajmal and his wife Carol in Central Oslo on their way to the central ferry pier. The King's Palace can be seen behind.

He worked well past midnight to prepare a presentation for the patients and staff of the Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital. Sunnaas specializes in multidisciplinary treatment for spinal cord injuries, severe trauma, traumatic brain injuries, strokes, cognitive challenges, pain management, severe burns, neurological conditions, and congenital disorders.

Getting to this unique clinic, Norway's finest, involved a day trip as it's situated on Ildjernet Island at the far end of Oslo Fjord, accessible via a relaxing scenic ride on state-of-the-art passenger ferries. Norwegians seem to do everything with a sense of style and quality, and shipbuilding is no exception, ensuring a quality maritime experience to reach top-tier medical care – precisely as it should be.

Outlying island ferries from the Oslo Filipstadkaia Port

Following a tour of the premises by sports therapist Simen Holm, Ajmal presented to an eager audience, offering insights into his life story. Though I've heard it several times, each retelling provides fresh insights. Ajmal has an innate talent for recounting an utterly captivating narrative.

He talks about his formative years in Pakistan, where he grew up with a pastor as his father, a man of unwavering faith who instilled many of the values Ajmal still adheres to today. He shares his story of a debilitating car accident while in the Pakistan military, his subsequent treatment and rehabilitation in England and Germany, and the challenges he faced while seeking employment as a disabled South Asian in Hong Kong during the 1990s.

Ajmal also delves into his arduous journey to climb the corporate ladder in a company that took a chance on hiring him in the early 1990s, his initial foray into entrepreneurship that ended in bankruptcy, and his subsequent triumph in rebuilding a second business, now a resounding success that provides him with the means to pursue the adventures he now undertakes.

Ajmal Samuel is the kind of individual people never tire of listening to. He inspires in the most unassuming ways. Yesterday was no exception, and I witnessed firsthand the look of admiration in the eyes of the audience – the 'if he can do it, so can I' sentiment that he effortlessly ignites.

TOTAL DISTANCE COVERED: 2,525 Km (11th October 2023)

Day 47. Kløfta to Oslo 38.33km

Day 46. Strommen to Kløfta 69.97km

Day 45 -Rana to Tangen 74.29km

Day 44 -Åkrestrømmen to Rana 70.65km

Day 43 -Rest Day. Åkrestrømmen Rendalen

Day 42 -Tynset to Åkrestrømmen Rendalen 74.66km

Day 41-Berkak to Tynset 93.06km

Day 40 -Trondheim to Berkak 72.58km

Day 39 -Rest Day. Trondheim

Day 38 -Sticklestad to Trondheim 95.50km

Day 37 -Kvam to Sticklestad 56.46km

Day 36 -Harran to Steinkjer 71.98km

Day 35 -Namsskogen to Harran 61.60km

Day 34 -Mosjoen to Namsskogen (Car)

Day 33 -Rest day Mosjoen

Day 32 -Nensa to Mosjoen 70km

Day 31 -Mo I Rana to Nensa 66.45Km

Day 30 -Rest day Mo I Rana

Day 29 -Meravan to Mo I Rana 98.01km

Day 28 -Slussfors to Hermavan 85.17km

Day 27 -Storuman to Slussfors. 62.00km

Day 26 -Lycksele to Storuman 102.9km

Day 25 -Vindeln to Lycksele 75.75 km

Day 24 -Holmsund to Vindeln 75.7km

Day 23 -Vaasa to Holmsund (Ferry Ride)

Day 22 -Rest day Vaasa

Day 21- Rest day Vaasa

Day 20 -Narpes to Vaasa 79.8km

Day 19- Merikarvia to Närpes 93.76 km

Day 18 -Pori to Merikarvia 52.8km

Day 17- Rauma to Pori 57.9km

Day 16 -Uusikaupunki to Rauma 47.4km

Day 15 -Turku to Uusikaupunki 73.5km

Day 14 -Helsinki to Turku (Car)

Day 13 -Tallin to Helsinki (Ferry ride)

Day 12- Tallin Rest & Recharge

Day 11- Märjamaa to Tallin 72.17

Day 10 -Pärnu linn to Märjamaa 64.1km

Day 9- Pärnu Rest & Recharge

Day 8 - Salacgriva to Pärnu 75km

Day 7 - Riga to Salacgriva 104.4km

Day 6 - Riga Rest and Recharge

Day 5 - Plieņciema kāpa to Riga 60.14Km

Day 4 - Kuldiga to Plieņciema kāpa 108.59Km

Day 3 - Liepāja to Kuldīga 97.34Km

Day 2 - Sventājato Liepāja 62.11Km

Day 1 - Klaipeda to Sventāja 42.89Km

ASF has carefully chosen Resolve to be the beneficiary for 2023: Resolve is a charity founded in 2017 that helps create change makers in our community to drive a more inclusive city. Their signature program is a Fellowship that has so far supported over 70 emerging community leaders from diverse walks of life. There have been five cohorts of the fellowship on racial equality, ending gender-based violence, disABILITIES and empowerment, wellbeing and health and (E)quality Education for all.

Visit the following URL in order to support the "I Resolve Challenge" and visit the following URL in order to support the "I Resolve Challenge" and give:

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