Omani trio take up a ‘walk through history’ at Qatar to showcase brotherhood in view of the upcoming football World Cup fanfare
Every great thought, and greater action, starts with walking!
With infinite enthusiasm and definite targets, three walkers from Muscat – Hilmi al Kindi, Nawaf al Sulaimani and Sulaiman al Manji – recently trekked along the length and breadth of the many shores, wadis, lanes of Qatar to trace the routes of their ancestors.
The Omani trio is known for their extraordinary walking feats across Oman. Braving storms, snakes, foxes, speeding vehicles, they took on many hurdles and challenges with one common aim – to spread the message of oneness of the region and its unique heritage.
One of the biggest challenges during the walk was the hot weather. “Qatar was hotter than we thought. We spent the nights and days in open air. The weather took us for a ride, but despite that, we did not give up until the end,” Kindi said.
Dubbed ‘Tracing Our Ancestors’, the walk from Qatar coincides with the World Cup celebrations organised by the sisterly state of Qatar. The outcome of meticulous brainstorming and planning, the trio took up the walk in the face of much hardship and lack of able backing.
“The goal was to highlight the bonds of brotherhood, love, and connection between the sons of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, support Qatar and its people in the celebrations of the World Cup, as well as support the Saudi team taking part in the tournament,” Kindi said.
Kindi, a history enthusiast who has undertaken numerous gruelling challenges in the past, believes everyone in the GCC needs to support Qatar in organising the World Cup, besides supporting their own team taking part in the tournament.
“Our main aim was to highlight the archaeological, cultural, touristic and heritage of the GCC,” he pointed out. The places they visited in Qatar included Ruwais and Al Khuwair Archeological Village, Thuqbah Archeological Village, Al Jamil ancient village, Al Khor archaeological towers, Al Bayt Stadium, Souq Waqif, Khalifa stadium, among others.
The trio, all coming from ancient families in Oman with roots from the Arabian Peninsula, plan to cover most of the GCC countries in their ‘Tracing Our Ancestors’ walk. Additionally, they are eager to make a documentary about the various heritage structures they visited during their walks.
“These structures must be highlighted so that authorities maintain them, carrying out restoration works wherever necessary. These are ancient relics and need proper care. During our walk, we relived many facets of GCC history, rediscovered its natural wonders, and discovered a few new ones,” Kindi said.
Around the GCC
The walk was the brainchild of Kindi, who said, “The idea was to start from each member state of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and head to Doha. But because of the lack of support and closure of Qatar borders on October 31, the plan had to be changed. So, we decided to start from Qatar and then to go around the GCC. At a later stage, we will visit other countries in the world.”
Kindi also plans to rope in other walking enthusiasts from GCC along the way to make the mission more meaningful and to enable participants from other gulf countries to share the common goal.
“The objective of our project is to spread the message about preserving and learning from our heritage. Some of our historical structures reveal the best of creativity. Arabs are hard working and even without today’s engineering and technologies, they created miracles and for this reason, the world needs to know about these. And this is the right time to do so,” he said.
Nawaf al Sulaimani said, “Hilmi and I have done similar activities together in Oman and I am glad I made it to Qatar. Even though we have tried hard for sponsorship, it was in vain, but we made it without sponsorship,” he said adding that the walk also helped promote Oman as a cultural destination.
“We have been promoting culture since 2015. We have walked around Oman and are planning a walk around the world after the GCC walk,” he said.
“The GCC countries have countless ruins, forts, castles and natural wonders that are still being explored and found today by the new generation. For a firsthand experience of these and to learn more about the hidden treasures, one doesn’t always have to drive but can walk to these locations to understand them better.”
Sulaiman al Manji added he was glad to join Hilmi. “This has been my long-time dream and I learnt a lot from the trip. We spend the days walking, visiting ancient sites and the nights resting under the stars. Though it is tiresome, I learnt how to endure,” he said.