(Interview with Wangchuk Dorjee)
The nephew of the Dalai Lama has been struck by a vehicle and killed while conducting a "Walk For Peace" along a highway in the U.S. state of Florida.
Norbu had begun his walks in part to commemorate and carry on the works of the Dalai Lama and his late father, said Donna Kim-Brand, who planned the logistics of the Valentine's Day walk.
Fellow walker Wangchuk Dorjee said that he and Norbu got a late start yesterday when they began their walk.
"After a while, about 20 miles, my back was starting to hurt...he [Norbu] said he was going to keep going another five to six miles," said Dorjee who got into the van being driven by Kim-Brand.
"I walked with him many, many miles and of course, you know the blisters, but he never complained. He always said, it's ok...my blisters are nothing compared to what happens in Tibet...my brothers and sisters suffering," Dorjee said. Norbu was "always laughing" and "dedicated" to the work of his uncle, he added.
Police said Jigme Norbu, the 45-year-old son of the Dalai Lama's brother Thubten Norbu, was walking along the side of an unlit local highway when he was hit by a sports utility vehicle Monday evening. They say he was already dead when emergency medical technicians arrived at the scene.
Norbu died about 40 kilometers south of the city of St. Augustine, where he had set out Monday on what was to have been a 480-kilometer walk to raise awareness about human rights abuses in Tibet. He had conducted several similar walks, including a trek of almost 1,500 kilometers in 2009 from the state of Indiana to New York City. Just last December he undertook a 250-mile walk in Taiwan, an especially significant location given Taiwan’s tortuous relationship with China. In fall, he’d taken a 557-mile walk from Indianapolis to Toronto.
Norbu was a native of Bloomington, Indiana. His father, who died in 2008 at age 86, was a professor at the University of Indiana in Bloomington.