UN Ambassador for Sport and Peace; President of the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation; and two-time marathon world record holder:
Our brother was ambassador of peace and harmony. The world lost a great man. Our sports family will miss him.
I met Sri Chinmoy here in the United Nations when I was given the Abebe Bikila Award. He was the one who handed the award to me. And since then, he became my close father and friend.
Dear friends, God has taken His son. He has finished his mission in this world. But he left something for us; he left the work for us; we have to continue and to carry the work that he started. The world today is full of many bad things. We need to bring peace and harmony. Our brother started, and many others will follow.
He invited me also to Queens, and I was among those who were given the honour to be lifted up. When he heard that my weight was 39 kilos, he started to laugh! But when I came down, he told me, “My daughter, I did not lift your weight; I lifted your spirit.” And I felt it.
He also told me, “Tegla, I know the work that you are doing. It is not an easy job, but do not forget that God is always there for us. The world needs us to do good.”
I was also honoured last year to run a leg in Lisbon for his marathon relay, the World Harmony Run. I ran through the city of Lisbon with the local kids and the students of Sri Chinmoy, carrying the torch for peace and harmony. I also organised peace races through sports; I know what it means. It brings people together; people come and share.
Last year, after he finished talking to me, he gave me a watch. And then he told me, “Listen, I hope this watch will remind you not to sleep, and not to forget your work.” I made a sign that I have my work and I know my work is special; it was a sign of peace, I know.
This year, three months ago, I was flying from my home, going to Nairobi. It was one day before going to Sudan. Our plane had an accident in Nairobi. In the plane there was the European Ambassador to Kenya and his Deputy, who had come to see the project that I am doing in the field that I had just come back from. They told me, “Listen, Tegla, we are coming to see the project before you go to Sudan.” Then I told them, “You can wait until I come back from Darfur.” But they said, “No, we will come now, because we do not have time.”
So we went and came back. On our return back, our plane ran into trouble; we thought that we were going to die. I said, “God, do not let us die like this.” Then we landed in the forest and nobody was hurt, although the wings were completely destroyed. I went home and then I called the Ambassador. I said, “I am sorry that you and your Deputy came to my home.” I felt like I was responsible for them; he was silent.
I sat down, and I picked up the book I had been given by Sri Chinmoy, and I read: do not forget to bring peace. In my heart I felt I should cancel the trip to Darfur. Within five minutes I got a call from the Ambassador again. He called me and asked, “Tegla, are you still planning to go to Darfur?”
I was quiet. And then he told me, “You do not have to apologise. You have to go. The world still needs us. Why did God not kill us? We still have unfinished work.” I told my brother, “I am going to Darfur.”
My mother called me in the evening and said, “Oh, did you see that plane this morning?” I said, “Yes, I saw it; the person who was in it was me.” She asked: “Are you still going to Darfur?” I said, “I am going.” She said, “You go in peace and bring peace.”
I want to say today that we have so much to do. May God bless you. I want to express my condolences to the family and the friends of Sri Chinmoy. God bless you, and let us hold onto our friend. Our friend left, but he has done good things, and these good things will last. God bless you.