A Nepalese man who summited Mount Everest six times as a mountain guide received his U.S. citizenship Tuesday.
Inside Oakland’s Paramount Theatre, Kami Sherpa sat in an aisle seat clutching an American flag for the first time as a naturalized citizen. Sherpa was among 1,007 people from 95 nations who took the oath.
“I’m very proud … (to be) a citizen of this country. I am so happy,” he said after the ceremony. “I would love to do something good for the country.”
As a mountain guide, Sherpa climbed Mount Everest six times between 2002 and 2007. He has done 20 other ascents in the Himalayas and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa three times.
From 2004 to 2007, he was a news reporter for Nepal Television. But during the civil war in Nepal, he said, he ran into some political problems for his reporting and immigrated to the United States.
Sherpa currently works as a plumber in Richmond and runs a travel agency called Everest Sherpa Travel. Now that he’s a citizen, he’s looking to build up his travel business.
“I’d love to climb Everest again as an American citizen, definitely, and (I’m) looking for some fellow American who wants to climb,” he said.
It’s not as intimidating a feat as it sounds, he added.
“If you wanted to climb, there is nothing impossible,” Sherpa said. “If you wanted to do something, everything is possible.”