It was an emotional moment for the villagers of Bokotial village in Sivasagar and Spain’s Manuel Arribas Rodriguez- for whom the small Assam village was his home for the past seven months.

Rodriguez, who was on a tour of the world riding his bicycle, reached Sivasagar just before the COVID-19 lockdown was declared in the country.

Rodriguez, who intended to stay for a week in the remote Sivasagar village, ended up spending over seven months due to the lockdown.

On September 22 (Tuesday) as Rodriguez finally started on his journey back home, almost the entire village turned up at the Simaluguri railway station to bid him farewell to their Spaniard ‘son’.

Rodriguez boarded the Rajdhani Express to New Delhi and is scheduled to fly out to Madrid on Friday.

People, who arrived at the station, bid the 41-year-old Rodriguez farewell with a heavy heart and said it was heartbreaking for them to say him goodbye.

Rodriguez, who worked at a hotel in Spain for 10 years, had planned to cover most Asian countries on his bicycle.

He flew to Tokyo in 2019, cycled around Japan before reaching the India-Myanmar border on January 27 via South Korea and the Southeast Asian countries.

In his ‘extended holiday’ in Bokotial village, Rodriguez stayed with the family of one Biswajit Barbaruah and helped with the chores, learnt paddy farming and took part in community fishing and other village activities.

“I fell in love with the village. I can never forget the hospitality of the people, the kind I have never experienced anywhere else,” Rodriguez said before leaving for his country.

He hopes to return after the COVID-19 threat is once over.

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