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Author to bring Nepalese tale to WSA

SUQUAMISH — When author Broughton Coburn gives presentations in the Puget Sound area this week, he won’t just be speaking of an experience so powerful that he wrote two books on the subject.

He’ll also be coming home.

Coburn, born in Seattle and raised in Tacoma, returns to the Pacific Northwest to tell of his tales in Nepal where he first went as a Peace Corps volunteer, focusing specifically on experiences he had with a Nepalese woman named Aama.

As a spiritual guide for Coburn on many levels, Aama is the focus of two of his books, “Nepali Aama: Life Lessons of a Himalayan Woman,” and “Aama in America: A Pilgrimage of the Heart.”

Fresh out of Harvard in 1973, Coburn said he initially went to Nepal with the Corps “looking for adventure.”

“I was looking to learn about the world around us,” he said, “and figured the best way to do that would be total immersion in a foreign culture.”

It was there he met Aama, the experiences of whom he chronicled in his first book while still in Nepal. The second focuses on a journey she took to America.

“I felt that Aama had much to teach us, the western developing world,” he said. “Though she wasn’t well travelled in the geographic sense, she had a remarkable and unusual understanding about how the world works.”

Aside from those works, Coburn also wrote “Everest: Mountain Without Mercy,” in 1997 about one of the world’s most treacherous mountains to climb.

“(Everest) teaches you that the mountain doesn’t care and it doesn’t give back life,” he said. “Hopefully a mountain like Everest teaches you respect and humility.”

For those who miss Coburn at West Sound, he’ll be appearing at 12:30 p.m. April 14 in the Tacoma Community College Student Center.

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