After ascending Mt. Everest half a dozen times, a Nepalese man who lives in Richmond reached another high point Tuesday as he took the oath of US citizenship.
Kami Sherpa, 36, was alongside 1,250 others inside Oakland's Paramount Theatre Tuesday as they took their naturalization oath in a mass ceremony.
The milestone came about six years after Sherpa immigrated to the U.S. to join relatives here and escape the tense political landscape of his native country, which had been embroiled in a bloody civil war.
When he arrived in the U.S., Sherpa researched how to become an American citizen and later started the application process.
"I have a better knowledge of the country now," he said, noting that he had to study American history and politics in order to pass the citizenship test.
Sherpa now works as a plumber -- a big change from his past careers as a Sherpa guide in the Himalayas and as a news reporter for Nepal Television.
But he said the change is worth it to gain American citizenship -- a status that will allow him to travel more easily and to finally reunite with his wife, who still lives in Nepal.
He said he also hopes to use his extensive climbing background to open a travel business that would bring mountain climbers to the Himalayas.
"Becoming an American citizen is a great opportunity," he said. "I'm excited."
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.