An Indian youth who has been cycling around the World for the past decade on a tour to raise awareness on the Aids pandemic has arrived in Zimbabwe where he hopes to meet President Robert Mugabe and “preach his gospel” to young people.
Somen Debnath (31), who comes from the largest tiger reserve in India, Sunderbans, West Bengal, arrived in Zimbabwe on his bicycle from Zambia through Victoria Falls, five days ago.
In an interview in Bulawayo yesterday, Debnath, who is single and has no chidren, said he started his tour from India on May 27 2004, when he was 20 and had just completed his degree in Zoology.
He said he has been “warmly received” in Zimbabwe.
“I came through Victoria Falls and that was such a good experience as I got to see one of the seven wonders of the world,” he said.
“On the way from Victoria Falls I passed through Hwange as well as Lupane and gave talks at some schools on Aids. The people there received me with open arms.
“Yesterday(Saturday), I also spoke to students at a secondary school here in Bulalwayo and I am now leaving on my way to the capital, Harare, where I hope I will be afforded an opportunity to pay a courtesy call on President Robert Mugabe. During my tour, I have been able to meet 21 presidents, 50 prime ministers and 186 ministers.”
Debnath said when he was 14 he read an article of a man from his village who was living with HIV and was abandoned by his family and left to die.
“That is the story that motivated me to go around the World preaching the gospel on HIV prevention,” he said.
“I also try to live what I preach. Apart from the message on Aids, I also promote the Indian culture during the tour and teach yoga.”
Debnath’s trip is funded through donations in which well wishers pay for the kilometres he travels and get certificates of recognition from him and become part of his global family while on the trip.
Part of the donations will be used to fund his dream of building a “global village” in his home country after the completion of the 200 000 kilometre tour covering 191 countries in 2020.
“My idea is to build a complex of houses on an area of eight hectares to provide visitors from around the world with an opportunity to live and interact with each other,” said Debnath.
“It will be a self-sustaining and self-sufficient venture where guests would have the opportunity to cultivate their own crops and fruits on a four -hectare farm.”
Those interested in donating towards the cause can contact him on e-mail: email@example.com or mobile number 0737 551 295.
Debnath has so far travelled 109 750 kilometres which included the whole of Asia and Europe and he hopes to have covered the most of Africa by the end of next year.
From : Bulawayo24.
1 September 2014