Indian cyclist stops in Slovakia

SOMEN Debnath is clearly a man who believes in long-range goals. He has a plan, a big plan. In fact, a 16-year plan.

SOMEN Debnath is clearly a man who believes in long-range goals. He has a plan, a big plan. In fact, a 16-year plan.

Since May 27, 2004, the young man from India has travelled to 47 countries. At the moment, he has laid out a programme for himself that will keep him busy for the next 10 years and take him to all corners of the world. Debnath’s hope is to spread the world with HIV and AIDS awareness.

Debnath reached Bratislava on June 28, after entering Slovakia from Poland. On his way across the country he visited Zilina, Trencin, Trnava and Nitra.

“When I was 14 years old I read in a newspaper article about a man who had died of HIV. It said that AIDS is a disease more deadly than cancer,” Debnath told The Slovak Spectator in an interview in Bratislava. “I didn’t know anything about the disease and when I inquired none of my teachers would provide me with any information.”

Two years later he undertook special training and then went on to teach both teachers and students around India about the deadly virus.

Debnath’s next destination is the Czech Republic, from there to Germany, the Baltic and Nordic countries, and then on to the Netherlands, the UK, Greenland and Iceland. Afterward he will return to the UK to finish his degree in social work and write a book.

After this break he plans to set off again in 2012 crossing Africa, South America and then continue through Central America and Mexico to North America where he hopes to spend two years. After that he plans to continue in 2018 across Canada to Russia, then to Australia and finally on May 27, 2020 to come home to India exactly 16 years after he left.

Through all this travel, Debnath will stop along the way at schools, universities and various organizations to give presentations about HIV and to discuss the disease with students. After going home to India he believes he will have made enough contacts to maintain a huge international network whose members will be willing and able to help each other fight this debilitating and sometimes deadly disease.

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