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Journeyman for Peace Stops in Florida City

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Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2018 10:02 pm | Updated: 11:51 am, Fri Sep 28, 2018.

It started out in India on May 27, 2004, two weeks after Somen Debnath received his Bachelors Degree in Zoology from the University of Calcutta.

Armed with determination and another degree in Fine Arts, he would begin a 16-year bike tour of the world with a goal of visiting 191 countries, traveling over 200,000 km (120,000 miles), coming into contact with 20 million people on the internet or during his travels.

His dream began at age 14, when his scientific mind read an article titled, “Aids, Deadlier Than Cancer.” Intrigued by the person referred to in the article, who died homeless and abandoned, sitting in front of the Medical College of Calcutta, Somen educated himself on the then, little known disease. By 16, he began sharing that information to the poor and uneducated around his country. He would leave his hometown of Basanti in Sundarbans West Bengal (known for the world’s largest Bengal tiger reserve), starting an HIV/AIDS Awareness program and Indian culture presentation.

Patty and I met with Somen at the Coral Roc Motel in Florida City, his stop over on his way north from Key West. After a firm handshake we knew this was not going to be an average interview as he started to tell us of his journey - “The USA is my 150th country. I traveled by bicycle with a message of Peace and HIV/AIDS Awareness. From 2004 to 2006 I visited 28 States and five Union Territories of India. Then through 2009, my travels led me through 22 countries in Asia. From 2009 to 2012 I made my way through 45 European Nations plus the North Pole and Greenland. It was on to Africa and the Middle East (2012-15), for another 60 countries. 2016-17 found me in South America, the Caribbean, and the South Pole. Now, I am in the United States of America planning to visit 40 states before touring Canada. In 2019, from Alaska, it’s on to Russia, Mongolia and China, Korea, Japan, Philippines, New Zealand and Australia. 2020 is Sumatra, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, then to India on May 27, 2020.”

His experiences include the theft of three bikes, six robberies, eight beatings and numerous flat tires. While in Afghanistan, Somen was held captive for 24-days by the Taliban. He became the chef for the camp and was finally released due to his cooking skill.

With all that has happened to him, in the poor areas around the world, Somen has trouble understanding one negative experience that happened right here in South Dade. While walking down the Krome Avenue, a fairly new car slowed down with the occupants throwing their drinks on him.

“I don’t understand why” he stated. My reply was simply, “Neither do I, my brother.” However, Somen shrugs the negative off in a peaceful manner that reminded me of the karma of Gandhi. Putting the bad episodes aside Somen told of meeting six Kings, 38 Presidents, and 72 Prime Ministers. Patty asked, “Did you meet Queen Elizabeth? “No, he replied, “She was under the weather but, I did meet with Prince Charles.”

Somen continued, “You know, India is a land of peace. They have never attacked any country with the idea of conquering.” He continued, “All the world is one family. We must identity each other as humans not based on

differences but on likenesses given by our creator. We are all born with a purpose and should be given the opportunity to find out what that purpose is.”

On return to India, Somen hopes to build a “self sustaining global village” but I see more in this seasoned man of peace. I envision him as a philosophical leader, offering hope to this restless world.

His campaign is supported by personal donations and sponsorships.

Contact:. somenglobe Visit:

Note: Somen had one request, “To meet the Mayor of Florida City for a picture to be entered in his memoirs. That request has been answered.

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