Australia 15 February: Glen Innes, NSW - Uralla, NSW

From the Granite Belt into New England

This morning we bid farewell to our idyllic accommodation at Oakhurst Cottage Farmstay.

The first engagement for the men’s team was at Glen Innes Public School, where Lesley the administration manager welcomed the team and walked us all through to the New Hall ...

... where about 100 year 3 – 6 children were gathered.

Team Captain, Devashishu Torpy introduced the Peace Run and spoke of the concept of our “oneness-world.” A short DVD was shown with clips from the Peace Run in many countries around the world.

Prior to the children being invited to feel peace inside their hearts, Devashishu reminded us that “peace begins with each person; it is created by you and me.”

A game was then proposed, in which the students must deduce the countries from which each of the international running team originate, based on clues – some more helpful than others – offered by the runners. Would you be able to figure out that Gancalo is from Portugal, based on this image??

After the game, the runners burst into song with the Peace Run song by founder, Sri Chinmoy. The rapturous applause which followed encouraged an encore, the World-Harmony Run song – with accompanying actions which were introduced and explained – in which students and staff alike joined with gusto.

The Certificate of Appreciation from the Peace Run was presented to the School Captain and Vice-Captain, Carter and Brianna.

Time for a run around the oval!

This is always the kids' favourite part of the event.

The women’s team had meanwhile started running from our finishing location from the previous day’s running.

Needing to get a substantial block of running in before our first engagement, it was wonderful to get out early in the cool breeze before the sun got too high.

After the visit to Glen Innes Public School, the men’s team also “hit the road” for the serious business of bringing the Peace Torch ever-closer to its destination.

Our women’s team arrived into Saint Mary of Angels Primary School in Gyra at 11.15am. At 1,336 metres, Gyra is the 5th highest town in all of Australia.

The students lined the driveway into the school and the ran in with us to the their hall. Athen and Sannae led the team into the hall.

Once inside we had an opportunity to show the Peace Run video and share the Peace Run message of “Peace Begins with Me.”
The children sang so beautifully the World Harmony Run song with us, I am sure they heard us all the way in Armidale!

Students had spent time preparing for the Peace Run arrival and some of them came up to offer their personal Pledges of Peace.

Here are some:

I pledge to go and around and give love.
I pledge to do what’s right for the world.
I pledge to be careful in actions and words.

Four students were called up to receive the Certificate of Appreciation and artwork by Sri Chinmoy.

These students were chosen on the basis of their actions over the last few weeks demonstrating Peace. These included one student seeing someone else having problems tying their shoe and stopping to help. Another student was able to assist two others in resolving a conflict – wonderful representatives of the school.

Another group of students had learnt the word for peace in different languages, including German, Spanish, Vietnamese, French and Tongan.

The students then sang a beautiful song in their strong and powerful voices on the theme of Peace.

After running with the Peace Torch around the school field ...

... we made our way to the entrance of the school where a Peace Tree was planted by the year 6 students.

All the students had created small windmills for this occasion, each planting their windmill in front of the tree as an offering of their goodwill.

Soon the Peace Torch was back on the road, running in relay between the teams into Armidale to arrive at our final school just in time to see the students before end of day.

Both men’s and women’s teams met up in Armidale for a reception at St Mary’s Primary School, where the team was greeted by Father Roel.

The students all sat attentively and quietly in striking colour-coded uniforms: the various colours representing the sporting houses of the school. Blue tops were worn by the members of De La Salle House; green designates Delaney House; the members of Ursula House proudly wore white; while Merici House turned out in red. The colours were mixed randomly so that the assembled children created a delightful mosaic.

After viewing the Peace Run DVD, our spokesperson Devashishu Torpy addressed the children: “Find your own perfect way of making peace. Feel peace in your hearts and send that peace around the world.” After the songs were sung, including with actions performed by all, the runners performed a few entertaining skits illustrating various actions either peaceful or otherwise…

“On behalf of the school and the parish,” Father Roel, who hails from The Philippines, then addressed us all with inspiring words: “God has planted peace inside our hearts; we just have to nurture that.” He then led the children in a novel “round of applause” for the visit of the Peace Run team.

Lang and Mia (School Captain and Vice-Captain) then offered thanks from all the students, and in return received a Certificate of Appreciation and a print of a beautiful artwork entitled “Happiness” by Peace Run founder Sri Chinmoy.

As the children filed out of the hall, each had the chance to impart their own wishes for peace into the Peace Torch, to be carried on its further journey around the world.

Bidding the students farewell, both teams then combined to cover the intervening distance to Uralla ...

… where we had the opportunity to meet with Mayor Michael Pearce.

We took some time here to discus the program for tomorrow, when we will return with our whole team at 8am.

A big thank you to Shelly and Phi and their cute pup from the Alluna Motel in Armidale for hosting four of the women' s team tonight.

The final two girls were treated to the wonderful hospitality of Fiona at Rose Villa Motel who kindly offered us accommodation in 2013 and again this year. Since last time they have now become runners and are keen to run the team into Armidale next time the Peace Run comes through. So great to see you again Fiona; we look forward to your joining us next time!

3 of our men’s team were most grateful for a peaceful night’s slumber at Hideaway Motor Inn, Armidale.

Jason and Sebastian of Deer Park Motor Inn, Armidale very generously hosted 4 of our men’s team for the night.

We've invited the deer to join us for tomorrow and beyond, as our journey will certainly benefit from their speed and enthusiasm!

See you on the road tomorrow!