Burundi 4 October: Bujumbura, Mausolée du Prince Louis Rwagasore - Bujumbura, Discovery School

Peace Run Celebration in Bujumbura

Bujumbura Torch Ceremony & School Relay

Our day began at the Mausolée du Prince Louis Rwagasorein Bujumbura, at a ceremony hosted by representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Mayor of Bujumbura.

The drumming of Burundi is famous throughout the world. In the background Lake Tanganyika, the second largest lake in Africa.

At this monument the hero of indépendance was buried. He tried to unify Burundians when he was fighting for independance. (The start was officially to be at the Unity Monument, but the school assembled at the nearby Mausoleum, and for time reasons the ceremony went ahead there.)

The graceful and colourful traditional dance of Burundi.

The Representative of the Mayor of Bujumbura is opening the Ceremony at the Unity Monument.

Our team of runners included representatives from Europe and the Americas as well as local runners from Burundi and other African nations.

The Peace Torch was lit to mark the start of the East African section of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run - Southern Hemisphere.

As well as music and traditional dance there were poetry performances and contemporary dance showcasing the modern day culture of Burundi.....

....and a superb display of marching by local children.

Straight after the ceremony at the Unity Monument we headed out on the road to run to Lycee Scheppers where we heard some wonderful song and poetry as part of the pupils' performances. There were also dramatic performances on the themes of Peace and Harmony.

Students had prepared a powerful performance about conflict resolution and peacemaking.

Everyone was invited, during a moment of silence, to send a wish for peace into the Peace Torch - but passing it to everyone was a challenge with almost 1000 students present.

The Head of the School receives the Peace Run Certificate.

Our heartfelt thanks go to the Ministry of Culture and Sports in Burundi for their work organising the ceremony and the inter-school relay run, and inspiring so many local young people to get involved.

After Lycee Scheppers we ran with pupils and staff to Lycee Saint-Esprit, where we were greeted with a display of art by the students and performances of poetry and song dedicated to peace.

Powerful peace poetry rap by these special young ladies.

We presented the head of the school with a certificate of appreciation from the Peace Run team and artwork from our Colors of Peace exhibition which took place in Rome just recently to celebrate the UN International Day of Peace..

Off to the next and last school. Some students had been with us since the morning - so we adjusted our speed to walking. at times. Some shared how nice it was for them to make new friends from other schools in this way.

Again Burundi drummers are welcoming us powerfully and enthusiastically to the last amazing school of the day - Discovery School, with again over 1000 students.

The students had been waiting patiently for some time as we were a little late.

Touch me!

The most beautiful smiles.

The spectacular drumming display included athletic dancing and acrobatics. Some Discovery School pupils learning traditional drumming joined in the performance. We were told that in earlier times the warriors would do these performances to the royalty to demonstrate their prowess. To us the drumming had a very joyful and uplifting dynamic quality.

With Mme Rosette Irambona, Speaker of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, and Joy Johnson, Academic Director of Discovery School.

Paintings for Peace.

One science student, Thibault, had created his own Peace Torch fuelled by candles and gasoline which he lit in front of us - now he can create his own Peace Run team!

Academic Director of Discovery School, Joy Johnson, receiving the Peace Run Certificate and a children's painting from the recent Colors of Peace exhibition at the Colosseum in Rome.

We were again impressed with the student's performances and their strong feelings about peace, expressed in their paintings, rap poety, dance or song.

Many pupils stayed after the performances to hold the torch. Teachers helping to pass it.

So many kids wanted to hold the Peace Torch - they just would not let us go! And we loved interacting with them!

Feeling peace in the heart and connecting with the torch.

Elia from St. Blaise Hotel Bujumbura had a fantastic Peace Run experience and wished for the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run to continue in Burundi in the future - and he was not alone.