Botswana 27 September: Gaborone

Peace Run in Botswana - Day 2

Our first school of the day is Ithuteng Primary School and the Peace Torch immediately captures the attention of all.

Balarka explains the meaning of the Peace Run, "It started in 1987 and has now visited 160 countries. Our goal is to make every person feel that all of us can live like brothers and sisters and that we are one world family."

Sri Chinmoy, the gentleman in the banner is the founder of the Peace Run, and worked all his life for peace, through sports, music, literature, and art.

Lots of attentive listeners. Well done!

Would you like to play a game to know our team? If you guess all the countries that we're from correctly, we will sing you a song, if not, you sing us a song. Deal?

Good morning everyone. I come from a country in Africa that has another country inside of it.

Yes! South Africa! And the country inside South Africa? Yes! Lesotho!

I know! ! know!

You know where I'm from? Portugal, correct!

And Zimbabwe is also on the team.

Now we will present a skit on what is peace and what is not peace.

Let's hold the torch together. All thumbs up for teamwork.

And now a moment to feel peace inside our hearts.

Here Balarka presents our Peace Run's Certificate of Appreciation as a small token to Ithuteng Primary to acknowledge how grateful we are for the amazing reception today. Thank-you Teacher Petelelo Mangope.

Tafadzwa (Zimbabwe) and Pedja (Serbia) united by the Peace Torch.

Who wants a stamp? I do, I do, I do! We can see this gives both Pedja and all the learners such great joy.

Peace run bookmarks to all the students.

Happy students, and happy teachers!

PEEAAAACE!

Let's run and take the Torch around the world!

New friends from Kensai University in Osaka, Japan, offer a beautiful present to Ithuteng Primary School.

And the Peace runners arrive at another amazing school with very happy students! Hello Ikageng Primary School.

Running into Ikakeng Primary School the team was met by the Head Teacher, Maureen Ketlogetswe. She was so happy to hold the Torch and wanted us to take her picture not just once, but "many, many times!"

And Mrs Kemoope Koogotsitse.

Who both wholeheartedly welcomed the Peace Torch to their school.

As the Peace Torch entered Ikageng Primary the students were called together into the school courtyard surrounded by a small grove of trees sharing some welcome shade with us.

Our team found ourselves well nested in an enclave of learners who continued to crawl forward, ever closer to us until our Peace Runners and the Torch were surrounded on all sides by keen ears and bright eyes. This felt very cosy.

Mrs Maureen Ketlogetswe held the Peace Torch for the entire presentation.

Abhijatri introduced the Peace Run to the learners.

Expressing the significance of having peace within.

And then taking a moment to search for it in themselves.

To make it harder for all, Penny is representing England and it's always fun to hear where everyone guesses she is from.

Sometimes China, sometimes Japan, sometimes Korea and eventually England!

Demonstrating peaceful behaviour!

Pedja inviting everyone to be a part of the team by learning the motto - "Peace begins with me!"

Head Principal Mrs Maureen Ketlogetswe receiving the gift from the Japanese students at Kensai University. It has a lovely quote from the founder of the Peace Run,
"A peaceful world
we can create
by enlarging our hearts." - Sri Chinmoy

Mrs Ketlogetswe was delighted to receive this unexpected gift to her school.

This is the Peace Run certificate, our way of showing gratitude to you for your beautiful reception.

The students then formed a large circle and all got an opportunity to hold the Torch and make their wish for Peace.

Each finding joy in making a wish for peace with the Peace Torch.

As the Peace Torch moved from person to person many hands found the torch.

After all the students held the torch the teachers came up and had their turn.

Everyone was super enthusiastic to have their photos taken and their smiles captured in time.

Saying goodbye, our team then took to the streets to run to the third school of the day.

We all enjoyed running through the town weaving our way to our third school of the day.

Arriving at Boikhutso Primary School with a warm welcome from teacher, Miss Nono Kgamanyane - she has been an instrumental part of the Peace Run in Botswana since 2008 always welcoming us with the warmest of receptions. She has now promised to join the team for the whole day next time it comes to Botswana. We all very much look forward to that day.

A select group of students were at the front gate to welcome the Peace Torch and joined us as we ran in.

All holding their country flags - individually made and coloured in.

The guard of honour waiting for the Peace Torch to arrive.

They all kindly offered to help us holding the banner during the presentation.

All 800 students formed a large circle in their main courtyard. They opened this morning's ceremony by singing their National Anthem.

Stacey spoke about the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run.

And once again, all had a great time guessing our countries.

With some a little easier than others.

The Peace Runners moved around the circle to find the students who had guessed correctly.

The school received artwork from three students in Japan and here Stacey reads out the names of their three new Japanese friends.

Stacey offers Nono a Certificate of Appreciation to Boikhutso Primary school on behalf of the Peace Runners around the world. Thank you Nono and Bhoikhutso Primary for such a warm welcome. Nono wears a Peace Run t-shirt that she had printed specially in 2015 for our previous visit.

Miss Kgamanyane received the artwork from the Japanese Students as well as the Certificate of Appreciation.

Tafadzwa making sure each student knows where peace begins.

The students had taken time to prepare artwork that was displayed around the school with different qualities of peace on them.

Each and every student wanted to make a wish for peace.

Pedja taking the Peace Torch around to all of the students.

Happy smiles and full of peace!

Clifford offering Peace Run balloons to all the students...we think we can all agree that he was quite popular!

Florbela with all her new friends.

Before moving on to our final school of the day, Miss Kgamanyane invited the Peace Run team for refreshments in the library.

Felicia Lekgowe (third from the left) - the School Head welcomed us to her school and took a moment to hold the torch, an all-girls photo together with Miss Kgamanyane (second from right) and Caroline Rammala a fellow teacher (first from left).

As the team departed for the final school we took one last look at the welcome signs for our team, which also showed the previous Peace Run team in Botswana.

Our final school of the day was Tsogang Primary School.

How can anyone not love a swing! We love how this brings out the 7-year old in Florbela. Our turn next.

Botswana is celebrating it's Independence Day on Monday the 30th September, and today we meet with a small group of learners as the school was dismissed earlier than normal for the long weekend break. In many of the schools that we have been to there are several hundred students and we have become used to addressing large groups. In this instance we all find some respite in the grove of a few of the school's trees and it feels more intimate as we are able to interact more closely with the learners.

Stacey presents Ms Masego Moakofi with a message of friendship and artwork from Sosuke, Asuka and Masaki, all Japanese students at Kensai University. Their greeting was written in Setswana, "Dumelang borrale l'omma," which means "Hello ladies and gentlemen."

Everyone would like to be part of our team!

Here everyone forms a circle so that each one can have a turn to hold the Peace Torch and add their wishes for a oneness-world family.

Camping for the night at Camp Itumela in Palapye. Here Stacey is cooking up a hearty vegetarian meal which she whips up in a flash, and the team guzzle down just as fast as it took to make. Soo delicious!

We are on our way to Katima Mulilo in Namibia via Francistown and Kasane.

On the following day we are treated to some amazing African wildlife on our long road journey, including this beautiful giraffe.