Solomon Islands 7 February: Honiara

Sharing Peace with a smile...

Our first school today, St. Nicholas College, had over 600 students waiting for us!

It was wonderful to have such an enthusiastic crowd! Prior to leaving, we had practiced a song in honour of the Solomon Islands composed by the Peace Run Founder, Sri Chinmoy, when the Solomon Islands joined our Peace-Blossom program and became a Peace Country. We sang our newly learned song as well as the World Harmony Run song, and in return the children sang 'Thank you for your Love'. They were extraordinary - it felt like the roof was going to lift off! Their singing embodied both beauty and power.

Somehow, we managed to have all 600 children hold the torch.

We presented one of Sri Chinmoy's artworks, reflecting different aspects of Peace to the headmaster Elison. This painting is on the theme of Tolerance.

After passing around the Torch we finished with a small relay.

On our way out, we were able to thank the Principal, James Lengi, for facilitating our visit.

Our next stop was at Honiara High Shool where we were able to have a deeper discussion on peace with over 100 students.

Joe Bille Oge (in red shirt) the Chief Commissioner of the Solomon Islands Scouting Association joined us again today - he is the chairman of the School Board! We were very lucky to have him as he is flying to Australia today en route to Korea. Here we listen while the principal, Alan Ketei, introduces the runners.

It is raining quite heavily throughout our stay, so a lot of our running is conducted indoors!

Presenting the certificate of appreciation - a small token of our gratitude for being able to come and talk to the students.

From Honiara High school, we ran inland to Tuavaruhu School.

On the way we were able to share the Peace Torch with lots of people...

Due to the heavy rains, many of the students have not made it in time for the start of school. So we had a smaller class of 20 students or so, which was perfect for a more intimate program on Peace.

We start by inviting students to feel peace inside their hearts.

The runners, team members teachers and students then all share what Peace means in their own lives. Glins Clay, the Chief Peace and Reconciliation officer for Honiara City Council, gives a very profound talk on peace and respect.

The principal, Hilda takarobo, shares what Peace means to her - love for her family and for her students.

Some of the senior students share very beautiful and meaningful insights on what Peace means to them. Our photographer, Vaibhava, concluded by suggesting that one powerful way to offer peace is through a smile - that is something we can all do! We will definitely suggest that more in our presentations in future.

On our way out, we are joined by Regina Lepping, who works with the UNDP Peace-Building Fund Project. Regina has been instrumental in setting up our community Run tomorrow.

We stopped at Coronation High School, our last school for the day. Before the program officially started, we were already inviting people to hold the Torch and make a wish for Peace.

The mix of an older and younger class made it interesting! We asked each age group to help us with a different part of our World Harmony Run song, doing the actions that go with the words.

The Principal is all encouragement....

"Peace is everywhere, But it is most powerful in a silence-heart." - Sri Chinmoy, Peace Run Founder

And of course, time for a run around the school....

The Deputy Principal takes some time to hold the Peace Torch.

So good by to Coronation School and on to our next appointment...

But first we have to pick up a quick lunch - some fruits at the local market...

We had a radio interview scheduled at Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) but first we were privileged to share the torch with some of Solomon Islands beloved veteran journalists! Elvis Kikolo, the Education Inspector for Honiara City Council who has played an indespensible role in organising schools for us, also joins us for this photo.

Priscilla Ragu hosts the morning show between 6 and 11.

She is extremely good at her job - getting people to talk about what they love!

We have to dash through the rain to get to the interview room...

We were interviewed by Lowen Sei, who asked very kind and insightful questions.

Regina and Priscilla are good friends...

Our next stop was at Paoa FM, to be interviewed by....Georgina, Regina's twin sister!

George, who was also interviewing us for the Solomon Star, couldnt resist a selfie.

We later found out that this interview was picked up by some other stations as well.

...and that was the last appointment of the day! Due to the excellent organising of our Pacific Islands co-ordinator, Stacey Marsh, we had so many ceremonies and contacts that we had run out of certificates and had to get some more printed here in the Solomons! After we had done that, and sorted out a few other organising tasks, all our team members - including Glins, Elvis and Regina - met up for a meal. Let's see what tomorrow will bring...