Tonga 4 April: Nuku'alofa

Farewell to our Tongan family

Watch highlights from today.

Karni, our youngest team member for the day who ran most of the distance with us – he was on the team with his father, brother and sister. A proud Tongan!

Our local Peace Run team expanded with the addition of 3 badminton players, seamlessly fitting in with the runners from yesterday.

The first school of the day, Tailulu College had done some homework on the Peace Run. As the team entered the students were chanting ‘Peace begins with me’.

After our singing we asked them to sing. They brought their brass band down to the front row and sang very powerfully.

A demonstration of a "peaceful" action.

At the end of the presentation they enthralled us again, singing while the torch was being passed around.

George from 87.5FM Radio was back with a sound technician, to broadcast live the Peace Run internationally as well as all over Tonga.

The final student at the school to hold the Peace Torch passing it back to Atamaama – Shot put champion and fellow Peace Runner.

Running between the schools is another enjoyable experience in Tonga. The cars are forced to the side of the road until the Peace Run has passed, however the motorists here just happily wave to the runners who have caused a delay.

At Liahona High School the team was welcomed with a soulful hymn and prayer. In the Principal’s address she said ‘… like Christ, the prince of peace, we all try to be peace makers in our homes and communities.’

As the Peace Torch was passed around, the students sang.

To conclude the students all sang a song to show their appreciation for the Peace Torch coming to their school.

Onto the next destination.

At Tonga College we found hundreds of boys waiting for the Peace Run in their large covered open area.

After we sang they responded with the powerful school chants that many schools are currently practising for upcoming inter school sporting competitions.

The Principal Kalafitoni Latu stated she found the visit was very appropriate given “this is the only thing we desperately need, peace as individuals – we want to win but we want peace”.

While the torch was passed around, a Tonga Television crew interviewed some of our Peace Run team, included Mr Onetoto Anisi. They had heard of the Peace Run on the radio and wanted to be involved. The camera man followed the run and filmed on the road and at the next school, Beulah College.

Back on the road!

Arriving at the next school ...

... a most cheerful and beautiful welcome was received at Beulah College, where the Principal suggested that although the torch will be held only for a moment “it will be held in our hearts for a lifetime”.

The students at this Seventh Day Adventist School sang with such feeling, songs including ‘Amazing Grace’ in both English and Tongan.

As the Peace Run ran into the final school of the day, some of the younger students were lined up outside their school to welcome the Peace Torch as it entered the school grounds.

Tupou College, a boarding school for boys, was the former school of two of our senior local team members. This school is the oldest school in Tonga, established in 1866.

The team approached through the extensive grounds to reach the hall at the back of the school where the students were all gathering.

As the Peace Run team waited for the students to assemble, we took a quick moment to snap a photograph on our last day together.

As in previous schools these boys were very good singers and sounded so powerful.

They could also be very quiet for the Peace exercise.

As our final presentation in Tonga we had parting words from Education Officer Feleti, and the CEO of Ministry of Internal Affairs Dr. Fotu Fisiiahi spoke compellingly about the Peace Run. The ceremony was concluded with a prayer and blessings from Vice Principal Sam Fonua.

Before our friends from the Ministries whisked us on to the airport we farewelled our Tongan Peace Run team members, the core of which were the Tongan Olympic team.

Then the final, very grateful farewells to our friends form the Ministries at the airport: a bitter-sweet moment as the Peace Run departs the Kingdom of Tonga – for now.