May 13, 2013 Live from the road

Portland, Vic - Mount Gambier, SA

Reported by Prachar Stegemann, Prasasta Armstrong 159.0 km

Today started with short run into town ...

... before our visit to Portland Primary School.

The Mayor of Glenelg Shire, Cr Karen Stephens, came especially to this school and addressed the children about the significance of the Peace Run and in particular its message that peace begins inside each one of us.

A Certificate was presented ...

... and the Mayor invited all the students outside, to hold the Peace Torch and ask more questions of the running team.

We are so grateful to Mayor Stephens for her wholehearted support of the Peace Run and for bringing her special touch ...

... including the full "Mayoral regalia" to our presentation at Portland Primary.

Meanwhile, Nelson is preparing to start his own school of 'Peace Torch yoga.'

Just as we were about the depart Portland, the Mayor looked to the sky with the ominous warning: "You had better get running before that rain arrives!" ...

... and we did get running, and that rain certainly DID arrive!

It may have been gloomy outside, yet in the van there are many ways to keep our spirits bright ...

"Baa baa, black alpaca..." (is that how the song goes?)

Carrying such a simple and pure message of oneness, it is easy to feel gratitude and humility – both were with us as we were greeted with beautiful landscape, many rainbows and dramatic dark rain clouds.

Team member Abhejali who has swum the English Channel had the opportunity to continue her swimming training in today‘s torrential rain...

... being outside helped her to win a title of the “Best rainbow spotter”.

... later on, the whole team got a free massage from the hail but still managed to see huge Australian trucks.

Ross (reporter) & Elly (photographer) , from the "Portland Observer" caught up to us on the road and wanted to chat with us...

... as it was raining, the only place we could find for the interview was in our somewhat-ramshackle team van at the side of the road as we awaited the arrival of our runner.

Ross had reported on the last visit to Portland of the World Harmony Run just last year. Both Elly and Ross were happy to hold the Peace Torch before returning to Portland.

We feel the heart of Australia through its Nature, and in the people we meet along the road ...

Sunshine and blue skies! (for now...)

On arrival in Mt Gambier, with some time before our next appointment, we headed for the famous Blue Lake. At this time of year, it is more of a grey colour, which changes dramatically to a brilliant blue every year in November. Just as we arrived, an enormous and auspicious rainbow appeared – as though proclaiming the Peace Run's arrival in South Australia.

This afternoon we met with approximately 500+ lively children from Tenison Woods College, Mt. Gambier.

Even though very dynamic, they managed to keep silent during the exercise of feeling peace within their hearts.

The children presented us with their artwork and pledges for peace which we will pass onto the next school.

We love this traveling art exhibition because it fosters connection and oneness between the cities.

Because the Torch needed to stay outside during the presentation for fear it might trigger the fire alarms, Thomas had the job of 'guardian of the flame' ...

... and the Torch did indeed stay outside.

Everyone had their chance to 'make a wish for peace.'

While shopping for our next two full days, we got an amazing and unexpected surprise. Harita was browsing the shelves in Woolworths, Mt. Gambier and all of a sudden, a shop manager approached and offered her a $100 voucher to spend (without even knowing anything about the Run!). Meeting people on the road like Greg fills us with even more gratitude.

Tonight our Peace Run team were guests of the City of Mt Gambier, and were hosted at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Mt Gambier Lakes, held at 'Commodore on the Park'.

First up were pre-meeting drinks ...

... while dinner was served (kindly sponsored for all our runners by the City of Mt Gambier), our runners from many countries got to know some of the Rotary Club members.

The President of the Rotary Club handed over to Steve Perryman, the Mayor of Mt Gambier, who introduced the Peace Run and our team. Steve had previously met the run (then called the World Harmony Run) when it passed through Mt Gambier in 2008, and had run a circuit with our Torch around the Blue Lake.

After the Mayor's speech, our own International Executive Director, Salil Wilson, spoke about the purpose and goals of the Peace Run, and paid homage to the wonderful work and service of the Rotary Clubs, whose motto is "Service above Self." Our team then sang Sri Chinmoy's Peace Run song.

Two local citizens had been nominated by the City Council to receive the Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award. Their citations were read out by the Mayor, and the awards were presented by Sipra Lloyd of the Adelaide Sri Chinmoy Centre, who has been State Coordinator of the Peace Run in South Australia since 1987. The first was to Louise Waters, primarily for her work in establishing and running the Skilled Migrant Welcome Program, a pioneering initiative playing a crucial role in the integration of new arrivals into the Mt Gambier community.

The second Torch-Bearer Award recipient was Jane Turner, Principal of North School in Mt Gambier, where she established a special pilate program teaching English as a Second Language to migrant children, which has become a model for other such programs through Australia.

Prachar Stegemann presented the letter of greeting on the occasion of the Centenary of Canberra from the ACT Chief Minister and Patron of the Peace Run, Katy Gallagher, which was presented to the Mayor, who responded by reading his own letter of congratulation for the Canberra Centenary on behalf of the people of Mt Gambier. Then Certificates of Appreciation were offered to Mayor Perryman and Alex Shanks, President of the Rotary Club of Mt Gambier Lakes.

Our gratitude to Joy and her staff at Central Caravan Park, Mt Gambier, for generously donating acommodaation for some of our girls' team ...

... and to the staff at Econo Lodge Limestone Coast for graciously hosting the remainder of the team. We enjoyed a well-earned rest which was most appreciated!

Torch carried by
Abhejali Bernardová (Czech Republic), Asankita Bell (New Zealand), Bayarkhuu Batbayar (Mongolia), Drishalu Grunstaudl (Austria), Harita Davies (New Zealand), Helena Mazáková (Czech Republic), Nelson Myers-Daly (New Zealand), Oyungerel Seded (Mongolia), Prachar Stegemann (Australia), Prasasta Armstrong (New Zealand), Salil Wilson (Australia), Sipra Lloyd (Australia), Steve Elliott (Australia), Varunavi Glabnikova (Slovakia), Zina Palic (Moldova).  
Prachar Stegemann, Salil Wilson, Steve Elliott
The torch has travelled 159.0 km from Portland, Vic to Mount Gambier, SA.

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