Belgium 2 July: Champlon - Liege

Making Peace birds with the children

It was a cool and fresh start in the morning as the team commenced running from last night's accommodation at Auberge de Jeunesse de Champlon. It was ideal running conditions as we ran through the forest.

Today the team was to experience and meet people who have been displced by war, conflicts and repression in their own countries. Our first meeting of the day was at a refugee Centre d'accueil Couleurs du monde in Rendeux.

Here we met people displaced from Iran, Sudan, Chile, Syria, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

The passing of the Peace Run torch felt even more significant to these people as they had fled their home countries in search for a more peaceful and harmonious life.

All nations come togther in friendship, goodwill and in hope that peace will reign.

Now Belgium is their home country.

All come together as one family.

The second visit of the day was the refugee camp in Hotton where the children avidly awaited us with balloons and wonderful smiles.

The children presented us with paper flowers to lay on the ground where a peace bird had been drawn.

All the children from different countries are united.

Let's all come together.

Now it was time to make our Peace birds.

The look of concentration!

Our Serbian runner, Namitabha was very proud of his Peace bird.

This young girl with such a sweet smile was so grateful that one of the runners presented it to her.

After our running we all came together for the group photo.

Thank you so much for all the people at Hotton refugee camp that made the visit so special and memorable. We will always treasure your smiles, your kindess and generosity of spirit. Despite the adversities these people have endured the overwhelming feel we got from them was one of hope for a better future here in Belgium.
Also a huge thank you for the Syrian sweets made especially for us by one Libyan lady. We could taste they had been made with so much love. They were so delicious and fuelled our running all the way to Liege.

We next visited the Hari Krishna temple at Petite Somme (Durbury) Radhadesh (www.radhadesh.com)

It was once a chateau.

The circle of life.

Abhinabha from the Netherlands joins the international team to take over the role of team captain.

The torch is passed from person to person ...

The Peace Run torch lights everyone up.

We are taken on a brief tour.

A very impressive building.

Time to run to the third refugee centre of the day.

We met young people at the refugee centre La Jastree in Barvaux.

They had all come a long way from their home countries to escape war, conflict and persecution.

Despite what these young people have experienced in eventually getting to safety in Belgium their smiles are full of hope for a better and safer future.

They sang a rousing and moving rendition of the Afghanistan national anthem.

All smiles of hope and oneness.

They relished the opportunity to run with us.

Now how do we run the final 45km to Liege?

What's better to work it out: good old fashioned maps or GPS?

Evening light as we run through the suburbs of Liege.
It had been a very moving and unforgettable day meeting so many different people from different countries. It reminded us how grateful and lucky we are to live our lives in countries where there is no war or conflicts.