Belgium 13 August: Namur - Ghent

"Peace Is Here And Now"

A long day today, running from East to West in Belgium.

This is what the Peace Run is all about.

Our first meeting took place at the city hall of Wavre, in the French speaking part of Belgium.

It rained.

Jozef somehow looks so small here...

We presented the Peace Run to the city council of Wavre.

The vice mayor, Mrs. Anne Masson, received the Peace Torch on behalf of the community.

She gave a glowing speech about the importance of peace and the significance of the Peace Run. "Peace is not only the absence of war," Mrs. Masson said. "Peace is here and now. Peace, as you say, reveals the absolute excellence of our humanity."

Our photographer Jozef climbed up some steps in order to make this picture, and then fell off as he pressed the shutter. He insisted on us putting it in the report.

"The Peace Run reminds us that the world is one big family," she continued. "Each world citizen can transform it if he starts with himself, to play his role in inspiring and offering the example towards more harmony and joy."

We presented Mrs. Masson and the city of Wavre a painting by Peace Run founder Sri Chinmoy, who was a prolific artist as well.

We were all very deeply moved by Mrs. Masson's soulful speech.

The other council members also held the Torch and made their peace wishes.

This statue is located just outside the city hall of Wavre. The story goes that if you touch his buttocks, it brings good luck. Let's just say we didn't want to tempt fate.

All the council members joined in a short symbolic run.

It was a very successful meeting and we promised we will return in the future.

Mrs. Masson presented us with an insightful book on the city history and culture. It even included recipes to local dishes!

On to our next stopover in Belgium's capital: Brussels.

The Leopold Parc in Brussels, just behind the European Parliament, houses a Sri Chinmoy Peace Tree, dedicated in 1991.

With a few local runners we enjoyed a Moment's Peace at the Sri Chinmoy Peace Tree.

Peace, as we all know, is followed by joy!

Afterwards we went for a short run around the park.

Other locals also held the Torch.

We enjoyed a sumptuous lunch, prepared by our friends from Brussels.

This young boy held the torch on the way to Ghent.

A local lady lends her support to peace.

In Ghent we met with runners from KRC Gent, one of the local athletic clubs.

Before we started our run together the Torch was passed from hand to hand.

All these kids practice running, jumping and throwing three to four times a week!

On of the club's athletes won a silver medal in the 10,000 metres at the European Championships this week.

The runners took us for a 6K run through the centre of Ghent.

The pace was a little quicker than on usual group runs!

Ghent is a beautiful city, home to three large cathedrals.

We ended up on their athletic track, where we ran a final lap.

Other runners also held the Torch.

Grahak made some new friends.

Our gratitude to the club's president Peter Robbens (center, holding our certificate) for organizing the meeting!