marts 8, 2024 Live from the road


Reported by Brahmata Michael

We began the day with an early run on beautiful Miami Beach.

We ran in to our first ceremony accompanied by the cheers of the students from Natural Bridge Elementary School in North Miami.

They had prepared flags with peace messages on them.

We asked the students, "What are some other words for peace?"

Their answers included friendship, calm, kindness, love...

Then we asked, "Where can you find peace inside of yourself?"

They answered, "In your heart."

So, we took a few moments to feel peace in our hearts.

Marina taught everybody our motto: "Peace begins with me".

Then it was time for the children to guess where the team members come from. Would you like to guess too?

Marina comes from a place with delicious foods like kimchi and bibimbap. It is also the birthplace of the famous music group BTS.

***Answers will follow at the bottom of the page***

Hola! Santiva comes from the country with the best tacos in the world! Can you guess where she is from?

Dave hails from a state that is "round on the ends and 'hi' in the middle", can you guess where he is from?

Brahmata comes from a country to the north where people love to play ice hockey. Where is she from?

David is from Florida, but what city is he from? "Where would you go to see a Magic game?"

Where Banshidhar is from, there is an expression: "Everything you do, do with aloha (love)." He taught us all how to dance the hula together with aloha! Which island is he from?

Since they guessed all of the places correctly, we sang them a song and they helped us out by doing the actions for the World Harmony Run song.

Lending a helping hand is a good way to spread peace. If someone falls down, we help them up!

Time to RUN!

We handed out Peace Run cards featuring photos from different countries.

Everyone got to hold the Peace Torch!

An impromptu dance party broke out- these kids have some great moves!

We are so grateful to the children for all of their artwork and poetry for peace.

Principal Melissa Mesa receives the Certificate of Appreciation.

The teachers at this school were wonderful. They call Natural Bridge Elementary a "hidden gem"and we wholeheartedly agree!

Our next stop was Enchanted Forest Park.

Durjaya said a few words about Ms. Lola Heasley, who is an Environmental Educator and Park Naturalist.

Lola received the Torch-Bearer Award for her work in educating children and adults alike and giving them an appreciation for the natural world.

We did our usual program of the guessing game, singing and passing the torch.

Singing the Peace Run song!

Drishti and Durjaya were the local organizers for the Miami Peace Run. The team thanks them for their hard work and hospitality.

Drishti led us into our next ceremony at Presbyterian Elementary School.

Santiva, our excellent spokesperson, talked about creating peace at school. It starts within yourself, then spreads to your friends and family members, then to your school and community and finally to the world at large. Peace has a ripple effect.

We continued with the country guessing game. Manini comes from a country that is shaped like an "S" and is located South of China. Where is she from?

David taught the children our motto. They really demonstrated their lung capacity, while yelling it loud enough for the whole state of Florida to hear!

We taught them the song "Your Heart is as Beautiful as the Rainbow" by Peace Run founder, Sri Chinmoy, and we all signed the words in ASL as well.

Time for the skits. Oh no, Marina is cheating! She is pulling Santiva back so that she can win the race. Thumbs down!

Yay! After David took a spill, his friends carried him the rest of the way. Thumbs up!

The next stop of the day was the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus.

We were struck by the impressive display of national flags in the building, reflecting the diverse population of students and faculty.

Unity in diversity.

We held our Peace Run ceremony on the rooftop.

Some of the students created art for the event.

The Torch-Bearer Award was given to Ms. Kiki (Christine) Mutis for her work as an environmental educator and peace networker. She is the director of the Centre for Public Engagement and Democracy at Miami Dade College.

Even in our short time with her we could feel her passion and her big heart. It was also palpable how beloved and respected she is by her colleagues and students.

Jennifer Suarez, Model United Nations Head Delegate, said that peace comes from an understanding and a sense of empathy that we have for one another. She expressed that her experience at the Wolfson campus has allowed her to meet people from many different ethnicities and diverse backgrounds, which is something very close to her heart.

Professor Eric Belokon of Miami Dade College offered some insightful words. He said that the Peace Centre has an acronym:

Personal Enrichment And Collective Empowerment

He continued, "Peace is something we make. Peace is something we do. It's not something that we ask for or we wait for. I always encourage the students and everybody to create peace from within to without."

Santiva spoke about the Peace Run and about the team's week of events in Florida.

The team members introduced themselves and said the word "peace" in their native languages.

A Peace Corps volunteer was invited to speak about her experience.

Kiki led us all on a "Peace Walk" around campus, stopping at points of interest along the way.

We stopped in front of a statue of a bull. Kiki commented that the bull is the symbol of business and prosperity and that business is not separate from peace, as long as it is guided by social responsibility, equity, fair wages and environmental responsibility.

We did a little running too!

A piece of the Berlin Wall is displayed on campus. Kiki explained that around the time of her high school graduation the wall came down, uniting east and west Germany and so many people that had been separated for years. The wall serves as a powerful reminder of how precious unity is.

Dr. Beatriz Gonzales, President of Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus, joined the peace walk for a few moments and held the torch.

Durjaya and Drishti treated the team to a delcious Indian meal, a great way to end a great day in Miami!

*** Guessing game answers here!***

From left: Arpan from New York, Dave from Ohio, Brahmata from Canada, David from Orlando, Tilvila from Tampa Bay, Banshidhar from Hawaii, Marina from Korea, Durjaya from Miami, Drishti from Miami and Santiva from Mexico.

Not pictured here: Alakanada from Ukraine, Antana from Canada, Manini from Vietnam.

Torch carried by
Alakananda Lebedev (United States), Antana Locs (Canada), Arpan DeAngelo (United States), Banshidhar Medeiros (United States), Brahmata Michael (Canada), David Morrison (United States), David Morrison Snr. (United States), Drishti Pilske (United States), Durjaya Pilske (United States), Manini Nguyen (United States), Marina Pak (Russia), Santiva Morrison (United States), Tilvila Hurwit (United States).  
Alakananda Lebedev

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