Namibia 13 September: Swakopmund
Namibia 13 September: Swakopmund
Day 2 of the Peace Run and we have arrived in Swakopmund. It's a lovely coastal city located approximately 280km west of Windhoek.
Our first school of the day was Namib Primary School for an early 7:20am assembly with the whole school.
Our team is greeted by the principal, Mr Vahl (on the far right). Mr Vahl, a big-hearted man with an infectious love for the children in his school, was very enthusiastic about our proposed visit from the moment we first approached him. It was obvious to us that the ideals of the Peace Run, to foster oneness and peace among and between all peoples of the world, are very much a part of the teaching philosophy of this school.
While we wait for the children to be seated in the hall the teachers of Namib Primary take the opportunity to hold the Peace Torch.
Along with all the teaching staff, these two volunteers from Germany enthusiastically held the Torch and shared their own good will for peace.
Abhijatri then introduces the Peace Run and talks briefly about what peace is to the teachers and learners.
Penny, Cliff and Shree then perform a skit for the school showing the practical application of peace amongst friends (the sit was very well received!).
Each member of the team then invites the learners to guess his or her country of origin through some inventive clues.
Shree then leads everyone in a short exercise to show how each one of us can feel peace in our heart.
A group of learners then assemble on the stage and present to us a very inspired and powerful performance on the theme of "what is peace?".
We are also given a beautiful a cappella performance of the Peace Run song from a group of learners.
At the conclusion of our presentation, Penny presents Mr Vahl with a print of Sri Chinmoy's entitled, "Sow the Seed of World Harmony".
Normally we try to give all the learners and teachers an opportunity to hold the Peace Torch so that each of their wishes can add to the sentiment for a better and more peaceful world. On this occasion, we had to rush to meet the mayor for an 8:15am appointment so only the a capella singers got to hold the torch, with Abhijatri passing it around.
While signing the register to meet The Honorable Paulina Nashilundo at the Swakopmund Muncipality office, we add a further wish for peace when the Peace Torch is held at the reception desk.
This is the office where we met The Honorable Paulina Nashilundo and two of her Councillors, Kleopas Jason Ngwena and Assertha Marsh.
The Honorable Paulina Nashilundo and her Councillors, Assertha Marsh (left) and Klopas Jason Ngwena (right).
We present a print of a painting by Sri Chinmoy titled, "Love", to The Honorable Paulina Nashilundo to thank her for meeting with us to share the spirit of the Peace Run with her.
We are especially thankful to Immaculata Ortner for arranging our meeting with The Honorable Mayor and Councillors.
Even the cooking crew at canteen of the Municipality of Swakopmund office are keen to hold the torch for peace.
Next we visited Vrede Rede Primary School. The words "Vrede Rede" is Afrikaans for "Peace Reason"...how apt!
While the learners assemble in the foyer of the school, Mr Dlamini, the principal gives us a short tour around the school grounds.
Mr Dlamini tells us that they also prepare soup every morning in this kitchen so that children don't go hungry and come to school. They hope to eventually use produce from the vegetable garden to supplement the soup kitchen initiative. How inspiring!
As the team join the learners in the foyer we are welcomed by the vibrant symphony of singing and clapping by the learners, "Day by day we will follow Jesus Christ." The richness of their voices warms our hearts instantly!
At our next school, Swakop Primary School, Abhijatri gives a radio and newspaper interview before our meeting with the learners.
The rest of the team is welcomed by an entourage of learners who line the entrance to the school with drawings of doves and who later recite poetry on peace.
Mr Tjomuinjo, the principal shared an inspiring message with the learners that touched all our hearts. He said that even though the learners may think they're small and may sometimes ask themselves, "What can I do?" he said that we can all make a difference in our own way to make our school, family, and world a better and peaceful place.
Abhijatri presents a print of a painting by Sri Chinmoy on the theme of "love" to Mr Tjomuinjo for Swakop Primary School.
The best part of the programme for the children...to run with the Peace Torch, a 1km loop around the school grounds.
Mr Tjomuinjo holding the Peace Torch for the children to see. It is clear to us that there is mutual respect and care between him and all the children.
Annemarie presented each member of the team with a humming bird badge, which she explains is in recognition of the contribution that we all make towards a better world. Needless to say, we were very grateful for this heartfelt honour.
After our programme of visiting schools was over, we had a couple of hours to explore Swakopmund. Swakopmund is on the route of the cold Benguela sea current that begins near Antarctica flowing northwards along the west coast of Southern Africa, so despite our best intentions we weren't brave enough to go in for a dip!
Flamingoes can be seen throughout this part of Namibia's coast and a small flock of both lesser and greater flamingoes was in residence close to our campsite.