Palau 28 September: Koror Island

An auspicious beginning

To begin the Peace Run in Palau the team was joined by our host, Orchid from the Department of Schools – the department that organised all the school visits for today.

Koror Elementary School was the first school today, only a few hundred metres from our team’s accommodation.

Running into the school we were greeted by 700 cheering students in their outdoor hall.

Harashita Sunaoshi from Japan, introduced the Peace Run to the school.

With only 5 of the team we needed help from the students and had 6 students come up to hold both the Peace Run banner and also the flags.

The students all loved the guessing game and we were so impressed that they guessed all of our countries correctly.

All 700 students fell silent to take a moment to feel peace in their hearts.

The Principal Mayleen came up to receive the Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the school, before forming into a few large circles for all the students to hold the Peace Torch.

One student was selected from each grade to come up and run on behalf of the school around the grounds three times.

Running out to the cheers of the students, we made out way to the second school of the day...

... Meyuns Elementary School.

Arriving to the school, looking out over the ocean took all of our breaths away.

Meeting the students in the Cafeteria, Harashita once again spoke about the beginning of the Peace Run.

They all enthusiastically guessed our countries and learnt the World Harmony Run song with us.

Abhejali Bernadova from Czech Republic and Harashita demonstrated what it was like to be peaceful and not so peaceful, in two fun skits.

Otis Davis from the USA presented the Certificate of Appreciation before all the students filed out to hold to Torch.

Once the students had taken their moment of Peace with the Peace Torch, we all made our way to their sports ground...

Once everyone arrived we took a lap around the sports field together.

... still with amazing views of the ocean.

A group photo to finish and we were soon off again to make it to our third school of the day ...

... G. B. Harris Elementary School.

This school welcomed us with a dance routine. One of the students came up to start with and introduced it, saying in part:

“…with the deep words being sung by the artists, we sense peace and love that we hope will spread all over the world, thank you…”

All the students were so engaging and picked the countries so fast ...

... taking a moment of Peace both with their hands on their heart and spreading the joy of living in Paradise to all the corners of the world.

Principal Emul received the Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the school.

All the teachers were called up to have a photo with the Peace Torch before running around the students, giving everybody there so much joy.

Following the teachers’ example, the senior three grades of the school took up the Torch and ran it around the Hall.

Farewelling this joyful school the Peace Run team made our way to our final school for the day ...

... crossing the famous Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge on the way between two of the islands...

... to Airai Elementary School, where we were met by all the students in the hall.

Otis led the team in for a lap around the students ...

... before we introduced the Peace Run to them.

They lent their voices to sing the World Harmony Run Song and took great joy in learning the actions.

Ms Theresa Iliau, one of the teachers, came to receive the Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the school.

Talking to the students we heard so many of them loved to run and could not let that opportunity go by.

Afterwards each of the students took a moment of peace with the Peace Run Torch.

We gathered to run down their sports field and back. With all their enthusiasm it was a fast joyful run.

We gathered one more time to have a group photo. The students then had to leave and go back to class. Taking a moment to speak to some of the team, Harashita learnt that some of them were fluent in Japanese!

Her Excellency Ambassador Hyatt kindly welcomed the Peace Run team to the US Embassy. Taking the time to learn about the Peace Run and our activities in Palau she kindly in turn spoke of her time here in Palau and spoke in such a heartfelt way that I believe the whole team took away a stronger feeling of love for Palau that has already grown over the last few hours in this beautiful hidden treasure.

Orchid our kind host for the day then took us 'under the bridge' where many people swim and also where the team will be going on Sunday.

Looking out over the clear ocean on a perfect day was an ideal ending to our day’s activities.

This evening the team went to the Independence Day Night Market, to experience the Palauian way of life, meeting many wonderful locals and picking up some local food for the next few days. This is one of the many activities that is planned in the lead up to their Independence Day Celebration on Monday.

We arrived after dinner and the MC kindly allowed us on stage to speak about the Peace Run and invite all the people there to hold the torch, and come to the Public Peace Run event tomorrow morning at 5.30am!

The girls team spent the next hour and half walking around the Market with the Peace Torch while everybody came up to hold it.

The President of the Senate who also took time to come and hold the Peace Torch.

Many students from the day remembered us and the Peace Run motto and one student even remembered where we all came from.

Just as the market was closing it was announced again to come to the Peace Run tomorrow morning.

We look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!