Palau Independence Day…
State Dinner with the President…
A day of sports and good food…
An auspicious beginning…
Today the 24th annual boat race was held, a race which is significant because it was first held on the origianl Palau Independence Day. Speed boats from around Palau come and compete, racing through the bridge with spectators lining both sides of the Bridge and on the boats around.
The girls team started the day running to the boat race, it was a quick but HOT 5km run to the bridge.
Arriving about an hour before the start of the race, the team took this time to meet some of the many locals who had come to watch the race.
Meeting the local bike group, the President of the group greeted us and said 'Oh so you are peace movement that is here, welcome to Palau.'
With about 30 minutes before the start of the race, Minister Temengil introduced the Peace Run and encouraged all to hold the torch and make their wishes for peace, along with the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs who assisted greatly in organsing the event.
After walking around offering the Torch, the team was taken to the officials area and the place where the MC was based. Here the torch was held by Frank Kyota – President of the Palau National Olympic Committee and Senator ...
... before passing the Torch onto another Senator and then it was passed to all who were there. With seconds to go before the start of the race the President of the Olympic Comittee encouraged again all to hold the Peace Torch and announced the race to begin.
He also told us the meaning of Palau is
This young girl remembered us from the visit we had at her school, she came running towards us and started hugging everyone for coming to promote peace in her country.
Making our way back to the Ministry’s tent we were then taken to the Capitol to see where we would be presenting the Ceramic Plates tomorrow during the Independence Day Celebration.
Here we met Director Melson Miko from the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs who assisted greatly in creating this event here in Palau.
With only a short time to spare before we needed to return for the State Dinner, Minister Temengil took us down to the village to first meet members of her family ...
... and also meet with the high chief Reklai who is also one of the traditional leaders of Palauan people.
This was the official dinner for all of the Diplomatic community who are either based in Palau or who had come to Palau for their Independence Day Celebration, along with members of the Government and invited guests.
Permanent Representative of Palau to the United Nations, Ms. Ngedikes Olai Uludong came to meet the team. Ambassador Uludong kindly introduced the Peace Run to the Government of Palau back in May and through this introduction the Peace Run was able to come to Palau. Ambassador Uludong is also a runner – a marathon runner even, and it was a thrill to finally have the opportunity to thank her in person for all her work for the Peace Run.
Charles Reklai Mitchell – Minister-Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of Palau to Japan is also here.
The President came to the front to first thank all of the people there for coming to be a part of their Independence Day and expressed his gratitude to them all, talking about the work that has been done in Palau recently.
We were fortunate to be able to present the Torch-Bearer Award to His Excellency Tommy Remengesau, Jr., the President of the Republic of Palau. Stacey introduced the Peace Run and spoke of our time here in Palau then Abhejali came to the podium to speak about the President:
“Your Excellencies, it is our great honour and privilege to present the Torch Bearer award to His Excellency Tommy Remengesau, Jr., the President of the Republic of Palau.
"For the people of Palau to re-elect him 4 times shows he really keeps his promise to work hard to preserve what is best in Palau and improve the rest, for today and for generations to come. He helped Palau’s transition to an independent country 24 years ago and that is a reason why we are all gathered here today.
"From our visit to Palau we can see he is people’s president – we have heard only words of praise about him wherever we came.
"Under his visionary leadership, many great things have been accomplished and will be accomplished, as we heard today. He is a leader in nature conservation and environmental sustainability not only for Palau, but also for the entire world. Palau is showing the world that even a small country can be a torch bearer for the world, and His Excellency is leading the way.
"He inspires people by his example and his humility, and we are very happy to present him with this award today.”
Otis Davis presented the award to the President who then came to the microphone to say:
“Thank you and let me accept the Peace Torch on behalf of the people of Palau. In Palau we say no one person can lift up a heavy load, we have to carry our share of the load to make things happen. So this torch is for the people of Palau to carry to tradition. Thank you.”
There were other people who then added their wishes for peace in the world by holding the Peace Torch, including:
Minister of State Ms Faustina K. Rehuher-Marugg ...
Traditional Dancers who performed for the guests during the night came to hold the torch. The colours of the different skirts represented the different clans they belonged to. Their powerful voices took our breaths away.