Solomon Islands 8 February: Honiara

A sincere yearning for peace...

Another early start for the Peace Run team this morning...

Our first school was Woodford International School, where we were met by over 100 children between ages 6 and 11.

We act out some theatrical skits and ask the children whether it is Peace or not (Note: this is definitely not Peace, and Nirbhasa should not be enjoying it so much)

Feeling peace in the heart.

We are extremely grateful to Principal Barbara Vollrath from the Netherlands, who has served at the school for 15 years.

And then some of the kids help us on our way to the next event....

...a commmunity Run, starting outside the Honiara City Council offices. We are fortunate to be joined by Maverick Seda, from Pacific Youth against Corruption, and Mike Ariki from Rotary, both of whom quickly endeared themselves to our hearts.

Also on hand we were lucky to have Daniel Kakadi from the Island Sun newspaper running along with us taking photographs the whole way, as well as reporter Carlos Alufurai to interview us.

...and off we go!

Regina Lepping from the UNDP Peace-Building Fund, who was instrumental in putting the Run together, proudly hoists the Solomon Islands flag aloft.

Along the way, we meet Solomon Islanders from all walks of life, all ready to take a moment and make a wish for peace.

(Note: we took a lot of pictures of people holding the Peace Torch today! For more images, you can click on any image to see our 'gallery view')

...also some who joined us for part of the route...

Maverick engaged everyone along the route, asking them to hold the Peace Torch and make a wish for peace.

It was a thrill to Run with the Peace Torch and watch people embrace its simple message - Peace begins with Me.

We make a stop at Central Police Station, where the officers encourage us on our journey.

Solomon Islanders know the value of peace, and everyone we met offered their sincere wishes for harmony between all peoples across the Solomon Islands, and across the world.

At the end of the run in Rove Children's Park we were met by Philip Manakako, also with Pacific Youth Against Corruption.

A group photo with everyone, plus the parks groundsman. In addition to Regina, Maverick, Mike and Philip, we were again very lucky to have Elvis Kikolo, Chief Education Inspector with Honiara City Council, and Glins Clay, Chief Peace Officer with Honiara City Council, with us today.

...and so on to our next stop, St John's Community school just across the road.

We came just as they were about to break for recess - but we joined in the recess, inviting the children to hold the torch, and having some impromptu gatherings to talk about the message of the Run...

...plus of course running with the Peace Torch...

We also invited the ladies who serve food to the children during recess to hold the torch and add their wishes for peace.

...and finally the ceremony begins in earnest!

Doing the actions to our World Harmony Run song!

The Principal reads out the dedication on our Certificate of Appreciation...

..which we present as a small way of saying thank you for having us!

On our way to the next school we dropped by the Family Support Centre to share the Peace Torch with the hard working staff. One of the privileges of being a part of the Peace Run is that we get to meet the people in each country who, through their dedication and sacrifice, are steadily building a better world.

...and then on to Tamlan School, where the children were gathered round in a large circle to greet us...

We did a lot of singing at this school! First we did the World Harmony Song while the students helped us with the actions. Then we sang a song that the Founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy, composed when the Solomon Islands became a Peace Country.

Then the children sang us a beautiful song! And finally (because we asked the children if they thought we were good singers and they very politely said yes) we sang our Peace Run song composed by Sri Chinmoy, which gives us a lot of energy and enthusiasm when we are running!

"A heart of peace easily silences The mind’s confusion tornado." - Sri Chinmoy

Our team member Akrura is from Brazil, and people from the Solomon Islands just love Brazil! The national soccer team has the same colour uniform as the Brazilians do, and the Solomon Islanders cheer Brazil on whenever they play in the World Cup.

The Director of the School concluded our ceremony with a message of thanks and appreciation.

Passing the Peace Torch to the teachers...

...and then time for a run!

Our next stop is a run through the White River community. We start our run at White River police station with all the constables and the Sargeant holding the Peace Torch.

we are enthusiastically joined by the local community...

The rains have been pretty heavy during our visit, but that hasnt dampened our spirits...

We invite the local market vendors to share in our Peace journey...

..and that concluded our running for the day! Glins and Elvis drove us to where we could see the whole city of Honiara, and then we all went for a meal together to share our gratitude and appreciation for a wonderful day. We leave for Papua New Guinea tomorrow, but thankfully we are not finished in the Solomon Islands yet - we still have one more meeting at the airport before we go! See you tomorrow!