Tanzania 6 November: Arusha

Visiting schools an region commissioners of Arusha

The day started early when we all met at the Arusha Monument to make our way over to the first meeting of the day at the Kaloleni Primary School. We were greeted by hundreds of children all chanting Mwenge Mio, “Peace Torch”.

Our kind host Nafisa Maruma translated from Swahili for everyone and Aklilu seemed to be easily understood by all, even though he was speaking in English

All runners were introduced by country and were happy to then teach the students the motto of the Peace Run, “Peace begins with me”.

At the end of the ceremony, the Torch was passed around circle of students before we made a quick retreat to be on time for our next meeting.

Andrew and some of his guides from Jackpot Safaris not only drove us to our next meeting with the Regional Commissioner of Arusha but also accompanied us into the meeting and spent the entire day with us.

The runners were greeted enthusiastically by Magesa Mulongo, Arusha Regional Commissioner.

Commissioner Mulongo understood the goal and vision of the Peace Run immediately and said many exceptional things about it. He said, “You are carrying a big challenge, this is a very important symbol of peace. I am sending my sincere gratitude to you all. You are trying the save the lives of people and the lives of children. You are bringing this message all around the world. I bring you greetings from the leader of Tanzania. I assure you it will be a successful event.”

Magesa then ran with the Torch was a short while to send us off to our second school meeting of the day.

We were excited to have Mwanvita O’Okegn’o, the Regional Officer of Games and Sports and Godfrey Mollal, the Arusha City Sports Councilor join us in the van as we departed to make our way to the second school meeting of the day at St. Constantine’s International School.

We were greeted by young students between three and seven years old at the International School who gave a special greeting in many languages. The chairs set aside for us while the children sang each had a bottle of water with a special message attached, welcoming us to the school.

Each class then sang a song with different themes including welcome, happiness and friendship. The International School includes students from as diverse a background as our current Peace Run team, which includes members from eleven countries. Most of the songs sung by the students focused on friendship and how a friend will be there in times of need.

After the runners introduced themselves, sang the World Harmony Run song and shared a moment of peace with the students, our kind host Loretta Rapa, head of the school lead the students outside to hold the torch and run with it around the school yard.

We were happy to be able to share the Peace Run not only with the students but with the many parents and teachers who also attended. Just before it was time to move on to the next school, we were given many letters and pictures on peace and friendship which the students asked that we pass along to the students in the next school we visited.

We quickly made our departure and made our way to the next school, the Majumbusho Pirmary School. We were again greeted by hundreds of kids who formed a mass of humanity around the Peace Torch as it was carried by teacher Sylvester Barabas through the school yard.

As I ran along behind the torch, my hands were tightly held by a number of young students who didn’t release them until it was time to leave. They ran with me to the gate and only then said their goodbyes and let go of my hands

Frida Kimei made the final run with a group of students before we again made our departure. Since we were short on time, we had only a small window of time with the Majumbusho School but it was a wonderful enthusiastic group of young people who chanted Mwenge Mio as we arrived and when we left.

Since the International School of Moshi was quite far away, we settled in to make the drive. We were then joined by many of our guides for our Mount Kilimanjaro summit attempt to begin in two days. It was a merry group of people who made the drive to Moshi from Arusha.

The students of the Moshin International School greeted us enthusiastically and learned that Scott Hawkins P5-6 students were currently learning about peace and conflict resolution.

When asked what peace meant them, various students contributed their thoughts of harmony, respect and caring.

After singing both the Peace Run and the Harmony Run song, we went outside to give everyone to have a chance to hold the torch.

When our host Totty Aris, learned that we were climbing Kilimanjaro, she was excited to tell us that she would also be climbing with a group of students, beginning just before us. We might possibly meet up on the mountains. She shared with us that one of the practices of the International School is to use a progression of levels to help students attempt and succeed at a Mount Kilimanjaro summit climb. The students who want to climb may begin their first days on Mount Kili as early as 11 years of age.