Tanzania 7 November: Arusha

Big stadium event, visiting schools

The day started early for the girls team as we departed from our Arusha hotel to meet the boys team at the Arusha Declaration Monument. We now have our full complement of 13 runners, who will also climb with us up Mount Kilimanjaro.

The team was given a police escort for the short run to the Sheik Amri Abeid Stadium, our newest team member and daughter of our climb organizer Andrew , Queen carried the torch the entire distance to the stadium

The Peace Torch and runners were welcomed into the stadium by over 4,000 school children representing ten local Arusha schools. We ran a lap around the stadium track with Queen carrying the torch, then were escorted into the receiving area between the bleachers and facing the performances that were soon to begin.

We were treated to Tanzanian song and dance, gymnastics and traditional Arushan entertainment.

During the performances, the Peace Torch was passed to children around the stadium so everyone would have a chance to offer their prayer for peace.

We were later joined by the District Commissioner John VK Mongella and the Lord Mayor of Arusha Gaudance Kimo.

Later, Torch Bearer awards were presented before we made our way to the first of the schools we would visit today.

We were joined at the monument by many of our guides and porters who ran with us the whole day. We would learn to trust and depend on our new friends over the next 6 days, once our climb began. Meanwhile, they joined us for a full day of running with the Peace Torch.

We had a nice 6k run through the city of Arusha.

our media team

running joy does not depend on shoes:)

The first school, the St. Constantine International School, had arranged all students in rows in the playing field behind the school and were excited to greet us and hear about our international team

After introductions, we received gifts from the kids including many strings of origami peace birds. We wore them proudly as we carried the torch down the rows of kids, giving high fives and a chance for each child the touch the torch and make a wish for peace.

Thank you to Barry Richards and Head Wilf Stout for inviting us to share the Peace Run with the SCIS. We were then on our way down the road to our next stop, the International School of Moshi, in Arusha.

A heartful welcome at ISM

The International School had prepared a greeting and programme for us that included readings, poetry and videos on the subject of peace and friendship.

Before our visit ended, all peace runners were invited to be the first to place our permanent hand prints in a collage of handprints arranged in the letters spelling “Peace” on one of the schoolyard walls.

A paint staging area had been prepared and each runner placed their handprints, then we were followed by all school children.

Thank you to Shannon Howlett for inviting us to be a part of this program and thank you to teacher Maree Raeburn and Head Eanna O’Boyle.

Since our third school was a great distance away, we all squeezed into Andrew’s Jackpot Safari vehicle to make our way to the St. Judes School. St. Jude’s which includes students from poor and orphaned families. Head Shean Gannon met us when we arrived at the end of a very long drive, leading up to the school. The drive was lined with St. Jude students, each spaced at 30 meter intervals. Each student passed the torch from one student to the next, then the others gathered behind to run with the torch.

By the time we reached the schoolyard, it was a mass of youth, excited and cheering. We entered the outdoor covered meeting hall and received the loudest and most enthusiastic welcome yet. It sounded like ten thousand people cheering for peace and for the Peace Torch. The enthusiasm was incredible.

During our presentation, a student held the torch on stage for a certain length, then passed it to another student. When our formal program ended, the students presented us with a program of song and dance. Meanwhile, the passing of the torch held by one student on stage to another continued. They seemed to know what to do without being told.

They honored the torch and the ideal of the torch with silence and strength.

Before our departure, we gave gifts of T-shirts and Awards, dolls and gifts. Thank you to Peter Manjulla and Head Shean Gannon for arranging this great event and warm welcome.

All in all, it was a great day of Peace Run events visiting with thousands of school children.