Tanzania 18 October: Arusha Clock Tower - Arusha Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium
With 800 Kids from 5 Schools to Arusha Stadium
Link to the TV report: https://youtu.be/fahoCYabJk0
Today was not so much a Peace Run as a Peace Parade. The question was -- would it rain on our parade? Undaunted by the weather we set out as a team for the Clock Tower in downtown Arusha ready to meet up with local schoolchildren who were going to join us for a march through town to the Sheikh Amri Abeid Memorial Stadium.
Arriving at 8am we were the only ones at the meeting point! Most of us opted for jackets but Vasanti kept the rain off with a Kilimanjaro bush hat. We were starting to wonder if the schools had been deterred by the weather.....
Kepha is a local trekking and safari guide who knows the Peace Run well from our visit to Arusha and Kili climb 6 years ago. He was all set to be our flag bearer on the parade.
After half an hour of sheltering from the rain we heard the sound of a band, and the local schoolchildren marched round the corner to join us. We had a parade!
Soon it was a parade of several hundred, from several diffferent schools and faith groups....all marching together with the Peace Torch leading the way.
The parade really filled the street! Luckily Arusha locals are used to traffic jams so there were no complaints about us blocking the road....
Andrew Malalika was our MC for the day, introducing the Peace Run and the famous world figures who have held the Peace Torch. He was also our kiswahili-english translator for the ceremony.
And share a moment of silence with the children. Our inner-peace exercise is very simple. 1. You put your hand on your heart...
2. You close your eyes and feel your heartbeat, leaving behind the restlessness and worry of the mind....
3. Then you feel your heart's peace spreading out to others...in the stadium, in the city of Arusha, in the whole of Tanzania, and finally the whole world!
Our guest of honour, Anthony Mushi (Regional Education Officer, Primary Schools) spoke eloquently on the meaning of Peace.
Pastor Pius Steven passed the torch among the children so they all had a chance to touch or hold it.
Vasanti with Queen and Helen Malalika - Queen was one of the main Torch Bearers in 2013 in Arusha, when she was a kid of 7!
We presented Pastor Pius Steven of the Naioth Gospel Assembly with a certificate of appreciation from the Peace Run for all his help throughout our time in Tanzania. He has been travelling with us and looking after us and is a really enthusiastic supporter of the run.
Bishop Nassan Ngoy Ngoy received the Torch Bearer Award for his work for Peace with PSEDO (Peace Strengthening Ecomomic Derivative Organisation).
Andrew Malalika of Jackpot Safaris also received the Torch Bearer award - his support for the Peace Run over many years has been exceptional.
It's thanks to Andrew and his family and staff that the Peace Torch has been to the summit of Kilimanjaro!
Our thanks to the Kaloleni Primary School for supporting the Peace Run and taking part in today's event.
We also want to offer our appreciation and thanks to the Levolosi Primary School for being Peace Run team members for the day!
Our third Torch Bearer Award went to Mwamvita O. Okengo'o, Games and Sports Officer, for her tireless work supporting and organising Peace Run and sports events in Arusha. We look forward to working with Mwamvita in years to come!
The media were keen to learn more about the Peace Run and the day's events. Local reporters and TV interviewed our guest of honour Anthony Mushi (pictured) and our German Peace Runner Vasanti Niemz.
After all the excitement it was time to head home through the streets - the heavy rain had held off once again and we'd only had to contend with a bit of drizzle. Someone is taking care of the weather for us here in Arusha!