We flew into Vanuatu, arriving in early afternoon to begin our Southern Hemisphere Peace Run in earnest.
Our driver holds the torch. The mechanics of being in a new country took up a little time, acquiring local currency and sim cards, getting a lift to the car hire place and then settling into our lovely accommodation at Matthew and Michelle's place.
Today was all about planning and making new friends. Our first meeting took place in the Vanuatu Association of Sports and Olympic Committee (VASANOC) headquarters with the CEO Henry Tavoa (standing) and his team, as well as a representative from the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
Coming into the meeting, Henry and his team did not know much about the Peace Run or how they could help, but their large Vanuatu hearts came to the fore and they made us feel most welcome. We discussed possibilities for the upcoming ceremony at the National Stadium. We left the office happier for meeting such nice people who received the message of the run so positively.
As soon as we left for our next meeting, the heavens opened up, but it didnt seem to deter these boys.
We drove out to Tagabe to meet with met with the Regional Secretary of the Anglican Diocese, Mr Selwyn Leodoro. He recieved 4 Peace Runners in his office, and without having heard of the event until we arrived in front of him was immediately suggesting schools he could help us to contact.
He sounded very positive about arranging an audience for the following afternoon. We look forward to what will transpire.
Driving through the streets of Port Vila...
Our host, Michelle, has been helping us organise schools. The schools have only returned from holidays today, so it has been very difficult to confirm times. However like all the people we had met our first afternoon, she was offering her service to call schools, and so far we have possibilities for 5 school meetings. She said if those schools couldn't accept us, she would find others to take their place.
She then offered her husband Matthew to be our guide to all the schools starting from 7am! I am already in love with the generous nature of Vanuatu people.
We don't really know what tomorrow will bring but we have a very positive feeling it will be a fruitful day.