The Peace Run last visited Cape Town in 2013 where we were so warmly welcomed. So, today, in spite of the cold, grey, overcast weather and experiencing some of Cape Town's legendary winds, our team was excited to be back!
Our first school of the day is Holy Cross RC Primary.
The team gearing up for an 8am start at Holy Cross. Each of us was tasked to look after an item or two - Peace Torch, lighters, flags, Jharna Kala poster-of-appreciation for the school...check, and all ready to go!
Welcome to the team, Jarred! it's Jarred's first time on the Peace Run.
Strong winds keep our flags flying high while the Peace Torch still burns brightly.
Curious onlookers filing into the school hall.
Our first wish for peace of the day.
The team makes our way through the school with principal, Mr Paul Rossouw.
Abhijatri introducing the team and the Peace Run to an array of children.
Penny asking, "where do we find peace .... ".
A moment of silence to feel peace within our heart.
Riddle me this, riddle me that, our country has the longest wall in the world. Which country are we originally from?
I come from a country that has the greatest variety of spices!
Jarred, Cliff and Shree prepared a skit for the presentation and the children are always quick to distinguish which action is a display of peace, and what is not. In this picture, peace means lending a helping hand to your friend rather than laughing at them.
The team breaking out in song and action to sing the World Harmony Run song. This always seems to bring out spontaneous laughter and lots of joy from both the children and teachers alike.
Mr Rossouw, the principal of Holy Cross RC captures the moments of the morning on his phone.
As a token of our appreciation for participating in this year's Peace Run event, Abhijatri and Penny present Mr Rossouw with a Jharna Kala poster, called Happiness, as created by the founder of the run, Sri Chinmoy.
Each child present today gets to hold the torch to make a wish for peace as they file out of the school hall.
High-fives and big smiles all around.
Although the children are still busy with assessments, Mr Rossouw wanted the learners to participate in today's event since peace, he said, is such an important quality to focus on. Mr Rossouw told us that he has written a number of papers on restorative justice, which encourages the resolution of conflict through communication, rather than using detention as a means for discipline.
Our motto is "Peace begins with me," and Mr Rossouw hopes to weave elements of today's messages into the school's teaching and philosophy in the coming year.
Such beautiful smiles!
Time to say goodbye and Mr Rossouw gives Abhijatri a few brief directions on how to run to our next school.
Run team, run. Thank-you Holy Cross RC Primary.
Walmer Estate Primary School
The Peace Run and Walmer Estate Primary School are both celebrating significant milestones this year: a 30 year anniversary for the Peace Run since it's inception in 1987; and Walmer Estate Primary reaching it's 60 year anniversary since it was established in 1957.
Due to a last minute cancellation from another school, we only contacted Walmer Estate Primary a day and a half ahead of our scheduled Peace Run event. We were humbled by the positive response we received from Mr Kamish, the school's principal, in accepting our invitation under such short notice and saying how delighted he was to have us.
The team with Mr Kamish holding the torch on the right hand side.
The senior grades filing into the school hall for assembly.
The school is located within close proximity to the base of the iconic Table Mountain. Today, the table cloth of clouds that extend over the mountain peaks seem to be oh so close.
In order to quieten the room Mr Kamish plays a game of concentration with the children before he hands over to Balarka who leads the morning presenation. The game consists of Mr Kamish clapping his hands to a certain rhythm and in return, the children mimic his gestures to show him that they've been listening. This is then followed by a deep inhalation or two before everyone is seated. How marvelous to see how well it works!
Balarka shares a few insights about the Peace Run, including how far it's travelled and who has held the torch. The children seem to enjoy hearing that the Peace Run has covered the equivalent distance to the moon and back...twice! And also that many famous people have held the torch, including our revered Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
A noteable stillness pervades through the room as each one of us tries to feel peace in our heart.
Teachers are each given the opportunity to hold the Peace Torch.
Jarred comes from a country that has 3 capital cities...
...which keeps the children guessing for a little while.
Abhijatri comes from a country that shares a border with South Africa and has a very famous waterfall!
Everyone enjoys singing the World Harmony Run song with all its actions.
Our team was later treated to an inspiring rendition of the South African National Anthem that was filled with gusto and would, almost certainly bring a tear to any hardened rugby or football fan, as if it had been sung in a large stadium before the start of an epic match.
Mr Kamish gave an inspiring talk after our presentation agreeing with the messages we shared today. He reminded everyone once again that if we have peace in our mind, heart and soul that everything good will come to us when we first have a state of peace within ourselves and later we will feel it extending to those around us. He went on to say that no matter how small, or how tall, or how young, or old we are that we can all contribute to peace in South Africa.
Balarka presents Mr Kamish with a print of the Happiness artwork as created by Sri Chinmoy. Thank-you WEPS for being part of our team today!
The wind outside is too blustery and there is quite a chill in the air. Rather than having a run around the school grounds as we'd sometimes do, everyone present is instead given the opportunity to make a wish for peace as they file out of the hall.
Everyone is excited to have their pictures taken.
...Including getting an exclusive photo with Balarka.
And one child even takes her own photo to capture the moment.
Everyone squeeze together and...1,2,3, smile!
The team visited the lower grades of WEPS in their individual classrooms. Here the children stand and greet us and ask how we are, all in unison.
Where can we find peace within ourselves?..."Our heart," someone says.
Balarka passes the torch around for each child to add to the wishes for a more peaceful and better world.
It warms our heart to see all the bright young faces, so eager to learn, and so happy. Let's huddle together everyone...class photo!
Where can we find peace, is it on our nose?
...or perhaps in our elbow?
No, we knew all along, it's in our hearts.
When the team entered the Grade R (reception level) classroom, each child was seated quietly on the carpet with such a display of sweetness. Mrs Hassam had to step momentarily out of the room but they were all happy to sit quietly until she returned.
Cliff explained who we are and where we've come from and that the Peace Run will be running in the Cape Town Marathon on Sunday the 17th September and that he will be carrying the Peace Torch during the marathon with all their best wishes and as a symbol of peace and love for a more harmonious world.
Thank-you Mr Kamish and Walmer Estate PS for sharing these precious moments with you.
Thank-you for asking, we're very, very, very happy!
Ellerton Primary School
The artwork displayed in the halls as prepared by some of the learners depict how peace and living in harmony with one another is a respected quality at Ellerton Primary.
Abhijatri and Cliff agree with Ellerton PS that teamwork encompasses valuing each other through being responsible, having respect and cherishing honesty.
This young boy sitting beside Shree had a small fall during his breaktime and although feeling sad he still managed to smile for us.
A sea of faces welcome us in the school hall and sing the SA National Anthem. It warms out hearts as we listen on.
Abhijatri introducing the team and sharing the importance of peace in our lives - that if we have peace, we have everything. There will be no need for getting upset with each other, or fighting and being sad and that if we can all start with peace in our own lives and in our hearts, then we can each make a difference and the world would be a much happier place to live in.
We think they all agree with Abhijatri too.
Our country guessing game sometimes causes a bit of confusion and wonder...but they all guess correctly in the end.
Time for everyone to stand to join us in singing and the World Harmony Run song.
They also sing us a song called, "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine."
Thank-you Mrs Cannon for yet another warm reception at Ellerton Primary School. We hope to visit you again on our next Peace Run in Cape Town.
Observatory Junior Primary School
Balarka leads the presentation at Observatory Junior today. He speaks so comfortably through the loud speaker as all the children and teachers listen intently on.
Time for our "What is Peace and what is not peace" skit with Jarred, Shree and Cliff.
Everyone enjoys seeing a helping hand. This is peace!
It's time for the country guessing game again.
We just love some of the expressions!...
Jarred gives his country clue...
...and even has some of the teachers talking.
One would never know that this is Jarred's first time on the Peace Run. He's a natural public speaker and gets all the children to try feel peace in their hearts.
...and what did this little girl discover?
A group of learners from each grade is selected to run two laps around the field with us and holding the torch.
Thank-you Mrs O'Ryan for participating in this year's Peace Run event. Your school's warm wishes for the success of the Peace Run and your invitation to come back to Observatory Junior during our next event is much appreciated. Thank-you for being so receptive to the messages we hope to share with those we meet.
A very special thank-you to Mrs Moonsamy on the far right who was instrumental in coordinating today's event at the school.
Everyone is always so happy to hold the torch.
...and sometimes there is a big squeeze for everyone to hold onto it.
Such positive affirmations and encouraging words on display in the school entrance...and a friendly reminder for ourselves that, "I can, I will."