South Africa 17 September: Port Elizabeth - East London
Southern Hemisphere Peace Run in Port Elizabeth
Our team is in Port Elizabeth and our day started with an early morning scramble onto the rocks to watch the sunrise and to welcome in yet another beautiful day on the Peace Run.
The team enjoyed stretching their legs and running with the Peace Torch into our first school, Victoria Park Grey Primary School.
As the team waited for the students to gather there was a few moments to speak to the Principal, Mr Frosler and standing on the far right is Eugene, the photographer from The Herald, Port Elizabeth's main daily newspaper.
We ran down the aisle between the assembled learners and on to the stage to a thunderous applause. It was an incredibly warm welcome from the more than 600 learners and made us immediately feel at home in Port Elizabeth.
From the stage we had a birds eye view of the wonderful posters adorning the walls which had been created by the learners.
Principal Frosler welcomed the Peace Run and started by reading a verse - "A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps... Turn from the path of planning to a path of Peace." We felt that somehow the spontaneous enthusiasm and warm rapport we had with the learners was a result of the warmth and dedication Mr Frosler has poured into the school.
Mr Frosler felt the Peace Run had come at an apt time for this community, South Africa and the world.
Balarka then took to the microphone to introduce the Peace Run and the team. "We are a group of friends from different parts of the world, and what brings us together is our love of peace."
Tafadzwa teaching the students that to be part of our team they have to learn our motto, "Peace begins with me!"
After the team's presentation, some of the Grade 7 students took to the stage to read their poems on peace. As you continue to read the report, you will read short excerpts from each of the students' poems, all so beautifully and deeply recited.
We also presented the message and artwork from the Japanese students at Kansai University who have created something for each of the countries we will be visiting on this Peace Run. This message of peace and friendship came from three students, Ayano, Motoshi and Takuma, new friends from Japan to these 640 students.
The school then formed a large circle around the sports field with each grade having one runner who ran with the torch around the field to the next grade ...
"We need to take a stand
and bring peace in our world
and let others' scars be heard
we need to take a stand.... "- Luyathandwa Mosita
"Violence is not right, we need to have peace,
this bill right we need peace not piece,
we all want to go to Heaven,
we don't want to die when we are seven,
i almost died when I was eleven...."
"...They don't know how we as women care,
All we want is peace and not to be abused...
You strike a women,
You strike a rock." - Zenande Ceke
To finish this most remarkable school visit we ended our morning with them by planting a Peace Tree at the front of the school with the prefects from Grade 7.
Don't matter your race, gender, nationality RIGHT and WRONG
is something everyone knows
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH"
- Caitlyn Mangwandi
As we departed, the school kindly offered snack bags to keep us fueled for the day. Thank you Victoria Park Grey for a most special morning.
Here we meet this culturally diverse group of learners where 149 of them come from a country other than South Africa!
The students knew so many other words that represented peace - kindness, love, sharing, helping others out ...
Which spread from person to person creating a oneness family feeling with each and every learner and peace runner.
We then all gathered on the side of the sports field for a tree planting ceremony. As a symbolic gesture for peace, the school planted a palm tree and this is where the Peace Tree will now call home.