By: Genevieve Bisson
I’ve been anticipating the arrival of the Peace Boat to Cebu for over a year now. The ship with which I once sailed around the world was now coming to the place I call home. How amazing was that?
To give you a bit of background, the Peace Boat is a Japanese NGO that circumnavigates the globe with the mission to cultivate a culture of peace. A few years ago I was a teacher on board and I hold unforgettable memories from that experience.
On the way to the Cebu International Port, Pauline and I were giddy; telling stories, smiling from ear to ear, laughing, and sharing all that joy with team that reciprocated the energy.
Walking up to the boat and taking pictures felt surreal. So much has happened since I taught on the Peace Boat; I have so much to thank for that experience. Now, three years later, I stood on the other side to welcome the boat. The whole Pandoo team joined the welcoming committee. And on top of it all, Pauline – who I met on the Peace Boat and who was now volunteering with us – was there as well. We welcomed the passengers and met the teachers. It was great to see their excitement from the feeling of arriving in their first destination. What a great group of people they are and I was even lucky enough to host some of them at my house.
The following day, Pauline, Joy, Paolo, and I joined a cultural exchange with some of the participants. We visited various parts of the city and everyone had a great time despite the heavy rain that flooded the streets. Joy and Paolo quickly stepped in and we helped adapt the program. In no time, we all learned and performed the Sinulog dance in a small space. It was entertaining and many of the participants told us it was their favorite part of the day. For us, the day ended with a tour of the ship.
Pauline and I joked that if they let us on the boat, we would hide somewhere to go around the world again. The funny thing is that what I had anticipated would cause me nostalgia really did not. What moved me the most was sharing this experience with Pauline and looking at what we have done since. The best part was seeing Paolo and Joy there with me. Sharing that experience with them was really meaningful. They are people that profoundly cultivate a culture of peace every single day, which is what the Peace Boat is all about.
When we left the ship, I didn’t feel like hiding on it after all. I am where I am supposed to be, putting peace to action through education with a team of passionate individuals. I left motivated to continue working hard, and energized and grateful for this opportunity. Thank you to the Peace Boat and the great coordinators of the day. Thank you for the positive message you cultivate around the globe. Thank you for your visit to Cebu and best wishes to all the wonderful people we met during that time!