After months of planning, many discussions of suitable shoes and equipment, shopping, watching the movie ‘The Way’, attending informative meetings at the Confraternity of St James, and changing plans a couple of times, the time has come. Now, as I'm writing, the first two hikers are frantically busy with their last preparations. Emilene Ferreira is boarding the plane to
where Eddie Waring is packed and waiting for her to join him. Their 780 km pilgrimage will commence on
Thursday the 7th of June at St Jean Pied the Port in the French
Both Emilene and Eddie are well seasoned hikers and their preparation included regular hikes in the beautiful countryside around the
Cape as reported in Emilene’s blog.
During the meetings with the hikers to discuss their awareness campaign for MSA, their enthusiasm was contagious. Having done a couple of hikes myself, I have some understanding of how much careful planning goes into such a venture, but hikes of 500 km and 780 km over several weeks is a totally different kettle of fish. The way I used to pack I would’ve needed a backup truck to follow me! These hikers have to make do with whatever they can fit in a backpack that weighs no more than 10% of their body weight; that’s an average 6 kg for the ladies. That leaves place for only the most basic necessities and even toothbrushes are sawn in half.
The CAMINO DE SANTIAGO is a
network of ancient paths through the Spanish, Portuguese and continental
European countryside that ends at the magnificent cathedral in Santiago de
Compostela, supposedly the burial site of the apostle St James the Greater, who
was martyred around 44 AD.
|The cathedral in Santiago|
The 1900’s saw a revival in the Camino and in 1937
Santiago was officially
declared patron saint of Spain. In 1987 the Camino was declared a World
Heritage Site. The most popular route,
which starts at St Jean Pied de Port in the French Pyrenees and ends at Santiago
de Compostela, is known as the Camino Francés.
The hikers need to walk an average of 25 km per day in order for them to achieve their deadline of arriving in
|Albergue de Bruma|
Why do people walk the Camino? The reasons are as varied as the personalities and nationalities; a time to think, to celebrate a new phase in life, to give thanks…But these hikers also have a very special purpose; to create AWARENESS FOR MSA.
Thank you Emilene, Eddie for doing this for all of us who suffer from this progressive brain disorder that continually robs us of more of our abilities, like walking and talking. May your pilgrimage be blessed and may you achieve all the personal goals that you have set for yourself. We wish you, with Susan, Gerda and Esther (who depart here on the 15th of June), BUEN CAMINO!
Information on Camino from CONFRATERNITY OF ST JAMES OF SOUTH AFRICA