The Camino has been a very positive experience for me and reporting on the progress of the hikers kept me busy and filled my days with joy. As they returned the stories of their many wonderful experiences started to unfold, and I was overwhelmed by hundreds of photos. It has been a life changing experience for them that has touched them in many and different ways.
Eddie Waring hiked 900 km from St Jean Pied de Port in
past Santiago to Finisterre on the north west
coast of . Emilene Ferreira hiked 800 km from Spain St Jean to . Susan Albertyn, Esther Nieder-Heitmann and
Gerda de Villiers started their pilgrimage at Santiago Burgos,
bus-hopped a 100 km before Leon,
but hiked the extra 100 km from
to end at Finisterre. Each of them completed 500 km. And the grand
total walked by the five hikers is… drum roll here please… 3200 km! I will be adding this with great pride and joy to this years ‘A MILE AND A CANDLE FOR MSA’ project. Santiago
|Susan, Gerda, Nancy Powers and Esther|
They have made friends on The Way, some of which have been in contact with me since. One such person, Nancy Hill Powers left a message on our MSA facebook page saying that she admired the conviction of my friends, and inspired by them, she wrote about their encounter on her blog.
|The tag, here on Gerda's backpack|
The tags that the hikers attached to their backpacks drew the attention of fellow hikers on numerous occasions. They’d notice the tag one a hiker, and then days later on another hiker at a different location. Questions followed that created opportunities for our hikers to talk about MSA and hand out their mini flyers. At some stage they were questioned by a group of school children. At other times they shared their story of our friendship on a more intimate level whilst spending a quiet hour or two walking alongside another pilgrim.
Our friend, Ermanno Aiello, author of the book ‘Forever a Pilgrim’, and his lovely wife Lia, invited all who were involved with this project to a post-Camino get together at the restaurant on Vergelegen, one of the beautiful and historic wine estates in our area. Although Eddie hasn’t returned from his travels, and Gerda had another engagement, the rest of us spent an unforgettable morning together. Many heart warming stories were told, the food was great, and the people were extraordinary. Thank you for this wonderful treat Ermanno and Lia.
|At the back; Frans Albertyn, Jan and Esther Nieder-Heitmann, Oscar Ferreira, Johnny van Rhyn, Lia and Ermanno Aiello, Emilene Ferreira, Hugh Holtzhausen. Front; Susan Albertyn, me, Karin Holtzhausen|
Although this wonderful experience as come to an end, I suspect that we will be talking Camino stories for some time to come. I am also looking forward to the promise of a typical Spanish pilgrim’s meal here at my home in the very near future.
Something so fulfilling naturally leaves quite a void when it draws to an end…but MSA Day is coming up soon...and there is some talk of an exciting project next year...
|Some of the hearts seen on the Camino by Susan|