Saturday, June 14, 2014


Emilene spotted this 'heart stone' spotted on the Camino

Since 2012 I have been blessed by friends walking the Camino for MSA every year. That year there were five of them (Emilene Ferreira, Eddie Waring, Susan Albertyn, Gerda de Villiers, and Esther Nieder-Heitmann), mostly in three different locations simultaneously. Keeping track of them, with my friend Ermanno Aiello’s on his Camino experience, ‘Forever a Pilgrim’, in one hand, and my pc on my lap, gave me much joy back then. Someone who read my blogs remarked that he thought I actually walked the Camino myself. In the wonderful spirit of the Camino, friends were made, some of whom remained in our lives. I became so good at following them that I even predicted when their paths would cross!

In 2013 Emilene walked a part of Camino as a guide (tour guide being her profession). Our MSA tag and bracelet, once again, travelled with her. The Camino magic led to a personal blessing for me; a donation towards my medical costs from a contact made on that tour.

This year my friends Emilene Ferreira and Eddie Waring are, once again, creating awareness for MSA on their 1000 km (621 miles) pilgrimage from Seville to Santiago (South to North) in Spain. This route of the Camino is known as the Via de la Plata.

Emilene with her husband Oscar who
accompanied her the first two days

Eddie at a sign post 1100 km from Finisterre

Being a fast walker, Eddie has long ago left Emilene in his dust. The lady is braving it out there on own, and I suspect, as this is her nature, making friends, and sharing my MSA story with all who ask about my photo hanging on her backpack.

Our tag,with the poppy logo on the reverse side,
on Emilene's backpack

Emilene's heart was, however, big enough to take on another worthy cause. She is also walking to raise funds for TheArk City of Refuge in Cape Town, South Africa. When Emilene visited this home for the destitute some time ago, she published an album of photos on facebook. The plight of these people touched my heart, especially a photo of a plastic garden chair converted into a wheelchair. This evidence of people with special needs having to make do with what is available (in a most ingenious manner), made me sad. Life is difficult enough for the disabled. Having been blessed with so much more than them, I wondered what I could do for them?

Emilene with a group of residents of The Ark

My abilities have degenerated since 2012, and I am no longer able to follow the daily progress of Emilene and Eddie so closely or blog about it regularly. As always, I much prefer to concentrate on what I can do. I’ve been granted this opportunity to support Emilene and help the people of The Ark by making a small donation of R50. I pray with the hope that it will inspire others to do so as well.

To Donate on Behalf of the Pilgrimage:
Name: The Ark City of Refuge
Bank: Absa Blue Route-Tokai
Acc: 4059131113
Branch Code: 631209
Reference Nr: Walk Spain 2014

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life."
St Francis of Assisi

Memories from the Via de la Plata...

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Sonja says:

I recently read these beautiful words by Emily Dickinson;

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all”

How true they are. After writing OUR DEFEATS NURTURE OUR DREAMS, I didn't have much hope that my dream, a wheelchair accessible car, would happen soon.  I, however, was proved wrong.

My husband, Johnny and Sissi’s husband Hugh, had a chat with the engineer/owner of EASY DRIVE WESTERN CAPE to suggest a cheaper option than his preferred, but more expensive, choice. He agreed to work on this cheaper option, and that my new BREEZY wheelchair, which can tilt for comfort, had suitable wheels for his lock-in system.

Hugh began the hunt for a suitable car, and one was soon found in Mossel Bay.  Hugh and Sissi decided to take a road trip to go and investigate.

Karin says:

As explained a few days ago, Sonja and I agreed that the time has come for me to assist with blogging and the perfect topic of the moment is the recent development with the purchasing of another vehicle.  My style of blogging is perhaps a little more casual than Sonja's, but as the old people would say, 'a change is as good as a holiday' and I sort of think she's not going to fire me (wicked little grin). 

So, without further ado, let me take you on a little excursion to Mossel Bay, where Hugh and I set off to, to go and see whether the car was suitable and hopefully return with it.

I blog with pictures - and this time is no different. Pictures of fleeting moments trigger words and emotions within me, helping me to express myself.  

Being a passenger, my hands were free to snap photo's as we drove, constantly with Sonja on my mind and in my heart - in that special place in my existence where she has come to dwell.  My heart was laden; heavy because I knew she would never make this journey again, knew and felt how much she would have loved to have done this trip herself.  As the shutter made that familiar 'ca-chink' sound, it echoed in my head - 'cachink' - as if in a lightbulb moment. To the sound of Looking out my Back Door by Creedence Clearwater Revival, I shared a few pics with Sonja and with our Facebook friends.   Cheerful responses appeared virtually straight away from friends all over. The laden feeling in my heart shifted as I merrily clicked away, sharing them and watching the messages of love pouring out on our mission.  I knew Sonja would be watching closely from her pc and her phone.  

The sky was brighter, the road not too busy and the scenery very obliging.  God took out one of his best brushes for this day - I could feel His blessing on our trip.  (PS most photo's taken through windows in transit).

These are a few of the images I shared.  

Houw Hoek Inn Hotel  below the Freeway dating back to 1770

Of course these farmers knew I needed a photo of them and they planned to be here right at this moment when we whizzed by.  (See hazy reflections on window?)

Nearing Caledon.  Its the beginning of winter - after harvesting time, hence the brown lands.  Note the wind turbines on the hill on the right. Dassieklip wind energy

Tranquil landscapes of the Overberg

7 May - Sporting thumbstains (it was National Voting day in South Africa) and our MSA bands.
Thumbs up in anticipation for a successful mission and the road ahead

Along the way, the landscape changed to green. Trees frozen on the horizon for photo.  Ca-chink!

I am amazed at how clear the photo's were considering we were travelling at 120 km per hour.  Ca-chink.

Somewhere on the way there - I wish I could remember where exactly  now :)

Charmed by forgotten little old houses - this one obliged close to the roadside

There was a signboard Kluitjieskraal 


The picturesque town of Swellendam is the third oldest in South Africa

Majestic mountains, pine forests and green fields.  Our beautiful countryside.

Farmers at work

The countryside was exceptionally beautiful

Patchwork scenery at the foot of Sleeping Beauty - the mountain landmark at Riversdale

Aloe with its outstanding healing and rejuvenating characteristics is unique in the concentration of its active ingredients and the versatility of its application. Harvested in Albertinia

52 kms to Mossel Bay, our destination

You can see the Big Five at Garden Route Game Lodge

Even better looking if you click to open fullscreen

Mossgass - Refinery near Mossel Bay

Love and light - all along the way

Church that caught my eye - almost there.  A fleeting silent prayer.
 Within moments we were there and the negotiations and inspection began.  The sun shone warmly on it all.
There she is.  Kangoo being inspected before test drive.
Satisfied after test drive.  The green light phoned through to Sonja and Johnny.
The waves at The Point at Mossel Bay was patient

After the decision was finally made, we meandered into town to find Faffa (now previous owner of the Kangoo), to clinche the deal.  We found him in his shop, called Township Angels.  This is an endeavour that he and his partner is passionate about - creating bright and colourful art pieces and using the skills of previously disadvantaged individuals to express themselves creatively.  These are a few of the images that grabbed my attention immediately.  Final seal of approval?  I think so.  I will soon be writing a dedicated article on my personal blog, about this wonderful project they are involved in with lots of photo's. 

In parting Faffa undertook to pay for any necessary repairs done that would be revealed upon the roadworthy.  

Shaking on the deal
We returned home with two cars. Because I was now driving the one car, I could no longer go happy snapping along the way.  My heart was light and everything felt so good. I knew and felt God's blessing on it all when He painted this picture of light streaming brilliantly through the clouds.  I did pull over to take these.

Love and light 

Love and light followed me  home

And as a final blessing, He left us a rainbow.

Sonja continues:  A deal was made and they soon returned with my 'new' car, a Renault Kangoo, which was renamed the Sissi-Mobile, after Karin and my self’s nickname for each other. 

Hugh then organised the 3rd hand Renault Kangoo (Sissi-Mobile) to be put through the road-worthy test, and Johnny had it licensed and fitted the number plates.

The next step, the advertising and sale of my Honda Jazz, was done in two days; it was bought by a dear friend of ours.

Ermanno, our very dear friend, is now the proud new owner of the Honda Jazz
After everything is wrapped up, the car will go to the engineer by the middle of June to undergo the necessary conversions. Johan Cillie promised the work will be done by mid-September. Hope, however, perches in my soul and sings a most beautiful tune.

Psalm 28:7
"The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him."

Thank you to our dear friends, Sissi and Hugh Holtzhausen, for all the effort you put to make my dream come true. You are a blessing in our lives.

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