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...


  1. Dearest Sonja! I am feeling so emotional just reading your very special post. Not a day goes by that you are not in my mind as I walk towards Santiago. Your courage and faith remains a huge inspiration for me and I say again - the day I met you I received one of the most precious blessings God has ever given me. I send you much love and messages of hope - you remain my biggest inspiration as I tackle each new day here on the Camino. Lots of love, Emilene xxx

  2. Dear Emilene, you (and your feet) are in my thoughts and prayers every day. You inspire me to think past my disorder of others in need. Yes, I too was blessed the day I met you my friend, and kindred spirit. Love you lots, Sonja xxx


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