COVID 19: Keep Calm | Carry on (#7)

This is the 7th update in our Covid 19 announcements to XirCammini Members.

Our underlying advice remains, “Keep calm | act sensibly | exercise discipline | (where permissible) carry on.”

There is finally some light at the end of the tunnel for some people. This is a very interesting / informative site to follow the progress of various countries: https://covid19.healthdata.org/malta

Introduction: Thank You

As always We’ll start with a heartfelt note of thanks and caution:

Thanks: We want to thank all the healthcare professionals, paramedics, disciplined forces, volunteers and all those engaged in the effort to halt and or heal. Thank you.

Caution: A word of caution to everyone else out there in touch with the healthcare profession. Please be supportive of the efforts and instructions in place. These are there to protect us. Please cooperate fully with the medical fraternity. They are our ultimate line of defense.

In all that we do and from all walks of life let us be respectful to each other at all times.

As a members’ association and a NGO we feel it is our duty to keep all members informed of the activity still going on in the background.

Overseas / Major Trekking Events: Jan – Jun 2020

The four overseas trekking experiences that fell victim to Covid-19

Regrettably, four out of our six overseas trekking experiences, which were scheduled for the first half of 2020, fell victim to Covid-19 as did the Universal Peace Walk that was being launched in Malta in March 2020.

The good news is that these ancient trails (and pilgrimage routes) have been there since long before Covid-19 and will still be there when Covid-19 is over. Then we will do what we always do: We walk. For the time being it is required that we stay safe.

The better news is that we have managed to collect almost all the accommodation, land transit and incidental costs from the overseas providers and XirCammini (even before recouping all of these costs) took the decision to reimburse its members. We have reached out to our members who were participating in these hiking experiences, most have already provided their IBAN details and those who have, have also all received in full what they had contributed.

In respect of the Via Podiensis trek, because this was cancelled by us – taking into account potential developments on the Covid front in Malta and France (https://covid19.healthdata.org/france) – in addition to refunding all contributions paid towards accommodation etc. XirCammini is also offering a credit against future contributions for an overseas trek (excl. flight cost) equivalent to the amount paid for the flight by the respective pilgrims in the event that the airline concerned would have reinstated flights by then and does not refund them flight costs.

In respect of the Universal Peace Walk we wish to acknowledge the generosity of the would-be pilgrim participants. While we have approached all of them offering back their contribution, most have asked us to keep it and channel it towards expenses incurred or towards the event when it runs in the future. Please accept the heartfelt thanks from the Committee of XirCammini.

Our pledge to members: You will not be short-changed because of overseas activities that fell victim to Covid-19

Overseas / Major Trekking Events: Jul – Dec 2020

The Irish Celtic Caminos are later on in the year and are still on. Notwithstanding this we are constantly monitoring the situation and we are not accepting new applications in case we need to work on a Plan B.

We are a members’ association and not a business. The well-being of our members’ takes priority.

Local Trekking

Our Advice

While we firmly believe that hiking in fresh air has significant physical, psychological and social benefits, we also understand that under the current circumstances that advocate a measure of ‘social distancing’ the latter benefit may need be placed on the back-burner.

A legal notice has come into force restricting group sizes from five to three or less. Groups of four or more people caught in public by the police are being fined €100 each, under new laws that have been introduced to enforce coronavirus social distancing measures.  Families from the same household are exempt.

XirCammini has stopped all group walks in line with the directives / recommendations issued by the Superintendence of Health. However, we continue to recommend hiking solo or in minute groups from the same household while respecting and harping on the directives currently in place. Please:

  1. Do not hike with people who are not living with you (from the same household) until health authorities indicate otherwise;
  2. Do not hike if you are sick, running a temperature, have a cough, or experiencing trouble to breathe;
  3. Do not hike if you or persons close to you have recently (i.e. during the last fortnight) returned from overseas. You should be in quarantine;
  4. If you meet any one avoid any form of physical contact with others (i.e. shaking hands, hugging, kissing etc.) and try to maintain the 2.5-metre physical distance advocated by the government directives;
  5. Avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Carry and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, tissues, and other hygiene products constantly on a trek;
  6. Use soap and water if hands are visibly dirty;
  7. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

Conclusionbe respectful

Some circumstances in life tend to bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. it is worth remembering that in any war:

  1. We are not all on the front-line. If we were it means that the war is already almost lost. Wars with a successful strategy and outcome have a front-line, strong ‘behind the lines’ organisation, logistics, media / PR, opportunities to ‘take time out’, entertainment and humour (even if stoic at times) and a strong sense of, “keep calm and carry on” aimed at instilling a strong sense of balance.
  2. If / when you are visible your words and actions influence others. Be judicious in both.
  3. Prejudice brings out the worst in people. In this case, we’re all on the same side. Our as Pope Francis aptly stated, “We’re all in the same boat; experiencing the storm.” Let us be respectful towards each other.
  4. Unfortunately social media has replaced the soap-box and created multiple mutations of preachers who with evangelical zeal spout or advocate hell’s fire and brimstone at /for anyone who dares disagree with their point of view even on mundane matters. Bad as Covid-19 may be there are worse viruses infecting some of us and making themselves manifest particularly in such times. I am referring to such viruses as prejudice, gossip, bigotry, conceited self-righteousness and so on. If one is unable to speak (their version of the truth) unto others with respect then it would probably be more beneficial if we maintain our silence. After all it is our actions (not our words) that speak most volumes.

Life is a journey | keep walking | keep smiling | keep safe | keep calm | act sensibly | exercise self-discipline and (where permissible) carry on.