COVID 19: Keep Calm | Carry on (#6)

This is the 6th update in our Covid 19 announcements to XirCammini Members.

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

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.

Overseas Trekking

Pilgrim’s Prayer

Camino del Norte & San Martin, Miraz Lenten Services, 2020

These events were scheduled for 21st – 28th March (Camino Norte) and 28th March to 1st April (Lenten Servics in Miraz).

The airline has confirmed refunds on flights to all concerned. XirCammini has engaged with all accommodation and transport providers and they have refunded in full. We have already started returning these to the pilgrims. We urge the few pilgrims who have not yet sent us their IBAN details to do so as early as practicable so that we can settle all refunds.

The Camino has been with us for about 1,200 years and will be with us after Covid-19. Then we will do what pilgrims do: We will walk the Way again.

Amalfi, Il Sentiero degli Dei, 2020

Amalfi

This event was scheduled to take place from 30th April to 4th May 2020.

The airline has not yet cancelled this flight (notwithstanding emails from the airline’s marketing department to change flights) and the airline is not currently refunding these flights if cancelled. The situation may change if they are constrained to cancel the flights due to government directives.

We will have a clearer view as to whether it will be feasible to proceed with the event after the 1st week of April when the Italian and/or Maltese governments are likely to lift or extend the current travel restrictions and our quarantine rules.

For those who have already taken the decision not to travel we would be more than happy to refund the contribution you have paid towards accommodation etc. Please send us your IBAN details.

Via Podiensis, France 2020

Via Podiensis

This event is scheduled from the 18th to the 28th of June 2020.

Health and / or government directives do not yet extend to June and the airline has not cancelled these flights. There is a slight possibility of the situation returning to some semblance of normality by then. We are also working with accommodation providers on a Plan B if required.

Celtic Caminos, Ireland, Aug 2020

These events are scheduled for the 11th to 26th August 2020 and there is every indication that these trekking events will go ahead.

However, we will continue to interact with airlines, accommodation providers and/or Camino societies in Ireland assisting us with these hikes and will keep you informed on how the situation continues to develop.

Recently a pilgrim from the 2019 Celtic Caminos posted the following experience on Facebook. We thought of including it here as it might help bring a smile to the faces of those who lived this experience with us and may give others something to look forward to: https://www.facebook.com/thestorytellermalta

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 is coming into force restricting group sizes from five to three or less. Groups of four or more people caught in public by the police will be fined €100 each, under new laws being 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

“We’re all together in the same boat.” An Illustration of St. Brandon the Navigator.

We conclude by again thanking all the healthcare professionals, paramedics, disciplined forces, volunteers and all those engaged in the effort to halt and or heal. and all those volunteers involved in alleviating current burdens. Thank you.

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.