To santiago for Deafblindness finally accomplished

September 11, 2016

Last September, the FESOCE (Spanish Federation of Deafblindness) held for the first time the challenge To Santiago for Deafblindness, the 2s4db. An achievement that brings down myths.

To santiago for Deafblindness. The Camino de Santiago is a common denominator in the calendars of all adventurous travelers and pilgrims. As it was proposed as a sporting challenge for deafblinded people, its organization required to think about extra difficulties: accessibility, professional accompaniment, physical condition, logistics, and a long list of other complications that had no easy solutions.

The challenge, however, has been satisfactorily met. From September 5th to 12th, a team from the FESOCE accompanied two deafblinded persons on their lasts 100 km of the Camino de Santiago, in order to cover the following sections: Sarria – Portomarín (22,4 km), Portomarín – Palas de Rei (25 km), Palas de Rei – Arzúa (28,8 km), Arzúa – O Pedrouzo (19,1 km) and Pedrouzo – Santiago (20 km). Once they completed the final stage, their arrival to the Obradoiro Square was celebrated with joy.

Obviously, they made a sustained effort on their way to Santiago, but their desire to preserve was too strong to give up. Aroha Palacios, the FESOCE team coordinator, says with emotion: “They only once agreed to finish the section by bus, and this happened when they had already covered 14 km. It was hot, their knees and legs hurt, but they did not allow themselves to fail”.

The leaders needed to play the journey by ear. They made some reservations in a private hostel and some of the participants made part of the route separately. This way, every person could walk at their own pace. In terms of professional aid, each deafblinded person had two interpreters at her side the whole time, that is to say that they had a 24 h attention service. Of all the professionals involved in the initiative, three of them are from the APSOCECAT and one is from the Organización de Xordos de Galicia (Xoga).

The final assessment of To Santiago for Deafblindness is undoubtedly positive. In the words of Aroha: “It has been a great experience, with much practical learning and with the satisfaction of having contributed to an extraordinary participation for the girls. They won trust, they learned to be in a good humor, and they gained information about how to communicate better. Now they know that they can propose to themselves new challenges and achieve them”.

The results invite to repeat such experience again. The expectation is to organize it in such a way that more users feel like coming and like enjoying this experience with us. With the supported needed, the persons with Deafblindness can reach high levels of autonomy and of self-fulfillment.

The initiative 2s4db has been made possible thanks to the support of the Ministry of Health and the Social Services and Equality.