September 14, 2017

Fifteen people, 100 km, and an overload of emotions marked the most recent trip 

Five deafblind people completed, from the 4th until the 10th of September 2017, the challenge “To Santiago for Deafblindness” #2s4db, the last 100 km of the French road. They counted on the help of ten professional mediators, seven of them form the Spanish Federation for the Deafblind (FESOCE). Together they got to look after all the communication needs: LSE (Spanish Sign Language), LSC (Catalan Sign Language), LSI, on the air, set on the hands, oral in Spanish, Catalan, English and Hungarian, among others.

“To Santiago for Deafblindness” second edition: Traveller team

The expedition, that gathered people from Scotland, Hungary and Spain, met in Sarria, in the province of Lugo, in September the 4th. From there, they got through the five stages planned, about 20 km each, until Santiago.

As you can guess, the route was full of difficulties: slopes, irregular ground, fatigue and nerves. But those are the situations that give meaning to those projects, to propose challenges, and then to overcome it with the support of the professionals.

According to Aroha Palacios, intervener of deafblind people and coordinator of the trip, one of the most challenging aspects is to adapt to the personal rate of each participant without losing the team spirit. Deafblindness is a disability that requires personalised attention, that is why it is so difficult to coordinate the group, because it moves at three or four different speeds. “We try that no one declines but that they do not feel pressured at the same time, because each rate represents the highest effort that each one of them can do, what deserves our biggest respect and our full admiration.”

The result is highly satisfactory because the trip gives a kind of attention that is highly appreciated for deafblind people. Exercise, self-improvement and social interaction are encouraged, always with the communicative help and the needed support in every situation.

Galicia with deafblindness

The arrival, the 9th, to the Obradoiro square counted with the presence of Fabiola García Martínez, director of the Elderly and Disabled People Care Services, and Arturo Parrado Puente, director of Social Inclusion of the Government of Galicia. Also Maria Goretti Sanmartín, vice-president of La Coruña Province Government, and Concepción Fernández, councilwoman of Social Politics from Santiago’s city council, were there.

Ricard López, FESOCE president, and María Jesús Monterde, president of the Deaf Organisation of Galicia (XOGA), were hosts of the expedition.

Consolidation of #2s4db

The organizers where really satisfied with the result of this “To Santiago for Deafblindness” second edition largely surpassing all expectations, and also showing that activities of large duration and more physical demand are also attractive and feasible for people with this disability. FESOCE is already organising the next year proposal, with the aim of growing up the number of users and countries.

This edition has counted with the invaluable participation of the Deaf Organisation of Galicia (XOGA), the Catalan Association for the Deafblind (APSOCECAT), Sense Scotland, and the Hungarian Deafblind Association (SVOE). With the support of the European Deafbind network (EdBN) and Deafblind International (Dbl).