By Telmo Aldaz de la Quadra-Salcedo. Photos: Jose L. Cuesta
Translation from Spanish Carol Simonetti
It has been already 15 years going through Africa in this training project for Spanish-speaking young people from all over the world, which was born with the clear and firm objective of giving the opportunity to teenagers between 16 and 17 years old to live a practical training on different topics as international cooperation, volunteering, solidarity, sports, early business entrepreneurship, ecology; respect, environmental knowledge and research, knowledge of other cultures, the study of history on the ground and the very important lesson that knowing and living with missionaries, NGOs and people who give their lives to help those most in need represents.
All these objectives are achieved with the magic formula of travelling. Travel as a fundamental tool to promote all science, all art and all innovation. All civilizations have advanced and achieved unimaginable improvements thanks to that innate instinct in the human being to travel, to know and to investigate. The travel from the time of Homer, is the origin of known history and the engine of progress in any age.
ERS in its 2020 edition vindicates, more than ever, the classical and Homeric concept of travel as a basic expression of individual and collective Freedom. A necessary tool to achieve good progress. The illustrated journey that helps to change the soul, that helps discover at a crucial age what is our vocation, to know what we are good for and where is our place and role in the world.
On this occasion, given the international situation caused by the pandemic, for the first time we did not travel to Africa, but neither did we renounce this initiatory trip southward and we headed for almost ten very intense days to Andalusian lands of Seville, Huelva and Cádiz. With the aim of claiming travel, expedition and study as an inalienable expression of Freedom.
We title these days “In search of Atlantis”, a legend that comes from Plato to the present day in a city, a quasi-perfect civilization located in the confines of the known world; the Pillars of Hercules. A city that disappeared under the waters, which is unremittingly sought by philosophers, adventurers, archaeologists, historians as a salvific balm that heals the doubts, fears and uncertainties of declining civilizations.
To maintain safety and responsibility, all of the almost 150 members of the expedition, and before leaving Madrid, a PCR test was carried out in laboratories endorsed by the ISO certificate, giving Negative in Covid-19. In addition, throughout the expedition a strict anti-Covid plan and protocol was maintained, coordinated with the health authorities of the Junta de Andalucía and for 24 hours a day by our medical team on the ground; Places in the open air, a mask, regular cleaning of hands …… Nature itself and the philosophy of the ERS way of traveling, that is, always sleeping in a bivouac in the open air, not being in closed places, living in a nomadic way in natural spaces, open and isolated, have favoured a successful prophylaxis against this bloody pandemic.
For more security at the end of the expedition, all approved serological tests (Elisa) were carried out, giving 100% of the expedition negative. This indicates that, following appropriate guidelines and protocols, activities can be carried out, if they are done in a responsible manner.
Young people said goodbye to next year heading to the sister continent of Africa.
Without a doubt thanks to the Team, to the families and the young people who have been part of ERS 2020 in such harsh conditions, this expedition has been possible. They are an example for everyone.