SA Guide-Dogs (GDA) trains Guide, Service and Autism Support Dogs to provide mobility, independence and companionship to the visually and physically impaired. Their College of Orientation and Mobility train Orientation and Mobility Practitioners who teach skills of daily living to rural communities. GDA is a fully constituted welfare organisation, registered with The Dept. of Social Development in terms of the Nonprofit Organisations Act, 1997 (Act 71 of 1997) and is affiliated to The South African National Council for the Blind.
What a weekend full of activity we had! I really didn’t think we would do all that .. furthermore that our young man would be enthralled by it all.
School is on mid-term break so the question was .. is what do we do with him so he doesn’t get bored? So last week I shared some of the activities taking place in our city that could keep your toddler entertained over the next week.
Saturday morning, we let our young man know what we were going to the #IceAgeExhibition. I’ve not seem him so happy in like …well ..ever! He kept asking all the way to the Sandton Convention if we were really going.
We arrived and he was loving the experience. Taking in his surroundings like only a child can.
He was taking in all the “creatures” around him and calling them out by similar names to what he knows in his world.He was initially taken by surprise when the one of the speakers blasted out the sounds the animal would make. He held onto my hand so tight .. it was too special a moment.
He wasn’t keen on the blizzard though, and screamed and kicked that we get him out of that tunnel. Maybe next time he will be fine… but I still don’t understand why though ….his reaction to water.
Done experiencing our past and the educational phase of our outing it was time for some some. Hubby went and purchased some tickets for a few activities we thought he would appreciate. While we waited we decided to spend some time in the sand pit.
Just look at that grin .. he was having a ball of a time! We waited in the queue to have his face painted as a tiger, but once we got to the front he wasn’t keen on the idea anymore. 😦 Fortunately, the kind lady doing all the magnificent work of face painting all the kids informed me that I could either come back later when he was ready or just go back to the paying booth and request a refund… What you say gurl? Was my first reaction. You for real? Yep she was. My hat off to the #IceAgeSA organisers! You totally understand this age group and that they will change their minds! I know it’s about making some profit, but just think about it .. I won’t spend R20 bucks on face painting .. but I may .. and did .. spend a whole R250 bucks on a sweater I may just not have done otherwise … you get my drift? Really hope of these events targeting children follow suit.
When we got to the slides, our young man could not contain the excitement. He didn’t want to wait for his turn .. he wanted to get on that rubber dingy and slide down. It was eventually our turn. We got in, I made sure he was snug and safe and we were off. I’m not really afraid of heights .. but these adrenaline slides aren’t activities I enthusiastically seek out either. Needlesstosay, if you were at the bottom of the ride watching my face .. I may have had the fear of hell look vs. one of “YAY .. I’m having fun” !
We got off and first thing little Mr. says to me is .. “AGAIN” … WHAT! Are you insane child!? was my first thought. I very promptly past the buck over to hubby .. and guess what .. he too had a very similar look on his face to me sliding down, while our young man had the biggest grin his face could muster out! Watching a few parent’s faces while I waited .. they all had the same look … while those smiling were on there for the second time and knew how much fun it was! Surprisingly, although many dads around .. it was mainly the mothers sliding down with the tods …hmmmm #justsaying
Our young man was having all his senses tested this weekend! I think he enjoys that he is able to roam around and explore all these different elements making up his world.
The event itself was surprisingly well attended. Many of the guests, I would bet were locals – read that as living in the area. They had a beer garden – no outdoor event is complete without one – and a quaint tea garden as well, for those who felt they would rather have something warm.
There were stalls scattered around the winter yard, all selling beautiful handmade wares. Stalls with goodies for your four legged mates, a stall with fresh biltong(aka jerky), fresh brewed coffee and our son’s favourite, a stand selling freshly popped popcorn! For those young ones not bothered by food, the #SAGuideDogsAssociation had setup a littler area with a jumping castle and merry-go-round /carousel for them.
Besides all the stalls selling their wonderful goodies, the SA Guide Dogs Association for the blind had another surprise for us too. They had a few performing dogs come out onto the arena and show us wonderful tricks with their mistresses .. I don’t know if we still call lady masters .. masters?
Then it was the turn of the Guide Dog trainers to come out and educate the public a little bit more about their wonderful work with their four legged friends – labradors mostly.
It was incredible to learn that for the first 12 months they form a relationship with their surrogate family, before they are sent to the association for training. It’s six months of bonding with the trainer before the serious work starts. They eventually leave the association knowing how to for example, but not limited to these, cross a road with their blind human, open cupboard doors for their humans and to disobey their human for their own and the human’s safety.
The market was one of those days that you can enjoy as a family outdoors. Roam around the stalls and purchase stuff you don’t need but buy because it’s all for a great cause. The best part for me is that the event takes place literally outside our doorstep, so that petrol saving can be invested further in this association and the amazing work they for those with sight challenges.
If you missed out this time round, don’t sweat it .. I believe there should be a summer one in a few months. Entrance was a meer R20 and the delicious food being sold was all so reasonably priced too.