Yes folks, that’s me on the cover! I had such fun! Durban always has a good mixture of weather! My first awesome experience was when Ari Seirlis took me for a ride in his powerful Polaris side-by-side quad bike - aptly named The Beast! Willing hands assisted in getting me behind the wheel; Ari gave me a quick orientation of the gears, throttle and brakes and we were off. This awesome machine took me back to terrain that I nevert hought I would see again since becoming mobility impaired. I enjoyed guiding the roaring Beast into turns on overgrown pathways and powering up steep inclines – listening carefully to Ari’s guidance as he knows the nature of the Beast and the terrain better than I! He showed me how to avoid getting caught in ruts and how to accelerate out of difficult situations. I was in awe of the beautiful surroundings, the serenity of the Sunday morning and the splendour of nature.

I spent most of my time at the Durban beachfront and enjoyed every minute of it. QASA has a few beach wheelchairs there for public use. The beach wheelchair parked at Ocean Ventures (just in front of Ushaka) gave me loads of access and action. It was readily available and I could just ask for it - they even helped me into the chair. With the help of my kids, and Bongani of Ocean Ventures, was I transferred into it and pushed down the ramp that leads to the beach. I was able to go onto the beach, to drift in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and to build sand castles with my kids and grandson! What fun it was! When last did I have the opportunity to do this? It has brought back memories from years ago.

Although the beach wheelchair provides great freedom of movement and accessibility, something that we had little or no control over restricted us. The recent upgrade to the walkways and paving on the promenade makes wheeling around easy and pleasant, but the ramp leading down to the beach has a huge crack in it and it took tremendous strength, serious navigating and manoeuvring from willing “pushers” of the chair plus lots of instructions, cautions and threats from me to get over this unsightly obstacle.

These two experiences got me thinking of the path of life; how easily we become stuck in a rut and think there’s no way out. There will always be obstacles in life. We need to learn when to take heed of advice and when to power up and use force. And to look beyond the immediate situation and focus on the beauty that lies on the horizon.

ri-dot