Monthly Archives: June 2009

Creative USB optical mouse Hack / challenge

Hey guys

Here is an open challenge / hack to any creative techies who have a few minutes to spare.

Ama Wheelies is looking for a DIY hack that turns an everyday USB optical mouse into a super cool quadriplegic friendly mouse.  The reason for this is because it would be really handy to use a mouse and getting a mouse that works using only your head or mouth is extremely costly (about R12000.00).  I am sure if enough people put there heads together we can come up with something that can be easily hacked together using regular technology available cheaply.  The ability to use a mouse will make the lives of many quadriplegics easier.

Please note that this mouse needs to work easily using only your head.  Most quadriplegics have limited or no use of either hand or foot.  Good luck coming up with a hack.  We can’t wait to see what you come up with.


Team Ama Wheelies

Kruger Park Road Trip 2009

So day 1 of the Kruger trip ended with a bang, literally.  You know it’s amazing how much damage a small little thorn can do, within seconds one of the wheelchairs came to a standstill.  No problem, we had a tool kit in the van, so your’s truly, the live and not so live Kruger blogger man /builder/caregiver/tour guide/friend and web2.0 wannabe jumped into action to save the day, well at least thats what I tried.

A few small problems though, the sun was setting fast,  I have never changed a wheelchair wheel before and the tool kit on site wasn’t exactly a MacGyver kit.

It turns out that the wheel fittings had seized and much heavier tools were needed to perform the repair.  Anyway the other caregivers and I battled for about an hour before deciding it would be better to try something different in the morning.

The next morning we all jumped into the van and headed towards Skukuza to try and find something that could be used to repair the wheel and would you believe it, we could find nothing.  So we headed back to Pretoriuskup empty handed.  Lucky for us, the wheelchair seemed to drive perfectly with only 3 wheels inflated.  Although going down hills were a bit tricky and we needed to constantly watch that no accidents happened.  Anyway stress aside we had a great day driving between Skukuza and Pretoriuskop and saw some great sightings.

They say some guys have all the luck and I personally feel that to see Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino and Cheetah all in one day is a blessing.  These are some of the top animals to see in Kruger and we got to see all of them.

After surviving another day with a flat wheel we decided that on day 3 we would take a slow drive down to Afsaal for the day.  The trip was beautiful and we saw a few more great sightings along the way.  Pulling into Afsaal was a bit nerve recking, should we or should we not offload the quads, this picnic spot has no fences and who knows what animals could come strolling into the rest spot.  After offloading we made a v-line for the curio shop and it was there that we met Japie, the camp manager.  This guy is no ordinary manager, he goes way out of his way to help and when he saw that we had a flat wheel on one of the chairs he jumped into action with a good old boere remedy.

Placing a little mielie meal and flour on the nosel of his compressor he pumped the mixture into the wheel and would you believe my surprise, the wheel stopped leaking.  Wow I was speechless! There was no way it could be so easy.  I actually saw tears of joy rolling down the faces of some of the members in our group.

With emotions running high it was time for lunch and yet again Japie jumped into action and got us some great tasting fools venison sandwiches.  This was the perfect ending to a great day and Japie was hero for the hour.

I say hero for an hour because thats about as long as the boere remedy worked.  We were barely out the camp when the wheel deflated again.  Anyway it was the thought that counted and I will remember that trick for years to come. Thanks Japie, you are the man!!

The final evening in Kruger was spent cooking potjie kos and boy oh boy was it great tasting potjie kos.  Either I was very hungry or this stuff was just to good to be true, probably a little of both.  Sitting here I can still taste it.

Thats it from Kruger folks, thank you for following the short trip we had to Kruger and a huge thanks again to SANparks for supporting the disabled community in South Africa. For more pics see our flickr page.

Kruger Park Road Trip: 2009

Live from Kruger:

Our recent outing (1June-5June) to the Kruger National Park was a much appreciated gift from SANParks.
The road trip started 5am on Monday morning from Primrose in Johannesburg,  from there we headed to Nelspruit were a quick informal meeting with SEDA (small enterprise development agency) was held, sadly the wheelchair access to the building was not operational.  Luckily the friendly ladies at SEDA quickly jumped into action and a great rooftop meeting was help. (Thanks Phumzile and staff)

After a quick trip through Hazyview we finally arrived at the Numbi gate and entered the park for our courtesy week in the park.  Pretoriuskop here we come heeehaaa…


It’s great to be here! The easy to use wheelchair access facilities and friendly SANPark staff have over the last few days made us feel at home.  Everyone involved in the Kruger road trip is having a great time and we would like to thank SANParks for the kindness shown.

In the next edition of Kruger Park Road trip 09

  1. Will a puncture to one of the wheelchair wheels spoil the fun?
  2. Do staff in Kruger go the extra mile? This and more coming in the next few days.