Baking bread blindfolded for World Retina Week

2016-09-28 06:00
Noluthando Mlakalaka (left) with her husband, Witness Mlakalaka, placing their cut herbs on the bread dough.                   Photo: ANIKA DE BEER

Noluthando Mlakalaka (left) with her husband, Witness Mlakalaka, placing their cut herbs on the bread dough. Photo: ANIKA DE BEER

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RETINA South Africa held a workshop on Friday, September 23, in celebration of World Retina Week which took place from September 18 to 24.

During the workshop visually challenged people were introduced to new gardening and baking skills.

They were taught how to plant an herb box, grow their own herbs and, if they wish, how to use the herbs for cooking purposes.

Several journalists were invited to take part in the workshop and had to complete their tasks while blindfolded.

The purpose of the workshop was to introduce blind and partially blind people to new skills that could ultimately give them a potential income.

Under the watchful eye of creative landscape designer, Allan Haschick, the participants first cut their herbs before adding them to bread dough, making foccacia bread.

During his presentation, Haschick provided the participants with several helpful tips on growing their own herbs:

  • Herbs have a special liking for the sun and will not grow to their full potential if they are placed in the shade.
  • Most of the herbs mentioned grow in the Mediterranean region, which has a very dry climate. Thus, herbs only need to be watered once or twice a week.
  • Several of Haschick’s tips included recycling. For instance, it is very easy to make markers for different herbs using the lid of an ice cream tub. Simply cut out different shapes to differentiate between herbs.
  • Another creative idea was to use a two litre milk bottle as a watering can by making a few holes in the lid. The bottle has a handle and can easily be used to water one’s herbs.
  • When asked how a blind person can differentiate between the herbs and weeds, Haschick advised them to place an old piece of carpet around the herb plant. This would allow water to seep through, but not weeds as they cannot penetrate the material.

Haschick later taught the participants how to plant their herbs in the bottom half of a two litre coke bottle.

The workshop proved to be very insightful, according to Gail Cillie, Chairperson of Retina SA Eastern Cape. They now have several new exciting ideas for projects to work on in the future.

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