• ‘Llamajoy’: Therapeutic social encounters at Old Noarlunga

    ‘Llamajoy’: Therapeutic social encounters at Old Noarlunga

    Resthaven Coordinator, Corinne Lama, is living up to her namesake, introducing a ‘Llamajoy’ program for Resthaven Onkaparinga Community Services clients, providing therapeutic social encounters with llamas.

    Working together with local llama owner, Sherilee, Corinne has created an experience that can be personalised to support the individual health and mobility needs of Resthaven clients.

    Llama wool products
    Llama wool products

    Corinne explains, ‘One program includes making items from llama wool, using the old technique of the spinning wheel to make the yarn, which is then hand-dyed.’

    ‘Clients make the items whilst sitting in the shade under a tree with the llamas resting around them.’

    ‘Our first client, Margaret, enjoyed her llama experience so much that she is now using her Home Care Package funding to support this fortnightly as a social outing.’

    ‘Margaret always wanted to learn how to use the spinning wheel, but never achieved this goal.’

    ‘At 81 years of age, Margaret will now meet with Sherilee fortnightly, learning how to create woollen socks out of llama wool, sitting with the llamas as they rest after their walk.’

    Margaret was certainly enamoured by the experience, sharing her recollections here:

    On Tuesday, I had a new experience – I went walking with llamas at Old Noarlunga.

    I had been told about them, but had not had the experience until then.

    Corinne, our Coordinator, had asked me to try this out as a possible social outing. I told her, ‘I’m biased because I’m absolutely besotted with all animals!’

    When I learned that Sherilee, who runs the service, also spins their wool, and is based in a lovely old Uniting Church, I was really and truly hooked.

    Most people are familiar with alpacas, but this is my first contact with llamas, who are the larger members of the family. In South America, they are used as pack animals, as we use horses and donkeys.

    On meeting Sherilee’s llamas, ‘Peaches’ and ‘Sunset,’ I had to allow then to sniff my face, which might be a bit confronting for some people, but not me. After most of my life associating with a variety of animals, I am well accustomed to having my face near them! 

    After our walk, we had a cuppa at the church, which is a lovely building where services are still held each Sunday.

    Then, we took a look at the spinning wheel, and the homemade felted articles Sherilee makes.

    Someone asked if you could ride the llamas? The answer was, ‘probably’, but in the meantime, Sherilee is planning on having a cart made, which they can pull, for children to ride in.

    All in all, it was a wonderful experience, and one I intend to have again.

    Corinne says, ‘The full llamajoy experience is available for 1.5 hrs or 45 minutes.’

    ‘We are looking at further options in future, to expand the day to include a lunch outing.’

    Watch this space!

    Do you want to remain living at home, leading an independent lifestyle?