International animal welfare charity The Donkey Sanctuary has recently launched a new five year project in Ethiopia that will see ‘donkey welfare’ on the training agenda of the country’s national veterinary service.
I am flying back home to my family and The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. It has been a long 5 weeks visiting our projects in Ethiopia and Egypt but I am returning happy knowing the projects are progressing well. During this time we held a workshop with our overseas vets as well as two of our vets from the UK, in the veterinary faculty near Addis.
One of the most serious diseases affecting mules and horses in Ethiopia is Epizootic Lymphangitis (EZL). It’s a contagious fungal disease which leads to abscesses along the legs and body. In our clinic in Bahir Dar where mules are commonly used to pull carts, several cases are seen each week.
Six months ago I visited our Ethiopia project and my memories were re-lived last week when I was able to give a talk to colleagues about my experiences.
Our project has an extensive reach to working donkeys and their owners with bases at Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Debre Zeit, Hawassa and Mekele.
Tumme Konton, her husband Sisay and their children live in a tiny settlement called Adankonsole, near the small market town of Soguba, not far from the Kenyan border in Ethiopia.
When asked who in his big family works the hardest, twelve-year-old Abraham says, “the donkey”. It’s true – his mum Birtukan, his dad Tilahun, he and his brothers and sisters, and their grandparents, all rely on one donkey to make a living. They use the donkey to pull a cart, delivering essential goods such as firewood and water around their neighbourhood.