Monday 13th October
After an 11 hour flight from Heathrow, taking us over Ireland, the Atlantic, the eastern seaboard of the Unites States and past massive cumulus clouds boiling up in the hurricane zone of the Gulf of Mexico, we arrive, with the sun starting to set, onto Mexico’s high central plateau and the enormous metropolis of Mexico City. Vets Alfredo and Mauro, meet us and take us to where we will be staying. Alfredo is the team leader of one of four mobile teams in the Mexico project and Mauro is his veterinary assistant.
The Donkey Sanctuary in Mexico is the lead charity partner in a consortium with the Veterinary Faculty of UNAM (the Autonomous National University of Mexico) and World Horse Welfare. UNAM is the National University of Mexico with a status above the state universities. Where it leads the others follow. As a result of the association with UNAM, the project has been hugely successful over the last 23 years in raising awareness about working equines in Mexico.
I am travelling with Mal Squance. Mal has been with the Sanctuary for 27 years and is currently Deputy Chief Executive. Among other things, she has been responsible for international operations outside Europe, a responsibility she is now handing over to me in this new role of Director of International Operations. Mal is also responsible for Donkey World Limited, the trading arm of the Sanctuary that raises funds through the sale of donkey related gifts. During this trip, as well as introducing me to the Mexico project, Mal is looking to find craftsmen and women in the areas where we are working whose work we could sell through Donkey World on a fairtrade basis. Mal hopes to present the goods she finds together with photos and some information about the people who make them.