Wow, what a busy couple of days. Having arrived in Addis Ababa following the night flight I couldn't sleep on, we hit the road almost straight away and visited Merkato Market in the heart of the city. Over 2000 donkeys come through this market EVERY DAY and carry the most unbelievable loads - it is like the wholesalers so lots of trading goes on here between farmers bringing produce to sell, and taking wholesale products back to their villages to retail. It was actually quite hard to watch the donkeys working, as they were buckling under the weights. Comforting therefore to think that we have a relatively new clinic on site and the teams are working very hard to bring about a change in attitude to beating and overloading the donkeys. We visited the clinic and I met some of the donkeys receiving our help.
Today, we've been at the Debre Zeit clinic and out to Bekaju village, seeing first hand working donkeys carrying water and teff (a bit like straw). And more unfortunately I've seen some desperately sad donkeys with terrible wounds caused by overloading. The teams consist of vets, animal health assistants, harness makers and education officers so that we approach the root of these problems rather than just the fruits - I will explain more about this tree theory soon as it is a very intersting way of looking at how we address the longer term problems facing working donkeys in developing countries.
We're now making our way down to Awassa to see even more of our work. Will be in touch soon!