Partly as a little light-relief during a packed week of activities, Louise, Harriet and I made our acting debuts this morning in Warren Barn. We are currently hosting around 25 of our international partners from Kenya, India, Egypt, Mexico and Ethiopia to share approaches and to look at how the new Donkey Sanctuary strategy will direct our projects over the next 5 years. And what better way to explore strategic approaches than with a bit of drama?
To set the scene, Donkey-Louise and Donkey-Harriet came across a river and wanted to cross. The snakes, crocodiles and other scary critters made them far too nervous to cross. Then, who should appear but… (wait for it…) Super Donk! Like a true hero, Super Donk picked Harriet-Donkey up and carried her across the stepping stones. Realising that this was a pretty exhausting way to work, Super Donk dropped the her off on an island and needed a sit-down to recover. Louise-Donkey started calling for help and, still exhausted, Super Donk decided on a change of approach. He guided her to use the stepping stones herself, overtaking Harriet-Donkey on her island and managing to get all the way to the other side! Hooray! Time for a cuppa! But poor Harriet-Donkey was left all alone on her island.
Through some skilled facilitation from Julia, our partners had the opportunity to explore what each donkey represented, what the stepping stones represented, what the scary snakes represented and how the group wanted the story to end. Everyone read slightly different but equally meaningful messages from the coded story. As I type, hugely positive and active discussions are taking place to explore the impact of an integrated community approach to donkey welfare and what that involves for each of the partner organisations. The power of the exercise was clear; Louise, Harriet and I now just need to polish our acceptance speeches in time for the next Oscars!