They say Arusha is the Geneva of Africa. As the five nations of the East African Community grow closer with a common visa policy and the promise of a single currency in a few years, Arusha’s importance as the seat of the Community is growing and thanks to its position in the shadow of mighty Mount Meru, the lush micro-climate means the shady boulevards of town are lined with well-kept greenery and beautiful purple-flowering jacaranda trees.
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Alex Mayers's blog
Although the journey is short from the Donkey Sanctuary Kenya’s Nakuru office to Subukia, a small town on Kenya’s Rift Valley floor, it is also quite beautiful. As we bounced along the potholed road from town, the walls of the mighty Rift Valley towered up on either side of the road to frame acid-green tea plantations, regimentally-spaced coffee bushes and all manner of dusty little shops and businesses from open-air blacksmiths to painted wooden cafes filled with white plastic chairs.
Under the crisp, winter sky of Addis Ababa, the Donkey Sanctuary Ethiopia (DSE) team have spent the last 10 days together to share and learn from their successes in 2014 and to plan their activities for the coming year. Until a few years ago, the focus was on treating as many donkeys as possible but the team found there was a limit to the number of donkeys they could reach and the root causes of the welfare problems were not being addressed so they would see the same problems, often preventable ones, reoccurring.
I woke up this morning to a sensory feast; the soothing sound of rain on the thatched roof, the light wood-smoke smell of breakfast cooking and the distant sound of young men singing traditional songs in the Pedi language. In the Waterberg mountains of Limpopo province in South Africa, these lovely soft rains are a real blessing and the vibrant green against the ancient, red mountains gives the place a magical feel.
The townships of Johannesburg are not easy places in which to work. Migrant workers from throughout South Africa (and beyond) have been drawn to the big smoke and so a wide mix of cultures populates an area where the infrastructure doesn’t always cope. A high crime rate and significant social problems within the townships are generally considered the main priorities, with animal welfare slipping down the list. Yet for many people, having healthy donkeys is the only way of earning an income.
“My dream is to improve the lives of working donkeys in the isolated areas of Lesotho; that is my aim” said Sylvester Bereng, a Mosotho (person from Lesotho) who is coming to the end of a six-month equine-welfare inspector training course. Provided by Highveld Horse Care Unit and sponsored by The Donkey Sanctuary, the training means that Sylvester is learning to identify and address welfare problems that he sees by developing his skills in performing clinical examinations, giving basic treatments, cleaning wounds, fitting harnesses etc.