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Dawn Vincent's blog
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.
My name is Dawn Vincent and I am visiting our work in Ethiopia this week, where millions of donkeys play a vital role in people's daily lives. I can never sleep on planes so thought I'd write this blog! I'm seven hours into my flight to Addis Ababa and I can see a warm orange and red glow emerging through my window as the sun begins to rise over Africa.
I attended the official opening of the Belfast Centre of our sister charity, the Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkeys (EST) last week, 23rd June, and met two of our fantastic volunteers there.
Sheelagh and Charlie Feely made me feel so welcome and, like everyone that day, were very happy to be involved in the special occasion, attended by Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal.
We've been drawn to some recent press coverage about a donkey called Eeyore from Wilmslow who is thought to be the world's oldest donkey, at the grand age of 54!
Not far behind Eeyore is our oldest resident here at the Sanctuary, Laz. We believe he is now 51 years of age!
He came into our care in 2000 and was the 8,209th donkey to pass through our doors. Now living at Woods Farm, he enjoys a peaceful life surrounded by his friends and is given the expert care he deserves.
My office is based here at The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. I managed to get in this morning despite the thick snow but rather than open up my emails, I made my way with Pam (our PR Assistant) to help out with the donkeys!
Farm Manager Alan Brown and his team are responsible for the care of 267 donkeys at Trow and Hurfords, two areas of the Sidmouth complex. Most of the donkeys at Trow are elderly and frail and enjoy extra, extra heat lamps to keep them warm in conditions like this.