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Keeping water flowing is an uphill battle

It was our last working day in Mexico before flying home, and we couldn't believe how quickly our two-week trip had flown by!

We travelled to a village called Xochimilco (meaning ‘Place of Flowers’) in the mountains on the outskirts of Mexico City. It is a bizarre little place, spread out over different levels as the mountainside is so steep. Despite the feeling that you are in a rural community, you are actually only a stone’s throw away from the sprawling metropolis of Mexico City and one glance back down the mountain reminds you of that.

A donkey waiting at the water pump

Pancho's heavy load

The rain had finally eased and given way to a warm but cloudy day. Due to the distances covered in Mexico it was time to start heading back in the direction of the big city, as it was going to take a couple of days to get there.

Our destination was chosen as it was not too far off the main route back to Mexico City, but Rebeca and Arturo were concerned that the day may not be very interesting for us. However, it turned out to be very valuable and fascinating, so we were really glad that our route took us to this community.

Jello the mule

Women paving the way for donkey welfare

Following on from hearing all about the issues with working donkeys in Veracruz’s busy urban areas, the team took us out to meet two ladies who were the first to sign up for the new project in Veracruz (see earlier blog: Supporting donkeys in the modern world).

Firstly we met Maria, an elderly lady, and her nine-year-old donkey named Panchita; they have been a working partnership for the past seven years.

Maria with her donkey Panchita

Building a brighter tomorrow

This afternoon, after we had finished our class with the vet students, we visited a local family who Mauro has been working with twice a month for the past year. They currently have one mule called El Palomo, who is 12 years old, and one donkey called Pedro, who is nine years old, who are both used for agriculture.

The animals are owned by a lady called Maria. Maria’s father-in-law used to care for the animals but now he is too old, so when Maria and her husband took over the care of the animals they decided to attend a clinic with the DS-UNAM programme.

El Palomo having his hooves trimmed

Hubbub descends on a dusty clearing

Today is our first full working day in Mexico so we awoke early, excited but with trepidation at what experiences were to come. We were picked up by Arturo and Rebeca (both are Senior Managers in The Donkey Sanctuary-UNAM programme) in what we came to know as our all American A-team truck, which was to become our second home for the next two weeks!

We travelled to a UNAM veterinary campus in Queretaro, where vet students get hands-on experience. Here we met Dr Omar Prado Ortíz, who is a vet for the The Donkey Sanctuary-UNAM (DS-UNAM) programme.

A donkey and his owner waiting to talk with The Donkey Sanctuary team

Giving the gift of friendship

As Farms Equine Assistant, one of my main jobs has been to visit all our potential foster donkeys. I go with a colleague from our welfare team to assess their suitability before putting the donkeys forward to have a thorough medical examination with one of the vets; to ensure they have a perfect bill of health before hopefully joining their new home.

Ike and Jazz from Woods Farm


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