80p out of every £1 goes directly on donkey welfare and care
I met a great little donkey called Sigitu today and I couldn’t stop giving him cuddles! He’s a 17-year old skewbald gelding who lives near our main Sanctuary in Sidmouth.
I was in his barn trying to take photographs of the donkeys in their cosy home for the winter but he had other plans for me! Whilst the other donkeys were only interested in me for a few seconds, Sigitu, on the other hand, took great pleasure in following me (even if I ventured to the other side of the barn) nudging me and inquisitively checking my hair, scarf, coat, trousers, boots - he was just fascinated.
Making life more interesting!
Here in the veterinary projects and development department we are keen to undertake studies that improve the health and welfare of donkeys in our care. When we were approached by Emily Daniel from the University of Exeter asking if she could carry out a study looking at donkey behaviour we had the perfect project in mind!
Wednesday 15th October
Nesahualcoyatl, or 'Nesa', is an eastern satellite of Mexico City named after an Aztec king, Nesa Hualcoyatl, meaning Nesa of the place of the coyotes. Mexico City was the Aztec capital of Mexico until the Spanish conquest. Nesa is where many of the people drifting to Mexico City for work settle. Nowadays the only coyote in Nesa is the dramatic giant red metal modern art statue that stands, towering over a more modest and traditional statue of the king, on a roundabout at the start of the suburb.
Tuesday 14th October
On our first morning, we are collected by Alfredo Lopez Cabañas (veterinary surgeon), Mauro Madariaga (veterinary assistant), Pablo Torrealba (farrier), Chris Garrett, our UK based harness specialist, and Erika and Alma, two Social Service students. In Mexico, state University education is almost free, but students have to spend time doing useful work before they fully graduate. Erika and Alma are about to become vets, and the project provides a useful introduction to donkey health and welfare.
On the morning of Sunday 20th July, I was picked up by our team to drive to Kodaia, a small village outside Cairo in Egypt on the edge of the brick kiln area that supplies many of the workers. It was the team’s first visit, with an exceptional turnout of 220 donkeys.
Farid (SPWDME AHA and harness maker) and I worked non-stop, mostly making and altering head collars, but also repairing two saddles. After work, we went to see a family of saddlers in the next town who had been making some new harness under Farid’s guidance.
Monday 13th October
After an 11 hour flight from Heathrow, taking us over Ireland, the Atlantic, the eastern seaboard of the Unites States and past massive cumulus clouds boiling up in the hurricane zone of the Gulf of Mexico, we arrive, with the sun starting to set, onto Mexico’s high central plateau and the enormous metropolis of Mexico City. Vets Alfredo and Mauro, meet us and take us to where we will be staying. Alfredo is the team leader of one of four mobile teams in the Mexico project and Mauro is his veterinary assistant.