A Spoonful of Determination…
At the request of Dr. Ramesh from Donkey Sanctuary India, we dewormed all 12 donkeys. This has become part of our regular six monthly schedule to keep the donkeys healthy. Like humans who don’t like taking medicine, the donkeys resist swallowing, make ugly faces and only partially absorb the substance. But after an hour the job was done successfully! [Right: Deworming Sheila]
To ensure more donkeys are cared for, we increased the donkey population from 12 to 16. Our plan is to slowly bring more donkeys into the enclosure. Sinclair and Karnan waited at the open gate to ensure none of the other donkeys escaped while Joe our volunteer and Kelvin chased the donkeys into the yard. It was a smooth operation.
The other reason for the increase is because we are getting more and more request from animal lovers to sponsor our donkeys. This month Jenny Winton from Brisbane started her monthly contribution and Visakha from Colombo handed us a cheque covering a year’s sponsorship.
Donkey Milk for Medicine
Donkey milk is very similar to human milk and has many benefits especially for children. A few days ago Kelvin’s friend asked for donkey milk to give his nephew. The child was not eating properly and crying all the time. An old man from the village advised the uncle to wipe the baby with donkey’s milk to protect him from ‘drishti’ or ‘evil eye’.
Although surprised by the request, Kelvin obliged by milking a donkey – our first milking! We had a lot of fear. Would the donkey kick us or allow us to milk it? Luckily Sheila let us milk her. Amazingly, after two days we got a call from the gentleman saying that the baby is now fine.
DAT Site Progresses at Snail’s Pace
The construction of the Donkey Assisted Therapy centre, although dragging on, made good progress this month. Gravel was brought in to fill the two foot foundation. The block work on the walls reached lintel height. MARDAP requested the fourth payment and Jeremy, Bridging Lanka director, visited the site to witness the progress.
More and more people are now interested in our donkey work. A group of UK tourists fell in love with our youngest donkey. The visitors asked us why we were keeping donkeys. That was an easy question! The donkeys are used as therapy for disabled children and also to change the negative mindset of the community. We told them of our visionary plans for Mannar’s donkeys and how they will bring great benefit to the people.
An Australian Animal Lover
Josef Ciemcioch from country Victoria in Australia is volunteering with us for two months. Although his skills are in IT, he is also a good and patient animal lover. Joe is not afraid of hard work and helps us keep the site clean and also assists in taming and feeding our donkeys. Anyone who can bare Mannar’s sun to care for the donkeys is special indeed! Watch this video of Josef
We Miss Our Donkey Protector
Recently we were doing earthworks to improve the temporary donkey shelter. Lencie got us some funds from the Uniting Church in Victoria to improve the grounds and erect a shelter for the MARDAP children.
We had to open both gates for the tipper truck to come in. During this short time, two aggressive donkeys from outside came in and started chasing our female donkeys. They were scared and started running.
Our protector donkey, Murray, started running up and down trying to protect the female donkeys from these two. In their war, Murray got kicked hard in the mouth by one of the males. Murray's face swelled up.
We brought the Mannar Vet, Dr. Harshini, to the site and she did some treatment but after two days Murray died.
Murray was a friendly donkey and very good with the MARDAP children. In October last year we selected him to be a DAT donkey because of his gentle and caring ways. So we miss our protector a lot. Our thoughts are also with Murray’s adopted parents, Murray and Zofia.
Funky Social Media
We undertook one more step towards the promotion of our donkeys – through social media. Slowly, slowly we are lifting the profile of Mannar donkeys on both local and international stages. We have created a Facebook page called “Funky Donkeys - Mannar”. Daily, more people have started to ‘Like’ the page. We hope that through social media we will spread the message of the virtue of donkeys world-wide.