Diarra is one of the many donkeys who works tirelessly at the vast Badalabougou rubbish dump in Mali’s capital, Bamako. Every morning, seven days a week, five-year-old Diarra pulls cartloads laden with rubbish back and forth between the city and the dump. Thanks to Diarra, her young owner, Sekou, is able to earn a small income as a refuse collector.
In this tough job, Diarra is at constant risk of injury as she makes her way carefully through the huge piles of debris. The waste contains hazardous materials, such as sharp scraps of metal and shards of glass, which can cause painful cuts and open wounds.
As a result, one of the greatest dangers working animals face is from tetanus. Tetanus is a bacterial infection that thrives in dirty environments like rubbish dumps and can enter the body through even the smallest graze or cut. Without treatment, tetanus can cause severe muscle spasms, leading to paralysis, and can often be fatal for working animals.
That’s why Sekou was extremely concerned when he noticed Diarra had developed some wounds on her back and around her tail, the result of a poorly fitted harness.