Donkey pulling cart with garbage
Donkey pulling cart with garbage

A trip to Mali

In May 2015, SPANA Chief Executive Jeremy Hulme visited one of SPANA’s core countries, Mali. It has been an exceptionally hot and dry early part of the year, putting extra strain on the economy, and of course the people and their animals…

Jeremy Hulme and a horse

One of the places where SPANA’s help is particularly crucial is at the rubbish dumps in Bamako, Mali’s capital city. I visited the rubbish dump at Lafiabougou (one of about twelve around the city). It is an enormous mountain of smoking garbage, where the loaded carts pulled by two or three donkeys struggle to reach the summit before they can tip their load. Breathing problems, exacerbated by the effort, are common.

This is still the main work of SPANA—animals stretched to their limits, amidst the grinding poverty of their owners and surroundings. 129 donkeys were treated by SPANA’s vet team, many with harness wounds and eye problems. New saddle pads and breast-bands were also given out.

At the SPANA Centre in Bamako I saw a new x-ray machine in action. The machine was provided by Vets with Horsepower—a group of equine vets led by Professor Derek Knottenbelt, who travelled 3,000 miles by motorbike across Europe and Africa to raise funds for SPANA. It was being used on a donkey brought in from the morning’s treatments with a damaged and very painful hind leg. I was pleased to see that the process was successful and impressive.

Children and three donkeys

I also took a trip out with SPANA’s mobile clinic to Sina (about an hour’s drive from Bamako), which is one of the many rural villages we regularly visit. 179 donkeys were treated and it was a wonderful opportunity to engage with their owners—both adults and children.

You can donate today to help the donkeys of the Bamako rubbish dumps.

With your support, SPANA can continue to provide food, water, shelter and veterinary care to these animals in desperate need. Thank you.

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