When Vieux noticed that Superman the donkey was injured, he brought him to SPANA’s mobile vet clinic for treatment.
In Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania,10-year-old Vieux joins his uncle after school to help with the family transportation business, which relies on their trusty donkey, named Superman.
Like so many other donkeys in Nouakchott, Superman is critically important to his owners’ survival, helping them to earn a small income from moving construction materials and produce across the city.
They work together under the hot Saharan sun in 40 degree heat, walking alongside the road as cars rush past. Vieux’s family is fortunate enough to have two other donkeys, which means they can afford to give Superman a much deserved rest every other day.
When the family’s usual cart was damaged during work one day, Vieux’s uncle had no choice but to borrow a smaller cart from a neighbour. The pair carried on with work but Vieux became concerned when he noticed that the shaft of this new cart was rubbing against Superman’s back, causing a painful wound which could become infected if not treated.
Concerned about Superman’s wellbeing, Vieux brought the wound to the attention of his uncle. Luckily, the man remembered that the SPANA mobile clinic was due to visit his district the following day. Vieux volunteered to bring Superman to the clinic and, after school, dutifully brought the donkey to the SPANA team for treatment.
The vets cleaned the wound with water and betadine, and sprayed antiseptic on the area to prevent infection. The vets took time to answer Vieux’s questions and suggested that he and his uncle rest Superman for a few days while waiting for the original cart to be fixed.
Although this would be a financial blow to the family, Vieux knew that he needed to do everything within his power to ensure that his donkey would make a full recovery. For many children like Vieux and his siblings, growing up in one of the poorest districts in Nouakchott, life is difficult. Without Superman, Vieux’s family could not bring in the income needed to provide the most basic of necessities.
Vieux was delighted with the quick treatment and said: ‘The vets did a very good job. My donkey was weak but now he will be just like superman!’