Mkoba is an urban township in Zimbabwe’s third largest city. Power cuts are frequent and people often use firewood as an alternative form of energy. Eight-year-old Stimbok is one of the many donkeys that carry firewood from forests 20 kilometres away for their owners to sell in the city. To earn a living, the pressure is on these owners to collect as many cartfuls of firewood as possible each day, but this can come at a major price for the donkeys that have to pull the heavy loads — including Stimbok.
Stimbok’s owner, Killion Banda, brought him to SPANA’s mobile clinic after wounds appeared across his donkey’s chest. SPANA vet Dr Andy examined the painful wounds, which had been caused by an ill-fitting donkey harness with poor padding that had rubbed constantly on Stimbok’s skin. He cleaned the wounds and applied zinc oxide paste to protect them and promote healing.
Killion had tried to pad Stimbok’s harness with old rags, but was advised to use softer material in future, such as soft cotton padding, which is available cheaply. The SPANA team also taught Killion how to apply the zinc oxide paste and advised him to rest Stimbok until the wounds had healed completely.
Killion, who relies on Stimbok to help him earn enough money to feed his wife, three young children and send his younger brother to school, was extremely grateful for SPANA’s help. He said:
‘I am happy that SPANA have taught me the importance of proper harnessing for the well being of my donkey. The donkey is my only source of income and I would not want to lose him. Keep up the tremendous work you are doing for our community.’