23 February 2020


Wednesday 19 February

We spent a very interesting day at The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust. The trust is a UK charity based in Surrey and run by Heather. They have two sites in The Gambia and we visited their site at Makasutu about 20 minutes drive from Brikama. This site is their newer one and opened in 2017. They have horse boxes and stabling there and are currently looking after  57 horses and donkeys  there as well as 4 camels and a number of dogs that need some kind of health treatment or assistance.

The trust looks after maltreated and sick horses and donkeys and can provide a sanctuary for these, as well as for older animals who are no longer able to work on the farms.

We were shown around by Paul who is the yard manager and is also a paravet. He started there as an apprentice 6 years ago and clearly loves his job. As well as horse boxes they also have  an animal hospital which we were able to see around. At that time they had 2 inpatients. A dog with botulism, caught, they think, from eating a dead turtle on the beach and a donkey foal that had been hit by a car.

A paddock and stables at Makasutu

Phew!It's hot!

In the hospital. The cats are after the dog's food. They didn't get it the dog "growled"them off - hopefully a sign that the dog is improving

After a while we met Heather, who had arrived from the UK the day before, and we had very good discussions with her.

One of the reasons for the visit is that PAGEANT has decided to pay for 4 apprenticeships at The Trust. This sill give great skills to some local people. Wwe also arranged for Mo Lamin, Wandifa's eldest son to visit the site on Saturdays to learn about handling donkeys. Mo Lamin has always been interested in donkeys!

The trust maintains strong lists with UK institutions. Vets from the UK volunteer to come and work at the sites and they are also regularly visited by students from British Universities whos spend a period of time here learning first hand of diseases that affect animals in The Gambia, something they can only learn the theory of when in the UK. Of particular interest is the treatment of trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) caused by infection from the bite of the tsetse fly. This is a major cause of death of farm animals.

Overall a very rewarding visit. You can find out more about the trust and its work at: www.gambiahorseanddonkey.org.uk.

Tomorrow Kathy and I start our journey home although Pippa is staying for a further five days. We don't have anything planned for the day other than some admin tasks, so this will be my last blog for this visit. It has been a very successful visit. We do however hope that the weather is a little cooler next visit. Usually it is about 30 to 32 degrees Celsius (86 to 90 Fahrenheit). This year everyday has been about 39 or 40 degrees (102 to 104 Fahrenheit), just a tad to hot! Anyway we have enjoyed writing this blog and we hope you have enjoyed reading it

Andrew & Kathy

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