Nouakchott, the capital city of Mauritania is home to our core SPANA centre in the country. Located in west Africa, fresh drinking water is at a premium in the country’s hot and dusty climate. Donkeys and the people hired to carry water make their way to wells to fill up their orange plastic drums before delivering water to households around the city. There is virtually no rainfall all year, so the water troughs at SPANA’s centre are a source of great relief to the ever-growing donkey workforce.
Nancy Kemp, part of the SPANA Fundraising team, recently visited SPANA’s clinics and classrooms to see the work being carried out. Read about her experience…
The SPANA stables were full of donkeys and horses waiting to be seen. While most of the animals looked well-fed, there were a number of cases of chest infections and wounds from badly fitted harnesses. A pregnant donkey brought in with a prolapsed uterus was quickly treated and was back on her feet within the hour. While she was there the team also took the time to trim down her hooves which were very overgrown. By lunchtime when we left, the staff had already seen more than 40 cases – a busy morning indeed!
In contrast, as we drove to a SPANA clinic, we stopped off to see a private-run centre where owners have to pay for treatment. I was surprised at how poorly maintained the buildings were, compared to our clean and well-maintained Nouakchott SPANA Centre.
I also had the pleasure, whilst at the centre, or seeing Mr Bah (a SPANA Education Officer) teach a lesson on food webs to a full classroom of children. The class was very enthusiastic and asked lots of questions! We then headed off to visit two state schools where SPANA has its own classrooms. The walls of the rooms are covered in colourful posters of animals and plants and make for a fun environment to learn about animal welfare.
The next day we caught up with the team at one of our water points in the city where it’s easiest for our staff to treat many animals. On the day we visited, over 50 animals were treated! Following the busy afternoon, we ended the day treating donkeys working to bring in the catch from fishing boats. As the sun set over the beach, we took in the dramatic sight of hundreds of donkeys winding their way to the 1,000 waiting canoes.
A very busy trip but one that showed the huge range of care being provided in Mauritania – it’s a great feeling to see our important work in action.
Find out more about SPANA's work in Mauritania.