Last week Nigel got a call from a friend working in the organisation Animal Rahat, telling about seven circus ponies that had to be rehomed after the circus failed the inspections for the housing and general welfare standards for the horses and decided to stop keeping any animals in the circus. The question was, whether we could potentially be able to take those ponies. Emma and Saara were of course over the top thrilled about this idea and we made some rough plans about the new stable buildings we would need for them etc. However, all the time I thought that this might happen after some weeks only.
Well, sometimes some things happen very fast in India and so seven ex-circus ponies arrived today evening at 8pm. All very skinny and there are four stallions in the group so someone has to get busy castrating next weekend. We did not avoid the sad story – there was actually eight ponies but one of them had been suffering from bad laminitis and when the truck got stuck for several hours because of a mechanical problem some 3 hour drive from us, the pony went down and would not get up anymore, just kept kicking the other horses in the truck. They called me there while they were waiting for a car mechanic to come over to see the situation. Heavily pain-medicated the poor pony and as they finally arrived in our place and had unloaded all the others, I had to put that poor old, blind pony to sleep. Emma and Saara renamed the ponies (there were two ‘Rajas’ in the group and we already have one Raja with us) as Spirit, Caspian, Felix, Oscar, Rain, Belle and Yasmine. Have to admit I think our girls are very good in naming horses – they practice that so much in their imagination games that are fuelled by the countless pony-books and Heartland episodes. Disney princess movies and the movie ‘Spirit’ were certainly influential this time.
Besides of having this pony circus going on, we have been enjoying the new garden that might even produce something one day. Durga was very helpful today in watering the plants with the big girls while I harvested some basil, beans and chillies. We have planted lots of chilli to keep elephants away and to also start making chilli-fencing as we saw in Zambia as an elephant-friendly way to keep elephants away from cultivations.
However, with seven new ponies in our lives, our weekend-programs are quite set. New stables need to be built and the new ponies need to be gradually integrated to the existing group of ponies and horses and we need to learn about their personalities.
Because I did not have the chance to do much blog updating during the last month in Africa because of no internet/electricity, I have decided to add some Africa memories in the end of each blog post over the next couple of months. This time it will be about our visit to the San people (aka bushman) living museum in the Erongo mountains, Namibia. The living museum/San people village was some 70km on dirt road and to the bush. We saw no non-San people nowhere nearby so the experience was very authentic and comfortable. I think these type of exhibitions of indigenous people traditional lifestyles can easily be rather awkward and uncomfortable for the visitors if it is very clear that the ‘tribals’ are really just putting up a show for tourists. (We saw some of that kind also outside some lodges and at craft markets). But this place was really good experience. This project involves 2-4 groups of San people who will take turns to come to the living museum for about 2 months at a time to demonstrate their traditional lifestyles of hunting and gathering and to sell necklaces that they make. Their homes are further north in Namibia but while they are at the museum, they are able to keep their children in playschool that has been established in the area with funding from the museum. The exhibition included demonstration of how they make necklaces from seeds and ostrich egg shells, how the men used to make poisonous arrows for hunting and traps for birds and how they will light a fire with firesticks and by speaking to the fire, inviting it to come. In the end I was invited to dance along – the dance was called the rainbow dance to thank for the rains. All the women who work with us in India got their Africa gift from here, ostrich egg shell necklaces. Later on in Swakopmund we saw several young San boys, drunk and begging on the street corners and saw how much better life the living museum people were able to have by maintaining their traditional skills for these museum demonstrations and for making necklaces for sale. Each necklace came with a small tag that had the name of the person who had made it.
Olen Ilona, kolkytjarisat eläinlääkäri ja kahden ponitytön äiti. Tulin Intiaan yli kymmenen vuotta sitten vapaaehtoistyöhön ja jäin sille/tälle tielle. Blogissa kerron elämästämme ja eläimistämme Intiassa.