Monday 5 March 2012: If he had a voice
If he could talk like a human,He would say
It's not right. I swear to God that it is not fair to leave me hungry and thirsty
Believe me, I help you so much. I carry heavy things for you and have carried you upon my back
Why do you harm me and beat me?
You always forget about me and leave me in the sun with no water
How can you do this to me? It is really unfair
I swear to God it is not nice to leave me hungry and thirsty.
These are the words of a song that was played to a group of school children from Abu Bakr School today at ACE.
We have a wonderful education room that has been standing empty for 2 years, due to the Swine Flu outbreak and of course our Revolution. Today saw the first class of 4 per week, that will come to us to receive a lesson in animal care and welfare.
Wael Nour, a teacher from Luxor, has worked with Kim Taylor, the founder of ACE, to develop a simple but effective lesson, that will eliminate mistreatment of animals, by agreeing on a 'Deal' at the end of the lesson. He asked what an animal meant to them and what they get from them. Most said, milk, cheese, meat and that they work hard for them and brought money into the home.
When asked if anyone had harmed an animal, hands shot up into the air. They admitted to kicking donkeys and throwing stones at dogs. Why would you beat and harm an animal that continually gives you so much? Would you do this to a friend of yours? Would you beat him if he had helped you? Then after helping you again, you would beat him harder? No was the answer. The deal is, if you don't harm your animal, you can take the cheese, milk etc that he provides for you and the family. But if you want to harm him, then you do not take anything from him. (This is not an option of course!)
Animals can't speak. Just because they do not have that ability to talk it does not mean that they do not have feelings. They get sick, they feel pain, they feel hunger, they feel a thirst and sometimes they feel happiness!
Luxor Governor, Dr.Ezaat Saad, supports the work that we do and sat in on the lesson. He then took a tour with the children and spoke to them, reiterating what Wael had said.
At 5pm, we were to be in the village of El Tod, about 20km from Luxor. It's a small rural village where Kris Huybrechts has been working with a group of people in the Rababah Community Centre and SchoolHe had invited Becky, a vet from the UK, to talk to the children there about the same issues Wael expressed to the children earlier.
No chairs and desks, no projector screen, no lights, no roof! A very different classroom environment and very different children. The photo is of a young boy that brought his donkey to be checked over by the vets. He was chosen as an 'Example' of good practice, as his donkey was well cared for and healthy.
The children dressed in their very best clothes, were both fascinated and amused at the sight of Europeans in their village! Becky spoke as Dr.Matta translated, explaining how to care and look after your donkey to keep him happy.
Outside, a group of people were gathering for the 'Street Surgery' Donkeys, horses, goats and a baby water buffalo were brought in. Animals were very wary of having treatment and created a huge dust cloud as they struggled to escape the hands of the vets!
The contrast between the 2 events really was very strong and as a consequence, I did not sleep very well. I found the work that has to be done in educating these people quiet daunting and emotional, but that doesn't mean I am not going to continue to support what Kris and Kim are doing. 'Step by Step' as we say here. But thank goodness for people that have the courage and devotion to spend their lives trying to help others.