Welcome Frankie.US And life goes on. Susan and Mohamed have just returned from market where they ordered a large lorry load of hay, the sun is shining, and the oldies are all enjoying a roll in the sand. From all the herd, have a very happy day and spare us a thought here at Jarjeer from time to time.
How true we all agreed!
So here I am learning tolerance towards a horse whom I discover is to live at Jarjeer. Where are all the humans I said to myself? Yes, you got it in one, making a fuss of the pesky horse. Charles has called him Rufus. He gets to spend all day in the olive groves and he is waiting for a new stable to be finished so that he can have special accommodation. "Oh no Tommy, you got that wrong" said Byed our elderly donkey. "I heard the humans agreeing that it would be good for you and Rufus if you shared your own stable and paddock. So there we have it, I am being promoted to become a friend and companion to our new horse Rufus. I always knew that I was special and now my status has been confirmed even though I told the rest of the herd that I will still be keeping a very close eye on them all.
29 August 2016
Emily, one of our older donkeys at the Refuge, asked me why I'm not blogging any more. All the girls hew hawed in support and said that it was outrageous that I didn't use my writing talents to best advantage. I agreed but I put it down to that pesky human, Susan, who introduced me to Facebook and it is so much easier to post a short comment and a photo each day. "BUT where does that get us" said Byed our older white donkey. "Lots of likes and what good are those to us". I agreed and told them all that was why I handed the Facebook content back to the humans because a lot of 'friends' didn't even understand I was a donkey, someone thought they were talking to Susan's husband. "Heaven help our hooves" screamed young Jerry "what is the paddock coming to!"
Which brings me on to life in the paddock and another reason that I have not been blogging, I've just been too busy. I now have 7 mules, and can't those mules eat, and 28 donkeys with another booked to come in this week. I have to be on hand to oversee building work and help my new favourite human, Touffik, with feeding three times a day.
"Yipes, whats that" shouted one of the mules as Susan came running across the paddock to consult with us. Maybe consult is overgenerous because all she could do is shriek at me "Tommy, get writing, there's money in this blogging lark". We all stood stunned, what is she on about now. Charles strolled past and muttered something about it being another hair brained idea. But then I got to thinking, the humans hate having to rely on donations to feed us; they think it is like begging and there are far too may worthy causes in the world that they don't want to compete with. Mind you, my amazing supporters, don't give up donating just yet!
The humans started rattling on about the plight of overworked animals being the result of greed and poverty in the world, Susan even mentioned the word 'Capitalism'. "Now don't go there" said Charles "you promised to keep politics out of this". So she calmed down, Charles told us that she was mellowing in old age! But not to be beaten she then explained that there was nothing unethical about trying to get a bit of advertising on my blog if it helps the food bill. "OK...." I said and reconciled myself to honing my writing skills and giving it a whirl.
Hello, its me Tommy the donkey writing a very exciting post!have the finest care. Charles complains that he never has a holiday anymore and can't even afford new underwear! We tell him to stop complaining, who would want to go and leave us? Susan says it is important that people should know that such a project requires planning, investment and a business plan - a good heart is not enough. We are all more than grateful for donations that have been made and would like to mention, in particular, Lynda Lyons who has run two marathons for us all. There are some very special people who have donated large sums that have allowed further building to take place. And then there is everyone who has set up a monthly payment, you all make life so much easier for us and it has meant that Susan has never had to turn a donkey or a mule away. The humans explained to us that it is written into their constitution that Susan and Charles will never take a penny or a dirham from charitable donations so everyone knows that any contribution goes directly to our care and not huge staffing costs. we always explain to visitors that we would not be so happy and sociable if it were not for the men who work with us but their wages are small compared to the UK! As a thank you to those of you that have helped us we have been putting the names of all donors from the UK and Europe into a large tin and on the last day of April we will have a draw - the prize will be a week with flights paid, by a generous benefactor, to stay at the humans' villa here at the refuge.
ANY DONATIONS DURING APRIL WILL ALSO BE ENTERED INTO THE DRAW SO WATCH THIS SPACE FOR THE AMAZING PRIZE!
Boris Here! Tommy is so busy at the moment that someone suggested I take over the blog for a while so he can get on with supervising the new building work. "Can I be your deputy" I asked. "Absolutely NOT" snapped back Tommy "I am the leader of the herd because I was here first and I am very famous, I was named after the British Ambassador's son remember! Susan insists we try very hard to have equality across the board so the oldest female must be my deputy, that's right isn't it Byed? Tommy said looking across to our ageing white donkey. She sighed patiently and muttered "boys will be boys."
So here I am no more than a journalist's stand in. But folk are quite right, I do have time on my hooves now that I can no longer escape into the garden and stuff myself silly on every scrap of herbage I can find. I did hear the vet telling Susan that I needed to lose weight but then what does he know?
Talking of weight, we were all shocked to see the arrival of an old grey donkey today that we have called Picasso. His poor old legs are so frail and damaged that he can hardly carry his own weight. The men put him into a hospital stable on some warm foam and are slowly cutting out brambles and burs that were matted into his coat. He needs some time to recover and our friend Paula is advising Susan on his feeding. Picasso is being given some of the olive oil from Jarjeer to help clean his system. Charles masterminded the planting of 750 olive saplings and this year we have had a wonderful crop now milled into olive oil. Emily and Tanermirt the mule helped by carrying our special manure to each tree during the autumn months. No wonder it tastes so good!
We have had lots of visitors this week including our friend Anna and Mike from the UK. Mike bought some Moringa tree seeds over which are being soaked and planted in pots by Mohamed. Paula Da Silva is very keen that we grow Moringa trees as they are excellent for donkeys and have great medicinal properties. We are told that Moringa Oleifera is nature’s most nutritious vegetable tree. It is one of nature’s best kept secrets. The leaves of this tree contain almost all the nutrients required for perfect health. It is one of the few plants on earth that contain all the essential amino acids required for human protein synthesis so we could share it with our humans in the village. One of nature’s richest sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it is the perfect food for vegetarians. Susan has tried everywhere locally to buy the trees but people say they have them and when she arrives at the garden centre, they just don't exist and they try to sell her roses! So not to be beaten we are going to try and grow them from seed - watch this space. It would be really good to hear from anyone who knows anything about these trees!
Have to rush off now, lots to do and we all have to clean the paddock up as we have some important visitors from the 'National Geographic Society' on Wednesday next. I dare say the humans will tell us what that is all about in due course? In the meantime I spotted our friend Ed on the human's terrace pouring out this bubbly stuff. "Ah" said Emily "that means they are celebrating something, may be a birthday but all I know is that they drink it and then behave very strangely. I suppose they are entitled to a little strange behaviour of their own so long as they keep feeding us and don't forget to scrub out the stables!" Ed and Susan shouted that we should stop gossiping and enjoy our carrots, the bubbly was a gift and not to worry it didn't come out of the carrot fund!
15 February 2016Pablo died this morning at 8.00am. The herd became very quiet and Emily said "Oh no! not again". Susan asked me to explain to all the young ones in the herd that we are not just a refuge but also a hospice and it is our duty to give all the old ones the chance to die with dignity. Pablo was seen abandoned and in a bad way and taken to SPANA. we offered to have him as SPANA has no facilities to keep old animals. Here is is when he arrived and you can see how malnourished he was. "But we all loved Pablo" said young Sultana, a baby donkey born here at Jarjeer. Everyone loved Pablo. He never complained, was always calm and gentle. He came to us after a lifetime of pulling a cart in the Medina. We could tell he pulled a cart because when Susan would take him to the top field for some herbs he used to trot in a very different way and Charles pointed out one day that was the way the donkeys trot along in traffic in the City when they are pulling a heavy load! He was always frail but enjoyed his life at Jarjeer, his health improved and he loved being with the rest of us donkeys. Pablo never had to pull a cart here! He loved to lie in the sun and he always greeted visitors like long lost friends. He was always willing to dress as a reindeer at Christmas time, he spent three Christmases with us. When he lay down in the hospital stable and we knew his time was near, all the men who look after us took it in turns to sit with him. They made sure he was comfortable and warm and they moved him regularly so as not to get sores. Susan wiped his mouth with a little water but he didn't want to drink. Emily and Byed, our experienced female donkeys, who had both worked in a Berber village commented that donkeys out in the City and the countryside don't get this treatment when it is time to die and then Susan told us all something very important. Humans live in tribes and they develop their own tribal behaviour. If those humans around them never show emotion to an animal, then the young people don't either. Here at Jarjeer, the staff are given permission to care, they copy Susan and Charles and their grandson Mark! We noticed when one of the men left last night he actually bent down and kissed Pablo! I have never seen that happen before! We then understood that people who can show such compassion will show the same compassion to all vulnerable living things and that is what is needed today. All our human friends need to show compassion to the old and needy and in this day and age to the people fleeing war zones and all those who suffer at the hands of bigots and terrorists. It has rained today, Hamdullah, we need the rain for our crops and our herbs. Pablo hated the rain so he knew the best time to leave us and the sun came out for his burial. Here he is being laid to rest on our land with the ever caring Poppet on hand. We will miss you Pablo but you taught us so much.
Susan is available to speak to any group or organisation about the plight of the mules/donkeys in Morocco. She can travel easily to the UK and is happy to visit the States during the coming year.
11 November 2015
The remembrance poppy has been used since 1921 to commemorate soldiers who have died in war. Inspired by the World War I poem "In Flanders Fields" by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, they were first used by the American Legion to commemorate American soldiers who died in that war (1914–1918). They were then adopted by military veterans' groups in parts of the former British Empire: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Today, they are mainly used in the UK , New Zealand, Australia and Canada to commemorate their servicemen and women who have been killed in all conflicts since 1914.
Today is Armistice Day. Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. While this official date to mark the end of the war reflects the ceasefire on the Western Front, hostilities continued in other regions, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire.
As we look at our old mules here at Jarjeer, broken by a lifetime of work, we remember all the horses, mules and donkeys who played a crucial role in the war effort and perished alongside fighting soldiers.
A timely reminder in this modern world of the innate link between humans and animals and whilst we mourn all who lost their lives and those who continue to fight for freedom in all parts of the world today, we donkeys and mules ask you to value our changing roles in the world today whether it be agricultural wok, equine therapy or pleasure for children. You honour the dead who gave their lives for us all if you respect all life even the humble donkey
Thank you from Tommy and the herd.
OMG I hawed at the top of my voice and the two big mules, Henna and Organa, ran over to see what the problem was. This poor creature has been abandoned in Casablanca. "Get on to it straight away" the donkeys all shouted and Susan told us she had been in touch with a lady in France organising a rescue and has offered her a home with us if transport can be arranged.
HOOVES CROSSED AND ALL WISH HARD ENOUGH FOR THIS TO HAPPEN
"Let us all pull together to build a better future for the animals in Morocco so that their owners and families may enjoy and truly value their working animals"
A final note from Tommy:
"I have written this blog with Susan's help and completely unsolicited by SPANA. We wanted to record our special thanks for all the help that the staff at the refuge have freely given to us over the last year. A big thank you from all my herd."
27 February 2015
Isn't this the most amazing and wonderful photo of a trekking mule at Imlil in the mountains being worked with her owner on a head collar. When mules first came to Morocco, not that long ago, local people believed them to be so strong that they could only be worked on a bit and you all know how those old iron berber bits destroy the sensitive mouth of a mule. I had a chat about this to the donkeys and then we went and discussed it with our mules. Organa, our newest arrival, said that she had heard Susan muttering to Charles that folk should put their money where their mouth is. "Oh dear" said Emily "have they fallen out again". "No chance" I said "Charles loves us all, he has just been looking at the accounts and queried the vets bills" "That old chestnut again" said wise old Byed. We agreed that it could be very hard for visitors from the west to understand that here, in Morocco, everything had a price!
Even poor old Organa has a price. I hear the humans talking about her old owner wanting some financial compensation for losing his mule. "NO WAY, NO WAY" shouted the herd. However, Susan does understand the owner's plight and knows that it is right to pay something to the family who are very poor."So, what does it mean to put your money where your mouth is?" asked Emily.
I asked the humans and they were very clear that it just isn't about asking for money it means that genuine people always take action to support their statements or opinions. Ah, I remember, when Betty was very ill and we were told to feed her lots of legumes, some real friends went to market and bought loads and loads to keep her going. "Thats right" said Mohammed "and remember James Wix from 'Riad Fanartchi' bought lights for her stable, Carol Prior from 'By Prior Arrangement' sent a donation to buy medication and Pat Banner bought bandages and food." These were the quiet genuine people, along with others, who didn't make a huge fuss but they were very much part of Betty's last days. Thank you to all of you. You all know who you are.
Which brings me on to the 3 stars of this week. Firstly, we know that we will have to buy old mules in the future and Rachel Blech who is the owner of 'Sheheraz Adventures" here in Morocco is charging a £5 surcharge for every mule trekking activity she books. That money will be kept aside to buy old worn out mules when the need arises. Thank you Rachel, you certainly put your money where your mouth is!
And that brings me to my own star of last week. My really good friend Pat Banner. Pat came to see us last weekend and she always comes armed with huge bags of vegetables from the market. "Good enough for humans" shouted Mohammed. Of course they are but what does he know, we are very special. Pat also bought good news from a small estate agent in London 'Stanley Chelsea' who sent a special donation AND they are not even in the business of selling stables. How good is that?
And finally, my wonderful Ellen. What can I say? Ellen Cochrane come to Morocco with Glen Cosquer and together they have been training muleteers to work their mules without bits. It is Glen and Ellen who discovered Organa's plight so thank you to both of you. Ellen has done an amazing job when many said it would not be possible but us donkeys knew it would - just look at us here encouraging her along!