Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kaimanawa to Cairo

I'm feeling a but frustrated, with the weekends of competitions and week of manically trying to keep up with all the work on the farm and with the horses.Don't get me wrong, i love competing, horse shows are a huge part of my life and keep me on my toes and striving to succeed. But you can, at times, get jaded with the whole scene, the money, the time involved, the travel,and the fact that your whole life revolves around a how well a horse can go in different circles and jump without knocking a rail down. Sometimes you do find yourself thinking, "is this all my life is about". Recently i have felt i need for something else in my life, a holiday, a new project, something to re-inspire me. The last time i felt this way i adopted wild horses and started this blog. So what next???

Most people when they need a break, or R&R, pick a nice holiday destination where they can lie on the beach, relax and unwind and think about things.Not me. I'm going to a war zone, to work my ass off, to live in less than great conditions, in the heat, in a country that is predominantly Muslim. and where animals welfare is not high on the list of most people's priorities. Egypt. With Libya on it left, sitting below Israel, Jordon and Palestine, above Sudan and a hop,skip and a jump from Iraq and Afghanistan.That's right, to a country in the middle of a political upheaval, that according to my government is a 'high risk' travel destination, in the middle of a part of the world that is presently rife, with war, terrorism, protesters, suicide bombers, dictatorships and countries that don't allow women any freedom. Sounds great right? Dangerous, hot, hard work and where women are not well respected. What better place to go, for a young girl from New Zealand.

So why go? Why the risk, to a place i wont even be able to kick back and relax? This wont be a holiday, but it will be an experience, because im going to set up street clinics, for starving neglected, abused and wounded horses, camels and donkeys. I'm going to Egypt, because i feel i would actually be able to put some of my skills to something more useful than, preparing a horse for shows. The is a chance to maybe work at Giza Zoo, get some hands on experience with camels, save some horses and donkeys, and be doing all this within a stones throw from the great pyramids. Was to good an opportunity to pass by.

Sometimes in the western world we forget how lucky we are, were educated have great resources at our disposle, unlimited access to knowledge via the Internet. We don't go hungry, mostly our governments run smoothly, and in New Zealand at least we have a green, pristine and beautiful environment. What happens if you live in a desert, and the tourist money you rely on runs dry? Its not even like you can turn your animals loose to find grass, your surrounded by rock and sand. No money, first your animals go hungry and then you and your family. What happens if your brought up without knowledge of modern animals care, what if you practice old beliefs, like piercing an animals flesh and tying bits of string, wire and cloth through their flesh, to promote better health, but instead leave the animals with open rotting sores. Can we sitting at home really judge people?

Im sure not all of it is ignorance but i will hold my judgment until i see condition for myself. The pictures are however horrific. Horses like walking skeletons. Animals with open putrid wounds almost to the bone, from being ridden with ill fitting saddles by tourists to see the pyramids, or sores from chains rubbing across their faces and legs. The photos paint a very grim picture. This wont be for the faint hearted. It will be heart wrenching and hard, but i think worth it.

So when i saw a team of Kiwi's were going, including a horse dentist and vets, i thought that this would be my chance to make a bit of a difference, help out, not just talk about how horrible it is, but go and do something about it.

I'm no delicate flower, not afraid to get my hands dirty,i can deal with injuries, i worked with starved abused and injured horses in the past. I can bandage, dress wounds, trim hooves and deal with unruly animals. I can provide a lot of the grunt work need on this kind of trip.people have told me they couldn't cope seeing this kind of thing, it would be to upsetting.but i just want to get stuck in and help out, i figure anything i can do will help improve theses horses lives, and it worth dealing with everything else.

So i got in contact and signed up for the trip, it was a spur of the moment decision and i don't regret it, March next year i will be ,bandaging, feeding holding and looking after horses in Egypt. The worst part i think will be starting the huge amount of vaccinations i need for the trip, including rabies, which i start next week. I'm excited, i feel inspired again and bursting with passion and enthusiasm. I feel much better to have something to be working towards again. I know its a risk, but one I'm willing to take, and well, if i get kidnapped over there and sold for camels to be part of some sheik's harem, we will all know it was a mistake, but you don't know until you try.