Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I'm in Fiji, typing this looking out from my perch on the end of the bed, there a beach out front, and to one side horses tethered underneath palm and mango trees. Its not even Eight in the morning and its warm enough to be swiming. Just in case I thought I was on holiday though,I'm actually wearing big steel cap boots, pants and my pockets are stuffed with glamourous things like, wound spray, cotton wool, and bit of broken horse tooth. Which is not as odd as it sounds when you know what I've been up to.

The wound spray and cotton wool is easy, in the last four days I think the six of us working have treated close to a hundred horses. While three see to the horses hooves, i wash and treat wounds. While I was in Egypt we saw huge variety of injures, here we see the same things on every horse, saddle sores and rope burn, as well as the usual dehydration and lack of food. My job is to wash and spray wounds hence cotton for scrubbing away blood pus and scabby skin, and the spray for treating afterwords.

We also have a horse dentist and I love working with him as you always learn something. Horses here live on a very exotic diet, a lot eating sugarcane, mango and other topical fruit, and have cavities, just like the people. This is something we didn't see at all in Egypt (although the horses weren't fed at all in Egypt anyway). I find it fascinating to see how geographical differences, create a whole different set of problems. But the reason I have teeth in my pocket however is because he pulls them out and hands the offending tooth to me, and with no where better to put them I stick them in my pocket and forget about them, until later when I sit down and they stick me in the butt.

On a serious note though, I love the work, but we really do see some awful things. Sadly it not such a simple case of people not caring, but a mixture of ignorance, poverty, lack of equipment and the fact that people rely on these horses for survival. This is a hard thing for us in the western world to comprehend and an even harder problem to fix, but small steps can eventually lead to big changes.

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