15.01.2008 0 °C
Summer is one of the thousands of Arabian working horses in Petra. She is also heavily pregnant with twins, a rarity for horses, for the last 6 months. Fortunately, she has a very loving owner in Wadi Musa, the village in close proximity to Petra. Unfortunately, she is also in danger of losing both of her babies because one of them is diagnosed 'dead' under ultrasound. Fortunately, if operation can be carried out to remove the dead fetus, both the live fetus and the mother will be saved. Unfortunately, the cost is sky high. An almost impossible price for her owner.
There are millions of horses, donkeys and mules that work for the extremely poor population in this world. On average, one animal supports about 20 people. In countries like Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India etc, the recent oil hike means families cannot afford to use vehicles to transport their goods. As a result, horses and donkeys carry an impossible amount of goods and building materials such as bricks and steel bars walking through wet and mountainous terrain for long hours with minimum rest and food. Combined with their bad diet and improper treatment by their owners, most working animals end up having bodily injuries and internal diseases, sometime collapse to death. Heartbreaking stories are all too common.
The Brooke Animal hospital set up by Princess Alia in Petra is one of the many Brooke clinics in the world originated by a British woman who saved thousands of carriage horses after WWI in Cairo. Nowaday, it focuses on educating owners on mutual respect for their animals and providing free medical treatment. For more information, please visit The Brooke website - http://www.thebrooke.org/.
I came back to Wadi Musa after hearing this bad new and give support to my Bedouin family who had generously allowed me to stay with them, provided me with fabulous food and warmth in the cold nights. Together with her owner, we brought Summer to the clinic for antibiotic to treat her congestion. Because of her poor appetite, we bought apples, fresh green vegetatable and even bread to provide extra diet on top of dry hay. We also cover her stable with extra layer of wood chip from local carpenter to make sure she can sleep warm every night.
It only took me two days and $26 to visit this historic Nabatean town. But time and money can never measure the friendship and hospitality that the local people provides. Over 30 tour buses transport more than 1200 tourists in one hour in this small town. Hundreds of these horses, donkeys and camels carry them through the Siq and up the monastry in the scorching summer heat and freezing winter days. If all tourists can spend a bit more time to understand the local culture and show their appreciation by making a minimum donation to these charities, these animals will have a much brighter future. How much do we really care for the poverty in this world?
If you would like to help Summer's operation, please leave me a comment. With hope, I sincerely wish Summer can deliver a health baby this summer.