World Vets Arusha Day 4: Kisongo. The day I almost got my wish to stay in Tanzania forever.

This post is part of a series documenting a trip undertaken by a team of volunteers with World Vets who traveled to Arusha, Tanzania in June 2012 to provide veterinary care for the under (or should be say un-) served donkey population. For the full series of posts covering World Vets, please click here.

The colors, the sights: Kisongo was a tapestry in motion.

Our last day of the World Vets trip started on a bit of a melancholy note. We had just hit our stride and now here we were, about to wrap up. But as you can see, Livingstone had saved the busiest day for last so once we got in the car, there was too much going on to be sad. And as you will hear tomorrow, we also had the job of deflecting the attentions of an overly amorous Maasai to serve as a distraction.

Kisongo, unlike Kikatiti the day before, was a sprawling market that swirled over and through the city center like a shroud. Without the benefit of a village council member like Albert, we had to start the day with Livingstone at the market’s central office to register and make sure we had proper permission to do our work.

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The calm before the storm: Dr. Weronko pauses to reflect before the team begins their last day in Tanzania.

While Livingstone was doing paperwork, Kyle brought out his ever popular sporting goods assortment and we all made some new friends. The little girl with the football is going to get her own post, she was THAT cute.

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Me and my shadows: Wherever we went in Arusha, curious and adorable children were sure to follow.

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While we were waiting, we saw a playful puppy walking by:

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It took just a moment for Teri to scoop him up and get him a flea treatment.

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But soon enough, we had our permission to begin. The team packed up our bags, loaded down our pockets, and started off to treat the punda. Today, we were accompanied by Carolyn, an agricultural officer from the market.

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Alana had brought a large number of donated halters from Australia. Up until this point, we had been rationing them out to donkeys that seemed to be the most in need. Today, since we were winding up, we gave them out more frequently. As Livingstone was to mention, this was a good way to get owners who might otherwise avoid us to agree to treatment: they saw a shiny halter, wanted one for their punda, and then found out about the other services we were offering that day. It was an excellent incentive.

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Dr. Beagley fits a donkey with a new halter at the market in Kisongo.

Many of the rope versions the owners were using were ill-fit, cutting the donkeys underneath their orbits.

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Before and after: a shiny new harness to replace the ill fitting rope.

Soon the team spotted a punda with a significant infection on his face.

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Rudy and Janet immediately started clipping away the crusty fur to see what the skin underneath looked like.

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It was a bit of a mess. Ouch.

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Then Toccoa began the task of cleaning up all the dirt and purulent debris.

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No sink, no problem.

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Splish splash: Toccoa gets the suds going on a scrub sponge

But oh, how he dipped his head and pushed into the sponge. If you’ve ever cleaned a dog’s ears when they’re itchy, you know that response, that “ooooh, rub right there please, oh yes ohyesohyes” sort of wiggle.

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After getting the area all clean, he was sprayed with Vetericyn and given some antibiotics.

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Toccoa protects the eyes while the infected skin is sprayed with Vetericyn.

It looked much better after.
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The clippers, of which we only had one set, were a bit of a mess after that. Here, Toccoa is demonstrating a) Proper clipper care; b) with Rachel’s help, how to channel Lakshmi; c) All of the above. (The answer is C.) Clippers are a hot commodity in these parts. Remember that. It comes up again later.

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And that was just the day getting started. It got busier:
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And busier:
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And just nuts. We ran out of supplies nuts. Took us all day just to complete one circuit of the market nuts.

 

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This was the first day I actually worried about someone getting separated from the group and disappearing into the teeming mass of color, sugar cane, and roasted peanuts for sale.

Can you spot the World Vets guy? Took a second this time, didn’t it.

But you’re not even that interested in that, are you? You all want to hear about the guy who tried, valiantly yet unsuccessfully, to purchase himself his very own World Vets veterinarian for a wife. Well, that’s tomorrow.

Filed: Adventures, Be The Change, Blog, Photography Tagged: , , ,
  • Ingrid

    There you go, bravo! Harnesses. And next time, just a couple of paddings per stop. As in chipping away at it slowly, like you said (and like I meant to say to begin with). Sorry, couldn’t resist, but I’ll shut up now, promise!

    • http://www.pawcurious.com Dr. V

      I’ll be posting about this later, but Dr. King went to the link you posted and sent instructions to both Livingstone in Arusha and the team in Nicaragua, and padding will now be a part of both projects! So thank you.

  • Lacy

    Dr. V, I am in awe of you. I am one of those people that is almost paralyzed with emotion when seeing an animal that could be treated better. It is my goal to have the courage and strength to do what I can, knowing it’s not ideal, but always a little better when I’m done. I’m thankful there are people like you that already have that courage and strength.

  • Tamara

    The look in the donkey’s eyes before, during and after his treatment illustrates the story beautifully. There is such gentleness and gratitude there. Thank you, World Vets, for what you do :) I have long been interested in these kinds of efforts, and your pictures, Dr. V, really bring the stories to life. Thank you.

  • guinness 416

    I have really been enjoying this series Dr V. What’s the weather like there? I see the fleeces etc in some of the photos, or is that really early morning.

    • http://www.pawcurious.com Dr. V

      Surprisingly temperate for a place so close to the Equator. Arusha’s proximity to Mt. Meru keeps it relatively cool and dry there.

  • sandy weinstein

    you are so lucky to get to do this. i wish i had followed thru w/ vet school 40 yrs ago, however, there were only a few vet schools in the country then and it is so hard to get in. now have the nc vet school in raleigh, nc. just beautiful, top of the line in equipment, better than most hospitals. my horse vets (when i was growing up) started it. i want a min. donkey. they are so cute….too bad the world vets cant do something abt the animals that are being neglicted and abused in the us. once again, the pork barrel people gave too much money so the puppy mill law failed to pass in nc, which is one of the worst states for puppy mills b/c our laws are so lax. people move here to open puppy mills. money talks to our reps. thank you for being there to help these animals and the people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363015727 Michelle Cotton

    Oh those pictures are wonderful! The look on that donkeys face is beautiful. But, I gotta say, I can’t wait to read about that little girl. She looks adorable. That smile on her face where she is hiding at the car is priceless.

  • http://www.thecreativecat.net/ Bernadette

    Really, even with all the children and the bright colors and people, I remember the relaxed-looking donkey best.

    But I really can’t wait to hear about who was bid on as a wife, and how it transpired.

  • Laura in KY

    ‘Halter’ rather than ‘harness,’ but still, don’t that donkey look lovely in blue! :) That poor fellow with the face infection does look awfully happy to get it cleaned up. Bless all of you for the work you did.

    • Laura in KY

      Oops. Changed my sentence but didn’t change ‘don’t’ to ‘doesn’t’. No soup for me.

    • http://www.pawcurious.com Dr. V

      Brain hiccup. Thanks.