By Hannah Russell – Visiting East Africa with the Brooke charity
As youth ambassador for Brooke Action for Working Horses and Donkeys, last week I headed on a journey to East Africa. Now back in my office at home with a cuppa watching Alfie in the field, the whole experience seems a bit surreal. It’s funny to think this time last week I was visiting Embu to see the donkey shelters. Being in East Africa it certainly made me appreciate my life back at home with my animals, even more so than I did already.
On the flight over I was really excited about the journey and adventure ahead. I’ve worked with the charity for quite some time now and heard about the amazing work they do, so I couldn’t wait to see the team in action.
The time I spent travelling to each different community and parts of Africa seemed to fly by and I was very overwhelmed by how much impact the Brooke make on communities, schools and families.
On my first day, I headed to meet the pupils who are part of the donkey care clubs. Through poetry, dance and drawing the Brooke charity are teaching children how to look after their animals. I really enjoyed hearing the songs about the donkeys, it’s such a great way to educate the children. The children would then go home to tell the parent’s about the right way to care for their donkeys, which is a great working programme.
On the second day, I headed to Embu in Kenya to visit the community who were constructing donkey shelters to help protect their animals. Unfortunately Kenya is the epicentre of the donkey crisis in Africa and thousands of donkeys are killed each day for their skins. Seeing the shelters in place, it gives you hope for the donkeys and families. It was great to talk to the people who are benefitting from the shelters and finding out how much it meant to them.
Following on from Embu, I visited the women’s group near Mwingi town to see how the role of their working donkeys is supporting their lives. It was incredibly inspiring to hear their stories told from a woman’s perspective. This is something I could completely relate to in regards to women empowerment side of things and I’ll certainly be going forward to spread their word.
There is something about Africa which makes you miss being out in the heat and the peaceful sounds of the animals in the distance. The livelihood of the families was difficult but yet simple, things we worry about here in England isn’t even a thought out in Africa.
Going forward I’ll be working on a few books to be released in 2020 and lots more projects with the charity…!
It’s so nice to be back with Alfie, although he was a little sulky with me for being away when I arrived home.
Visit Hannah’s website here to find out more about her adventures – https://www.hannahrussellauthor.co.uk