Amid the mobs and the bullets -
Do you think for a minute that the animals understand
They are busy supplementing their food with garbage!
Now, the latest report of our progress to change things.
I returned from another short trip to Cairo a week ago which was arranged to advance with plans for the Foundation. It was while I was in discussion with Dr Sherbini, Director of ESAF, The Egyptian Society of Animal Friends at their clinic headquarters - the news was delivered of the latest troubles. We had been aware for some time that the army were about to make their move against the illegal protest in the city but I hoped I would miss the start of it.
Mobile phones appeared in people’s hands as the latest news was sought in an air of tension and expectancy.
Hurried discussions took place while Dr Sherbini offered advice to some of his staff who were stuck to travel home safely via the trouble zones. Should they stay at the clinic overnight or risk another route? More calls were made and they decided to make a dash to get through.
We were assured of relative safety because we would be using the agricultural road for the fairly short distance back to Giza. There, we knew we were among friends and that the thousands of Giza villagers were well capable of defending their own. Indeed, later on the second day when a few killers managed to penetrate the area to shoot dead three policemen before setting the police station on fire, the overwhelmed army appealed to the people for assistance. Immediately hundreds of villagers filled the streets to form road-block checks along the main Pyramid road from the city.
However back at the ESAF clinic it was fortunate that we had spent plenty of time already in discussion and we were able to get back to our home territory immediately. People were milling about everywhere sharing information and the tension was obvious.
Visiting ESAF had been a prime reason for me being there as we needed to continue making progress with our plans to help the plight of the animals. In my first couple of days I walked the plateau and the village to make my own assessment.
One thing obvious was the lack of tourists. I learned the people were utterly desperate for a return to normality of some kind. The desperation showed in the way I was almost mobbed by camel and horse owners pleading for my trade. All let me proceed with friendly blessing when I explained that I was there for The Giza Foundation and we were trying our hardest to bring help for their animals. A discussion developed with many and it was truly humbling to deal with more than one man weeping with the shame that he was unable to do better for his family and animals. I heard it over and over again that they would leap to support any kind of initiative that would help. They didn’t give a hoot for the politics, except for the anger that rose as they spoke of the fanatics that directly threatened their area – and had caused their poverty in the first place!
I was filled with profound sadness at the deteriorated state of most of the camels, horses, donkeys and even the dogs and cats I saw. Everywhere I looked I saw emaciated creatures in exhausted condition with bony bodies and hardly anything to hang a saddle on. No tourists, but their owners trailed around with their mounts as if in some way they hoped their main source of ($ 2 .00 daily average family income) would miraculously appear from around the corner!
God knows, it is at times like this when Judith and I wished most that we would be a next lottery winner or would attract wealth patronage for the Foundation. But the Foundation was always most likely to be a slow-burner. We had the knowledge of the situation. We had the local contacts that we would work with to make a permanent difference. We had the organisation. But, we only had the grateful trickle of small donators and every last dime and penny we could filch from our own lives.
I made it clear at the meeting that we had decided to officially adopt ESAF for on-going support with their renewed free and general animal clinics in the Giza poor village district. ESAF will share photographs and information with us from these clinics so that supporters can see the direct results.The Giza Foundation logo will be featured with other support friends in due course by ESAF.
Despite our small income, last year we had made a meaningful donation to assist Marianne at her Giza rescue farm to help with her ESAF supported farm-village clinic, and another larger donation was made directly to ESAF for village clinic support. This time we made a further donation as per the ticket below and in future we will try and keep to a support budget when this has been determined.
At the clinic we probed more to discover exactly what bigger facility was lacking for animal care. As readers of our site will already know, we have been aiming to raise funds to build a new animal hospital/clinic on donated farmland nearby. A crucial new consideration emerged which has made us change focus a little. We found that the one facility that ESAF and other small animal organisations are screaming out for is a properly equipped equine operating theatre/clinic .
Here is one good example of a UK established state-of-the-art equine operating facility: http://www.westerncountiesequineclinic.co.uk/facilities/operating-theatre.php
We were told that facilities exclusively available from, for example the Brooke organisation, only operated during office hours and declined operations projected to last more than 20 minutes!?
It was a simple decision therefore to re-focus our long term goal, from building a general new animal hospital/clinic - to providing a new purpose built equine operating theatre clinic. As donations begin to flow more easily we will set aside a percentage of income towards a target figure for this to be achieved. We have already discussed how the theatre must be equipped. Now we shall be honing the costs involved talking account of all the material contribution pledges received. Costs however are likely to match at least the target of £25K that we established for a larger general hospital/clinic.
Finally back at home during meetings with other friends we made significant progress in other directions.
We fixed a central location at last which will become the registered HQ office for the Foundation.
The Cairo incorporation of The Giza Foundation can now be signed off on our next visit.
The building conversions taking place over the next year, supported substantially with donated property and skilled manpower will ensure that ESAF will have a permanent base to share with us from which local animal services can be organised, delivered and controlled.
The plan will ensure also the provision of accommodation premises to receive groups from the UK and elsewhere who will be able to work with us and ESAF at the clinics with the animals, (and see some of the very special sights of Cairo etc that others may never be able to visit.)
These may all seem grand designs but they have been very carefully thought through with local experts and they are completely achievable due to low local costs and a fierce desire by everyone to see our plans become a working reality as soon as possible.
At the moment the people are starving and the animals are dying!
On the way back from the ESAF clinic while everyone was buzzing with the news of the troubles I caught another sight. Only five minutes from our destination at the pyramids at the side of the road, yet another fresh horse carcase lay on the ground.
I could not help thinking as we passed it by; is it an animal we may have saved?
I didn’t notice anyone else nearby looking at it. Perhaps you will see it from this description and then decide how little impact it would make in your financial life – to make a really huge impact with our mission if you made a donation to help us. We hope so on behalf of the animals deserving better wherever they are.
Next day I had plenty of time to ponder these things as we passed a huge club-wielding crowd on the ring road on the way back to the airport. They were actually the good guys! But as I faced the fourteen hour wait at the airport due to the curfew restrictions I returned to the same thoughts again and again.....
All here were preoccupied in a terrible situation thrust upon them by decades of bad politics and oppression. Most were struggling to survive. Most wanted only days of peace to continue working harmoniously alongside others of all denomination. Most were now caught up in the re-birthing agonies of a great nation. One which has always depended so much on a working relationship with animals. They have been preoccupied with the oppression and the bullets while their failing animals eat plastic and garbage for supplement.
The irony is that if we from a better place - cannot extend our hands and our hearts to keep the animals in focus, there will be no animal stock left for the population to work with when the troubles subside!
Please help however you can
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