Up until a few years ago our sanctuary had no name, hell we didn’t even realise that we were a sanctuary.
Our local SPCA asked me to help out with animals that have been injured next to the road as it takes them hours to come out and put the animal out of its misery. This is no easy task for me, I can picture every animal that I have had to shoot.
It is especially traumatising when you can see in their eyes that you are there to help, when there is no help except mercy to give.
It was to one of these calls that I met Blue.
This time our friend Jethro called us. He said: "Brons this donkey needs you!" I knew this meant that this donkey was in a bad way. I loaded my Shotgun and rode to the place Jethro directed me to..
Blue was a donkey that had been attacked with a machete, I was horrified to see the wounds on him, he was covered in slash wounds almost from his snout to his tail.
Things like this happen quit often as the local villagers take out there frustrations with their neighbours out on defenceless animals.
I sighted down the barrel of my shotgun and could not get myself to pull the trigger, and Blue was unceremoniously dragged on to the back of my bakkie (Pick-up truck) and taken home .
It took Esme and the Letaba SPCA probably more than two hours to clean and dress all of his wounds.
At the end of if it all she asked me what the old man’s name should be, I looked at him and he was blue from his head to his tail with wound spray, - the name Blue was appropriate-.
Blue lived with us for a full two weeks, he ate and drank his fill every day and slept on a bed of hay. Unfortunately Blue's organs had started failing before we got to him the time he was given was just a bonus.
Our vet came to the farm, put him down and sat crying with me.
Our sanctuary is in honour of this very brave little donkey.
You are missed daily beloved Blue…
I was driving home one day on a blistering hot day in the middle of summer when I noticed a young man turning into our farm on the back of a donkey cart. Said gentleman was having a great time, beating the exhausted donkeys to get them to run.
I drove past him and waited at the mill- we run a small maize meal mill from our farm that services the local farmers. When the cart came to a standstill I asked the youngster to see his whip, he gave it to me and beamed with pride as he explained to me that he had created the torture devise himself. It is with shame that I admit that I struck him with his own whip, but I do not regret cutting up his whip and tossing the pieces to him as he cowered under the cart to get away from my rage.
When he finally calmed down I got him to remove the makeshift tack from the donkeys and promptly let him walk the 15 odd kilometres home without his donkeys. The police came around the next day, strangely they agreed with me that the donkeys should stay on the farm until they were completely healed. The tack that is used by the locals is often pieces of wire and scrap metal that deeply cuts into the animals mouths and chests, it must be excruciating…
It was with sadness that I watched the donkeys leave 6 weeks later. About a month after this incident a small miracle happened. On the dirt road leading to our farm, on my way to fetch our work staff, I found that Nelly, a female donkey that was part of the group that I looked after, came back home. In the month that she had been with her owner he had managed to blind her in her one eye and beat her so severely that he crippled her one ear. Nelly was not alone though, she brought her daughter with her and she was also pregnant. When her owners came to look for her, I bought her, vowing that she would never feel the brunt of human cruelty again, that was the beginning of our sanctuary and we have never looked back.
My first adult crush was a girl that I met at university, (Tracy) I was a late bloomer and as such didn’t have the faintest idea what to do with the opposite sex. I never did tell her how I felt and later in our friendship she confided in me that she was gay. Talking about barking up the wrong tree!!
I did take away two things from our friendship though.
The first is a drink made from equal parts neat vodka and lime cordial with loads of ice. On a hot day it is divine.
The second is a love for Sweetcorn and Chicken soup, obviously this is something that I replicated and 'veganized' and it is a dish that my wife and I love.
Vegan Sweetcorn and 'Chicken' Soup
You will need:
The sesame oil and soy is then added to taste and you garnish with the spring onions. Add some ginger and chilli Peppers if you are feeling adventurous. We add lots and it's Great!
It pair’s well with a sherry.
Tracy and I are still friends and we just attended her and Wendy's wedding last month..
Authors: Bronson James Turner and Esme van Eck-Turner
We are Happy, we are Jolly, we are Creative, we are Vegan, we Live, we Laugh, we Cry, we Try... We make a difference... a small one... but we Try...