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Reisverslag Times of miracles and wonder?
17 november 2016
Times of miracles and wonder?
I remember my first week at el paraiso well: learning the names of all the volunteers was one thing...learning the names of the donkeys seemed impossible. Or maybe not learning their names was hard, but to tell them apart, esspecially when they were out and about in the field, seemed an impossible task. They all looked so alike....greyisch or brownish with four legs and long ears. Now it sounds strange to me that I ever thought they looked the same, for they do not look like the same at all, ...except for, thanks heaven, those four legs and long ears. More than 50 shades of grey, endless tones of brown, furry, bold spots, curly, smooth, freckles, skinny, fat and fattest, sad theatrical eyes like Sophia Loren, stern looking eyes, rigid ears or flexible ears that move like an owls head....the differences are countless and makes each one of them unique. And then I haven' yet writen about their character or the sound they make.
I was walking Jack that day and he was listning so well...of the lead, walking behind me and when I stopped, he would stop and when I told him go run and whistled for him not much later, he would go run and return straight away on my call. What a wonderfull difference with the black , unruly dog from months ago. Would the volunteers that were here this first week believe their own eyes? And while thinking that I should write Marian for example how well this dog was walking, I should write Avital as well...about dear stubborn Alfredo, who never wanted to leave the yard in the morning. Avital tried everything...from singing lovely Disney songs, walking him in circles through the yard or to pushing his bum gently, nothing would work. Nowadays he's one of the more easier donkeys to start walking...no singing needed. He will finish his bowl of extra food ( mostly without the ears flat in the back and mostly without kicking) and then when you're bringing either Flora or Charlotte to the field he will walk with you just like that. I could write that to her. A miracle? And maybe I should write Claude about Stevie. About the fact that she's far to big now to swoop from the floor and carry her in your arms (as we did once to weigh her...20 kilos of screaming pig..not so easy ). Or write him that we don't have to put her, ( while screaming her head of) on a ' harnass' anymore in order to bring her to her outside house in the morning. If we unlock the gate of her stable now, she will push her nose against the gate, opens it and make her way up the hill while we follow her. Somedays, I have to be honest, she will take a D-tour to the apple trees or to the far end of the field, but with a bit of guidance and some bribing ( chopped up carrots will do the trick) she will go in. And in the evening we just open the gate from the outside area and there she goes...straight home where her food is waiting for her. She's such a lovely and smart creature and besides that made some non-vegetarian, meatloving volunteers here become vegetarian, which I think is great.
In the same stable as Stevie there is small horse Finn, a black Asturian beauty. Those who met Finn last year might remember him as a scared and scary horse...he would turn his bum to you if you entered the stable, eyeballing you and more than once he cornered me. With the love, patience and care of so many volunteers he's now a cuddly boy. Allthough he might still sometimes show you his fierce self ( which I really love about him), he mostly is the new softy...waiting at the stable door to be scratched on the neck and pushing his nose against your arm if you stop. He walks quite well on a halter now and it's even possible to do his hoofs ( here too I have to be honest....he's still not easy) But such a change and I am so happy to have been there long enough to witness his change and of so many others....both of animals and volunteers. The animals get love, care and attention, here they learn to trust humans again and some volunteers, that hadn't been in touch with animals for a long time and kind of lost "touch" with nature as they called it themselves have clearly found that touch again or discovered a whole new positieve side of themself, by working with the donkeys here at the donkey paradise or with the people.
And while I was walking Jack in July, up and down the hills behind the house for the last time ( He too was moving on...being adopted by a young German volunteer, I thought about these things, about the animals, the many inspiritional volunteers and the changes that I witnessed in the animals, the other volunteers, me and the nature around me. Magical, wonderfull and at the same time plain simple and so natural. I loved every minute of my time there and will be back one day...for a few days...or maybe longer.
Update: it's November by now and while Iam writing this blog I am waiting for my new host to pick me up from the train station in Monforte de Lemos in Galicia. I have been back at el paraiso for three weeks in September/October to help out a bit when Marleen went to the Netherlands for a week and have spent the last 4 weeks in a rural hotel in Barzana de Quiros, a beautifull region south of Oviedo. I helped in the garden, took lavender flowers from their stem to dry and was able to help out in the kitchen with cutting veggies for soup and doing dishes when there were some clients. The amount of work was nothing in comparison with the work at el paraiso, but after the first restless ( I should be doing something, shouldn't I) week, I calmed down a bit, took my time to read and walk.
Owe, have to sign off...my new host just arrived.
Update two...again few days later. New host seem very friendly and first impression of the place is good. More next time. Take care.
18 november 2016 11:35 | Door: Henny
Hi dearest Rebecca, so nice to finally get an update from you. I always love the way you're writing things down. One can close their eyes and travel with you.
In this update it's so clear and so incredible nice and sweet to taste your love and care for the animals. You talk about them as your special friends and I'm almost sure...they, animals, Marleen and volunteers, will see you back there one day soon!
Enjoy your new host, new environment and new experiences in Galicia. With lots of love, Henny (next time update sooner, please)
19 november 2016 06:54 | Door: Naomi
Hi there Sweet Rebs, Thanks ever so much for your lovely update. Thank you for taking me along on your journey, even if it was just for the briefest of moments. You describe life so vividly & your words are filled with love and devotion for those you care about. Whether it's donkeys, dogs or people, you always give so much warmth & kindness to all and I truly admire that in you.
I hope you will have a lovely, exiting time at your new host family & please, do remember; you are loved and missed by me....Kiss, Naomi
2 december 2016 16:25 | Door: Joke
hallo Rebecca, even een snelle groet vanuit mijn werk. heb jouw verslag geprint en ga het thuis lezen. later wellicht een reactie daar over. Hoorde van je ma dat je in een hotel hebt gewerkt en bij Marleen appels geplukt + assistentie verleend tijdens haar ziekte. Ze is ongetwijfeld erg blij met jouw hulp. Ik had je een sms gestuurd n.a.v. jouw berichtje, maar dat is misschien niet doorgekomen vanwege de wisseling van jouw nieuwe mobieltje. Er stonden geen belangrijke vragen of opmerkingen in dat bericht dus; soi. Rebecca is wens je een aangename tijd op het adres waar je nu tot half december bent. Ik schrijf je binnenkort nog een keer. Groetjes uit Breda en alle goeds gewenst Joke.