A Summer of Travel & Service in Namibia
AKI has been supporting HAH since Outjo resident, Lindie Prinsloo, started this Namibia-wide spay/neuter initiative, which brings s/n and other vet services to rural parts of Namibia, where vet care had never before been available. Through HAH volunteer, Geesche Neuberg, AKI first provided funds for HAH-Luderitz, Aus, and Bethanie. Since the HAH mobile clinic began operating in December 2016, through Geesche, AKI began supporting the mobile clinic; specifically AKI is funding s/n of cats and vet treatment of animals (usually cats, dogs, donkeys, and horses) brought to the mobile clinic. These are areas that HAH-Mobile funds don't usually cover. AKI supporters and frequent travelers to Namibia (from the US), Anita Lapin and Dennis Feldman, volunteered with HAH's mobile clinic this summer. Here's their story.
I was very fortunate to spend most of my summer in Namibia, a place of great beauty and amazing people, with my mate Dennis.
As an AKI supporter, I learned about Have A Heart a few years ago. Since then, I wanted to join my friends who love and work tirelessly with Have A Heart to eliminate animal suffering.
The HAH custom built van is a rolling facility that offers spaying and neutering free to people who could never afford to pay for it. Thanks to HAH and the dreams of Dr. Baines and Dr. Maya, the s/n of thousands of dogs and cats is now available.
It is an operational miracle to reach the poor in small towns and villages whose animals would never receive care. They travel to the people and do the sterilizations and examine and treat the dogs and cats for illnesses and parasites and vaccinate, all for free, in communities where the people are too poor, but love their animals. It is beginning to make a difference in the amount of starving, homeless strays.
Though we had no training, Dennis and I were able to help in the recovery process. Having been shown what was expected of us by someone who had been a volunteer many times, I quickly learned what needed to be done. As a novice I was overwhelmed and unsure how much help I could provide. To my amazement, I felt I was doing a good job taking care of the dogs and cats properly. We both became a little more confident. During the 3 days that we helped, Dr. Baines and Dr. Maya did 75 sterilizations and provided other needed vet services. They go to sleep so tired and get up early to do the same thing the next day. They are special people with so much compassion for animals.
Our job began with spreading blankets on the ground so the still sleeping dogs and cats coming out of surgery could be placed there until they awakened. I was careful to keep the sun out of their eyes. The first job was to wet a small piece of gauze (as supplies are very limited in Africa) and wipe clean the surgical area. Once clean, the next step was to spread lotion around the surgical area so the animals would not suffer from razor burn caused by shaving of hair as part of the prep for surgery.
Now my responsibility was to closely watch “my new adorable friends” and I could not help becoming attached to every one of the dogs and cats. Perhaps it was the Mother instinct in me. As each of my little friends awakened, I was overwhelmed by the joy expressed by the owners who could now carry their pets back home. The owners are given food and instructions on caring for the animals over the next few days. Some of the animals are wobbly on their feet from just waking up so we are there to assist.
I knew I would miss the animals and hoped they were going back to a loving home.
These were special days for Dennis and me in Namibia and we are planning to return next year and help again.
The HAH mobile clinic relies on donations to continue to spay, neuter, and bring vet services to far flung communities in Namibia. Please consider a donation through AKI for this wonderful, amazing work. And you might also want to consider volunteering with HAH-I guarantee you'll have an experience you'll never forget.