We met Alistair, Suzanne and the donkeys! Very nice project Here are some pictures:
Our trip will be also an opportunity to raise funds, thanks to the visibility of the event.
We want to help a little project in Crete, a sanctuary that cares and saves cretan donkeys, run by a couple, Alistair and Susanne. they want to use donkeys for trekking. With money that we try to collect we want to help them to become a “Syllogos”, that is a no profit organization.
Read the interview. And we want to meet them during the walk, we want to meet the donkeys and walk with them all.
Informations about this project: http://www.walkwithdonkeys.com
INTERVIEW WITH SUZANNE AND ALISTAIR
Q: Dear Suzanne and Alistar, first of all: how old are you? And where do you come from?
A: Suzanne is 53 and from England. Alistair is 63 and from Scotland
Q: When you decided to come to live in Crete? And why? And how it was your first perod of life in Crete, difficoult or easy?
A: We decided to move to Crete about 7 years ago as we wanted to get away from the hectic life we were leading – too many people and too much traffic. We also could not afford to buy a house in the UK. The first year living here was what we called our ‘honeymoon’ period when everyone was being very friendly and helpful. After that we got to know who we could trust and who we couldn’t. The bureaucracy here is very difficult but we could not think of ourselves living anywhere else
Q: How did you get in touch with cretan donkeys?
A:Suzanne was brought up with horses but somehow always wanted a donkey. We found our first donkey in the next door village. He belonged to an old man who could not look after him anymore. It was love at first sight. But George soon got lonely and decided to find a friend. This was a little grey donkey we called Meli – the owner said he would shoot her if we would not take her, so of course we did and then the rest of the donkeys kept on coming…we are up to 11 now with another one booked to arrive at the end of the summer.
Q: Are you vegetarian? If yes, is it possible to live like a vegetarian in Crete?
A: Neither of us eat meat and grow as many of our own vegetables as possible – helped by the organic fertiliser provided by the donkeys. We do however like to eat fish. It is very possible to live as a vegetarian here as there are lots of lovely vegetables and pulses available. Also a lot of traditional Cretan food is vegetable or pulse based. However the locals do think that we are crazy and cannot believe that we do not eat chunks of meat!
Q: Which are your future projects?
A: Being in a position to rescue and care for more donkeys. Working with more donkey owners here to try to encourage them to respect and treat their donkeys better. We would like to work with the children here to educate them about donkeys and how to care for them and also to work with children with problems. The donkeys have a very healing influence with children with autism for example.
Q: How can we help you? Do you think that collecting money to help you be a Syllogos is a good way?
A: Feeding and caring for the donkeys here in Crete is very expensive. Hay and straw average at about 11-12 euros a bale and then of course there are the medicines involved in caring for the elderly and arthritic donkeys and of course when a donkey leaves us there is the expense of disposal of the body. We would really like help with the day to day costs of keeping these animals. We have been promised the money for the silogos from a kind American lady. We do want to save up to buy a basic trailer that we could transport 1 or 2 donkeys if necessary and also enable us to buy hay in bulk rather than 2 or 3 bales at a time. And then of course there is always more land to be fenced and shelters to be built!!
Any help you could give us would be fantastic. The really rewarding part of this job for us is to see the change in the donkey when they come to us. They arrive quite frightened and in some cases they want to bite and kick, but in a very short period of time they feel safe and relax and enjoy being with the other donkeys and with humans. Do hope you may be able to visit us…please telephone before hand as we are not always at the farm – we have to go to work unfortunately!
All the best from Crete
Alistair and Suzanne and the long eared people
OTHER HELPING PROJECT
We want also to help young people that in Crete work as volunteers with few money to preserve environment, the beautiful unique nature of this island, and the endengered species.
Patagonia will help with jackets and fleece, Scarpa will give mountain shoes and Osprey backpacks, to some Cretan young people that we’ll select with the help of local friends. People that are doing well for the environment!
We’ll meet these people during our walk, in different days, and we’ll talk with them during a day’s walk, listenig to their projects and opinions. We’ll tell you all these (and more) stories, on our blog, with pictures, on magazines, media partners and so on .
Other helps with technical mountain equipment are wished!
We distributed everything, for example see the story of Eftichis to whom we gave a pair of new Scarpa boots: https://e4crete.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/eftichis/