Another successful trip to Nicaragua was accomplished by Dr. Dana and a new World Vets team in February of 2018! The team was able to provide Veterinary services to 410 horses (and a few doggies) in four new locations this year. The following is an excerpt from Dr. Dana’s diary of adventures! And as always, Dr. Dana and the entire PETS staff would like to thank you for your continued support and generous donations!
Meeting the team is one of my favorite things about these trips. Like Forrest Gump says “you never know what you are going to get” and this year was no exception. We had a few returning folks. Seems like when you get the volunteer bug it’s as hard to shake as a bad flu. And then the folks that have never been to a developing country. It is fun to watch them go from horrified to committed to the cause in a matter of days. The first day is usually pretty shocking. The horses are in sad condition and the tack that they arrive in is pathetic. Sores from the ropes and carrying a heavy burden on a skinny body are hard to see for the first time.
It is amazing how hard these animals work! I am all for spay and neuter campaigns for dogs and cats, but their only job is to survive, whereas these equids provide their owners a living. Sometimes the difference between surviving and not is an horse and cart that can bring your family water.
My other favorite part is teaching the local veterinarians and veterinary students. They are so very eager to learn, even if there is a language barrier at times. This was the second trip that I had the pleasure of working with Sergio. He calls me “sensei” and we communicated after the trip on Facebook messenger. He is a veterinarian in and around Masaya Nicaragua. He works seven days a week and took the entire week off with no pay to learn from our team. Veterinarians in Nicaragua are primarily small animal as the folks that employ working horses are pretty economically challenged (poor). So they need every Córdoba to feed their families. They need and care for their animals the best that they can, and are so grateful for help when we come. And they listen to the advice that we give. It is hard to imagine coming from where we have EVERYTHING to where the smallest thing has such significance.
One of the work days we were working next to a small rural school. Dr. Liz had the brilliant idea to ask the teacher if we could invite the children over to see what we were doing. The teacher agree and the children were enthralled. Especially the girls when they heard that there were women veterinarians working on horses! What a great lesson for them to see huge possibilities for their future that they never knew existed! Dr. Lester Tapia is a native to Nicaragua and works for Worldvets. Here he is teaching the school children about Veterinary care for the working horses.
Every trip and every team is unique. This trip was hard in many ways but as always so very rewarding. I have made new friendships that will last forever and we helped so many horses that would otherwise never get the care that they needed. I am exhausted but happy to give back to the hardest working horses I have ever had the privilege to work for.”
Dot dot dot dash. Team victory!!!!
Dr. Dana Westerman