The past two weeks have been filled with so many of my ‘new favourite things’! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said I had the ‘best time ever’!
I’ve finally learned to surf! After living in Sri Lanka for 4 months, surrounded by beautiful amazing beaches and good waves, I finally had some spare mornings to take part in surf camp! I came in every day from surfing and talked about how amazing it was! The coach was amazing, and the atmosphere and group I was in was great- a bunch of girls from totally different parts of the world, coming together and supporting each other, having fun learning to surf together! If only I had time to surf more often (I know Janey feels the same!).
Janey and I have been using the rest of those days to research producing WECare Calendars and Christmas e-cards, so stay tuned for those coming to the UK soon! We’ve also been having many late nights doing stock counts and cost pricing for every single last thing we use, and making slide show presentations. Not to mention staying up all through the night (long enough to see the sunrise the next day!) to make a WECare promotional video and documentary.
After feeling nice and achey from surfing, we had a CNVR clinic planned for the first week of November! We have another vet nurse volunteer with us for the month, Becca, so it was very good to have her help with this busy clinic and she was brilliant as she just got stuck in straight away. This clinic was different to our last, as we had a lovely air conditioned bus to operate on which was a novelty! Although, typically in good old Sri Lankan fashion, the electricity went off one afternoon, so that meant we were cramped on a very small bus, with no circulating air, getting hotter and hotter and sweating like there was no tomorrow! We ended up neutering around 150 animals in 4 days, as well as providing treatments for sick dogs. One dog had walked up to our clinic area to see us, and show us the big wound he had on the side of his head! It’s like he knew we were there to help, the way he just meandered up and made himself at home. We let him into our kennel area, called him Charlie, and set about picking maggots out of his head! The clinic was a big success, and we accumulated a couple more injured dogs to add to our rounds, and some more dogs for our next skin clinic rounds.
When going to visit Charlie for treatment a few days later, a sweet little girl scampered out into the road in front of our tuktuk, and we noticed she had a huge, oozing burn on her back and neck. We brought her home immediately to put her onto fluids and start intensive care and medication as she was extremely flat and lethargic. Saffy unfortunately died the following day which we were really upset about, but she was pain free, and well cared for with us, which gave us some comfort. I found this really hard, as it was something that had been caused by humans. Someone had purposely thrown boiling water over her, probably to shoo her from the area, and the poor girl had died because of it. I just can’t believe anyone would do this to any living thing, let alone a cute little puppy.
When we went back to visit Charlie to change his head dressing, he noticed us coming, I was on one side, Malaka to the other, and Janey on the beach side of him. He usually just lies there for us to change his dressing, but not today- he must’ve had a burst of energy! He looked around and the only way he could go.. was towards the ocean! You never see dogs here in the sea, they have a wave touch their feet and run the other way, but not Charlie! He just carried on walking out to sea, then when it got beyond his depth, he swam! And he swam, and swam, and swam! The lengths he went to for us not to change his dressing! Four men on a fishing boat had to pick him from the water and bring him back to us! The cheeky little thing- the whole village was watching from the beach and we all had a good, old laugh about it!
I also had the pleasure of seeing the most maggots I’ve ever seen in a dog which Becca named Zac. This street dog was not very friendly, so he had to be caught and sedated in order for us to help him. This is the most extensive wound I’ve ever seen in Sri Lanka, with hundreds of maggots reaching from the top of his head, all of the way down his neck. Malaka was also shocked at the amount of maggots, and told me after days like this, he has nightmares about maggots in his ears! Him and me both, after this! After going to change his dressing the following day, villagers informed us he had died over night, which was not much of a surprise but still very sad, because we wanted so badly to help him, but it was just far too progressed by the time we had got to him, poor soul.
To end on a happier note, I just had my first week off of the year! Holidays were to be had! We got a 7 hour overnight train from Colombo to Trincomalee in the North East of the country, which was an experience and a half! Trincomalee was beautiful, and we enjoyed a nice kayak on a lagoon with some cows joining us in the water for a swim! We snorkelled at Pigeon Island, where I saw a lot of really cool fish, a huge turtle, and reef sharks! The first time I caught sight of a shark, I panicked and swam the other way! I then found myself swimming after them to try and get good pictures! That was one of the coolest experiences ever! We visited Sigiriya Rock, which turned my legs to jelly after the amount of steps to the top! I would love to say that the view was worth it, but it was so foggy that we could barely see the amazing landscape spreading out beneath us! All good fun though! We then travelled down to a town called Dambulla and saw some very cool temples which had been carved into caves in 100AD! The guide took us around and explained all of the details of the caves and also talked to us about Buddhism, which was very insightful. My brother had set me the challenge, earlier in the week, to feed a monkey a banana- and I did this here so was very pleased with myself! We then travelled down to Kitulgala, where we went white water rafting and canyoning! This was so much fun! Rafting down the river gave us beautiful views and a little bit of adrenaline. Canyoning- sliding down waterfalls and jumping into natural pools- was absolutely awesome and we enjoyed that a lot! Our Sri Lankan guide was hilarious, and kept on pushing me into the pools and threw me off our boat! We cut our trip short and returned to Talalla that night, as there were a few dogs who needed our attention, such as a new boy called Jimmy, you’ll find about him soon! Time to see what the next week will bring…