Ass-lover sacrifices brown bread and chocolate to save the ...

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Ass-lover sacrifices brown bread and chocolate to save the donkeys

He’s walked and cycled across Africa to save vulnerable donkeys from the Chinese medicine trade

Journalist


It’s been more than a year since animal activist Keegan Horn last ate dark chocolate or brown bread.
The Eastern Cape animal lover gave up his creature comforts and his job to set off in April 2018 on an arduous journey across Africa to spread awareness about animal cruelty, raise funds and help any animals he can along the way.
His main focus is to highlight the plight of donkeys, scores of which are being bludgeoned, skinned and exported to China for the production of Ejiao, a gelatin-like substance used in costly Chinese traditional medicines.
With a small tent and huge determination, Horn, who once worked in the film industry, has been relying on the kindness and compassion of people he has encountered in the many countries he has traipsed through.
Horn, currently in Tanzania, has already covered more than 7,000km, mostly on foot and sometimes by bicycle.He is hoping to raise US$4,000 for the Matabeleland Animal and Equine Sanctuary in Zimbabwe by the end of his African journey, which he aims to complete by the end of the year.
“I have been on the road for more than a year now. I started from Bathurst in the Eastern Cape.
“I walked to Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal and then rode by bicycle from Lesotho, in the snow, all the way to Lake Malawi. Since then I have been walking again,” said Horn.
Money and language barriers have been his biggest challenges.
“To be able to communicate is so essential so that people understand what you are doing, otherwise they sometimes feel unsafe with a stranger around their village.
“Although some people like it at times, it is important to show respect because we come from such different backgrounds.”
Horn has had to understand how the exchange of money and access to it works in the various countries he’s travelled through.
“Cash money is difficult to get because in each country there are different methods, and you have to figure out the money system and exchange money if you are in the middle of nowhere and your cards don’t work.”
At one point he was stuck without cash for a week, but a local he stayed with helped him out.
“When you are travelling for such a long period of time, money runs away. So I have to try and sustain myself with the little that I have and, with luck, get sponsored a bit here and there.”
Horn is mindful of dangers that lurk, but has decided not to be distracted by people’s perceptions of travelling through Africa.
“On this kind of journey you walk or ride your bicycle, thinking only in the moment. That’s how you get by.”
Horn’s final destination of Morocco via South Sudan and Chad may change.
“The online reports I have read tell me many things which keep me from wanting to go into these countries.”
He is contemplating re-routing to Egypt “to touch the ocean there and say thank you to the high powers for this most overwhelming experience”.
He sometimes feels homesick when he thinks about family and friends.
“I miss brown healthy bread. I miss dark chocolate. But I can do without the bread and the chocolate.”

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