So although still with
sad hearts at Tusa´s departure from this world, we continue
to stay positive and committed to what the three of us had started
9 months ago. And Tusa might be buried here in Manaus but in spirit
he will be with us… all the way. A big thanks to each and
everybody for their wonderful mails about Tusa and for encouraging
and supporting Miss M and I.
finished our last update, telling that we had found a boat in Porto
Velho that will take us all the way to Manaus, deep in the heart
of the Amazon. We had no choice about this means of transport as
everybody travels by boat, whether they like it or not! Miss M realized
very quickly that it was a blessing in disguise that we went on
a Cargo boat instead of the traditional passenger ones, as this
meant hardly any other
travelers accompanying us, which was great! Excluding Tusa and I,
there was a four strong crew (the captain, his assistant, the maintenance
man and his wife, the cook), a Brazilian Missionary and his son
and, of course, Miss M.
and I had a little spot on a huge barge where we shared the space
with hundreds of bean bags and packets of spaghetti, 3 cars and
Miss M´s pitched tent. The barge was pushed by a small boat
and during the day, Miss M sat on the little deck in her chair (especially
acquired for this trip), reading, trying to improve her Spanish
(although everybody else around us spoke Portuguese!) and playing
her Irish flute (still badly I am afraid to say!).
from keeping a watchful eye over us, she also fed us regularly with
food and water, scooping the latter from the river with a bucket
and long rope. She also cleaned our living space round the clock,
which made us (and everybody else on board) very happy! In Porto
Velho she managed to secure twelve bags full of saw dust, so at
least Tusa and I had a comfortable stand and at night we usually
lay down on our comfy bed. Our
food consisted of a mixture of nutrients that come in a bag and
whenever the boat veered to the side, everybody enthusiastically
helped to grab and pull juicy, green reeds for us to munch on. It
was overcast most of the time but one day it got very hot and Miss
M suggested that they use some of the plastic to make a roof for
us. A strong wind was blowing and Tusa and I got quite scared with
all this plastic flapping very noisily over our heads and I think
Miss M feared at one stage that we were going to jump into the river!
Once the plastic roof was secured, it was quite cosy underneath
it made a huge difference not to have had the piercing sun, burning
onto our skin.
I got a bit restless by the 5th day and was quite
relieved when I saw the lights of Manaus in the distance, a day
later. I had a little accident coming off the barge, slipping on
the metal surface with my shod feet, falling flat on my side. Miss
M then had the brainwave (because I really struggled to get up)
to put plastic bags around my hoofs, so I finally managed to get
up on my four feet again after some time.
Miss M had a contact here in Manaus, a girl called Tammy, and she
and her partner Johnny, were such a great help to us all. Tammy
arranged that we were transported from the port in style by a fancy
truck from the Military Police to her and Johnny´s farm. It
is also here where Tusa is resting now. Miss M planned on a 3-day
stay in Manaus but it turned out to be much longer as we had to
be tested for Mormo (a very serious disease for horses here in the
Amazonas) and EIA, which poor Tusa diagnosed positive for. The blood
tests for Mormo had to be sent to Sao Paulo (which is almost on
the other side of the world!) and when Tusa´s results came
back as inconclusive, the procedure had to be repeated again.
our luck had to turn and we finally leave tomorrow, heading towards
the Venezuelan border. Our new companion is called Tu Fein (it means
´yourself´in the Irish language). Thanks Mr Coman for
coming up with such an appropriate name!! He (Tu Fein and not Mr
Coman!), is half Criollo, half Quarter Horse, with a good energetic
walk. I´ve met my match here because everytime we´ve
been together so far, he has tried to nip me but I am sure our relationship
will smooth out as time goes on.
will give Tu Fein a chance for a few words with our next diary entry,
which will be from somewhere in Venezuela.
Until then my friends!
As usual I forget to mention the most important stuff
till last! Miss M was very impressed with the services of DHL who
recently got a parcel from Dublin to Manaus in 3 days!! She mentions
to us (and everybody else who is prepared to listen!) regularly
about this fantastic sponsor and their speedy and professional service.
We also want to thank HorseHeaven again for continuing to support
the TATA challenge, sending us much needed goodies on a regular
basis. Their spray against flies and other biting insects, an absolute
winner!! The quality of their products are much admired throughout
but not least, we´d also like to mention our latest sponsor,
Maximuscle, who provides Miss M with protein drinks (Miss M couldn´t
stop talking about the chocolate flavour until she tried Strawberry
recently!!!) and energy bars, making sure that she can never ever
complain again for being hungry or tired!
Marianne an email >