So many people have worked very hard to establish the science, the link to cultural and historic history, and a plan forward for protections for the Bonaire wild donkeys as well as promotion of their true value to the people at all levels that it must be clear how much they are appreciated. It is a very profound feeling when that realization truly hits home with you. When the history becomes clear, It is almost inconceivable to think of Bonaire without donkeys, yet this very real possibility has come to be on Bonaire.
On one of my trips there Manuela Winklaar and I were near Washington Slagbaai park. We found a family of donkeys that we wanted to observe for a while, These donkeys were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen and identical to every photo I have seen of a Nubian Ass. I was so alive in the moment of seeing those breathtaking animals that I did not notice that Manuela had shifted direction. We were on the border of the park which is protected by a stone wall. She walked over to the wall with graceful ease over the sharp rocks that are a part of the landscape there. Then she put her hands out and touched the stones for a very long time. Later, she said with eloquence the story of her people. She explained with great sincerity that her ancestors built that wall. The donkeys worked side by side with them. When she sees a donkey, she knows that the ancestor of that donkey knew her ancestors. It is truly a deep concept to fully embrace the psychological importance of their coexistence for 500 years.
Manuela is now my dear friend. We spent many weeks together exploring and she was the best guide I could have asked for. She knows every inch of Bonaire, and I learned quite a lot about the politics from her as well. Add to that list that she is a very talented artist. And, you can see I really found a treasure when I met Manuela. The kids would love it and the diving is some of the best in the world. I want you to meet the people too who love these donkeys and have worked so hard to save them from extinction. You will love Bonaire. As long as there are donkeys, I will always want to come back.