When I was a child, I was often called a stubborn donkey. And now? It's nice to be able to be successful with being as "stubborn" as a donkey in some things. Because this so-called stubbornness can lead to a completely different path in life.
I have been what is called hypersensitive and fortunately I am still not benumbed. But it started to become extremely uncomfortable already at an early age, when I was the only one who spoke out about some allergic reactions due to chemicals in food. Since no one seemed to notice but me, stubborn people tried to talk me out of it and also forced me to eat that stuff. Over the years, of course, I got sick, physically and mentally. But well, you learn from it. And with luck, how to be strong and healthy.
At the age of 30 I moved from Germany to Andalusia, where I lived a very natural life in the midst of huge natural cork woods. After some time of retreat I started to sell part of my high quality natural food like olive oil, honey and dried fruits.
The demand grew quite quickly and I bought my first donkey to help me with the work. But everything turned out differently. Unfortunately, this donkey could not help me with my work, but gave me additional work.
It turned out that she was very badly abused and permanently damaged. She also became depressed from being alone and needed company.
That was the beginning of what is now Happy Donkeys. Gradually more donkeys joined us and we lived a good time very happily in a gorgeous area.
It was a peaceful paradise with actually everything you need to be happy. It was also very remote and only a few people lived there.
But in the course of time everything changes and people came who are no longer in harmony with nature and brought destruction and noise pollution. In the end, there was also heavy air pollution due to petrochemicals.
When it became too much for me and I left with my donkeys Camaron and Lucia to find a new place to live, people began to confirm my words and added: We have house and yard here, we can't do anything! The air is bad everywhere now.
I have given up everything I had built in 10 years, and after three years of searching for a natural paradise, I ended up in Portugal.
We went through almost all the natural parks in Andalusia and we had really great times in them.
Finally, we climbed the highest mountain on the Spanish mainland, the Mulhacen in the Sierra Nevada at 3482 meters.
At this point there were six of us again, three donkeys had been born during the journey. The summit was very busy. Many asked what I was doing here with 5 donkeys and when I told them, quite a few recommended a move to Portugal, claiming the best air quality, beautiful mountains and a beautiful forest in the Serra de Monchique.
The air here was much better and there was good support to establish the Happy Donkeys project in the Algarve.
But there is almost no natural forest left here, only some remnants. Instead, almost everywhere here are huge eucalyptus plantations that are extremely damaging to nature. The mass planting of eucalyptus causes many springs to dry up and many forest fires with enormous damage all over Portugal every year.
I have been here for 7 years now, built next to my activities with the donkeys a big permaculture project in 3 years and in 2018 we almost burnt down completely just before the completion of this project. And I saw more than 10 forest fires in all.
However, we have been very lucky to make many many people very happy in the last 7 years and I am very grateful to all the people who have contributed to all our projects. That was really great!
Although the circumstances of the Corona pandemic also hurt us a lot, we have fortunately been able to develop brand new projects for a beautiful future for the happy donkeys. Have a look at >About the project< if you like to know about our new plans.
Until the end of March you are welcome to visit us in the mountains of Monchique and we are looking forward to give you a wonderful experience with our happy donkeys, walking completely free with us in a remote valley with a small stream and some beautiful nature. All in all, there have been many good sides about being here for 7 years and I am happy to show you some of them.
All the best, Robert