Tuesday, 1 April 2008


Noëline Haylett lives just outside Westport in County Mayo and originally comes from South Africa. Noëline first came to Ireland in 1978 and works caring for people with special needs. She founded Mayo Animal Welfare, which takes in injured wildlife from all over the country. And, on top of that, she supports a community in Ghana. Her reputation has spread to Inishowen and local people have sponsored orphans and made donations to support her work.

Noëline has been raising money and sending containers out to Ghana for the past twelve years including four ambulances, a bus and a tractor. Known as ‘Mama’ to the locals in Ghana, Noëline has set up a sewing school, a bakery, she has built a school with her SSIA money, several health clinics and bore holes for fresh water. Her next container is being sent out in June and she is hoping to find a boat with an outboard engine to send over to the inhabitants of Dwarf Island. This is located in Lake Volta, the world’s largest man-made lake. Every year a large number of people drown in the small ferry boats that travel to the island. If any-one could donate a boat or lifejackets, or for more information contact Noëline on 09841484

What kind of music do you listen to?
I like ethnic drumming and folk music. But when I am on the move I listen to Marian Finucane on radio 1. I enjoy the human-interest stories and interviews.

What would you never throw away?

I would never throw anything away! If I break a plate I would use the pieces for a mosaic. Everything has its uses and if I can’t use it, someone else can.

What books are you reading?
The life of Edith Stein. Edith was a German Jewess philosopher, who became a Carmelite nun. She became a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church. She died in Auschwitz. In the bathroom I have books on gardening and antiques.

Have you been to the cinema recently?

I have been 5 times in the last 30 years! I was taken to see Happy Feet recently, before that I was taken to see Babe.

What section of the newspaper do you turn to first?
I have no time for reading papers. I use them for wrapping things!

What is your idea of a great night out?
Meeting people and cultivating them to work on the project I run.

What makes a great meal?
Sitting around a campfire in South African bush, roasting large chunks of meat with watermelon. This would be washed down with good strong coffee made on the fire.

How do you relax?
I rarely do -but I have been known to spend two hours in the bath!

What is the world’s most useful invention?

The Swiss army knife. They are even standard issue on space shuttle missions.

What job did you want to do when you were a child?
I wanted to run away to the circus to be a lion tamer. Then I wanted to be a jungle doctor and vet.

Do you go anywhere nice for your holidays?
In 2006 I went over to Ghana to aid the school and borehole building programmes in Ho. Before that I last went away in 1983. With £150 in my pocket I hitchhiked to the Artic, which was a fantastic experience. I slept in boatyards, cemeteries and forests to keep the cost down.

What is your idea of heaven?

I believe in reincarnation so I wouldn’t be there long! I am sure it will be inhabited by animals as well as humans.

What famous people would you invite for dinner?
Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, David Attenborough and Thor Heyerdahl, the adventurer who sailed a raft called Kon-Tiki 4300 miles from South America to the Tuamoto Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

What is your favourite animal?
Dogs and wolves for their loyalty and personality. I have 15 dogs and they are all so different. My favourite animal baby has to be an otter. They are so cute!

What is you biggest fear?
Bicycles, drowning and going blind. I don’t like the thought of being dependent on anyone to get around.

What is your biggest thrill?
Being alive. I nearly died at 26 so every day is a new adventure.

What is the world’s most irritating invention?
Ghetto blasters that play loud music, we don’t want to listen to!

Personal philosophy?
I have three. S**t or get off of the pan, if you think positively, positive things happen and live simply so others may simply live.

What is your idea of a good night in?
Uninterrupted gardening in summer and in winter I like to have a long soak in the bath after all of the animals are fed.

What was your favourite childhood game?
I liked survival games in the bush. I would always have a bag packed full of bandages, dried food, aspirin and a wind up gramophone (with a Strauss LP) I used this for my expeditions and I was always prepared if anyone made a kidnap attempt on us.

Any last words?
I believe in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man. Treat others, as you would like to be treated.

1 comment:

Minnie said...

What a wonderful story. I know Noeline's father quite well, he is an old friend of my family (the Bothmas). If you have contact with Noeline, please could you tell her about this organisation that is doing miracles in Cape Town: www.luckylucy.org. I support them and the young woman who started it has the same kind of energy, drive, determination and passion as Noeline. There are townships under this woman's influence that have NOT ONE unsterilised dog any more. She believes in feeding the people alongside the animals, building community centres while doing mass sterilisation drives, educating and rewarding people for responding to this... the formula seems so simple, one wonders why more people are not doing this!


(Hermien Bothma)
Cape Town

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