Cover Image: Saving Manno

Saving Manno

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Member Reviews

A heartwarming read on what it really takes to save something. The real effort and time it took to save Manno.
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This was a heartwarming, inspiring read! Spencer's story of how he saved Manno is one of compassion and love. It definitely tugged at my heartstrings.
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Review	Saving Manno is Spencer Sekyer's record of the process he went through, ending in 2013, in order to get young Chimp Manno moved from a private zoo in Duhok, Kurdistan into a refuge before he reaches adulthood. Adult Chimps are impossible to rescue. And politics in the Iraq/Turkey/Seria borders are very volatile - getting permission from everyone involved is going to be also almost impossible. But it is something Sekyer is compelled to do. 

Spencer Sekyer is a high school social studies teacher working in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada who spends his summers, beginning in 2008, doing volunteer work in third world countries, usually with a school system hosting him as he teaches special classes. His introduction to the intricate process of rescue began in 2009 in Kabal, Afghanistan. Spencer Sekyer met Emma, a large white dog living on the streets and trying to feed herself and her 9 pups. It took a lot of time and money and much help from locals, but Spencer was able to rescue Emma and eventually all of her pups, bringing them into good homes in Canada. But Emma was a walk in the park, compared to a rescue for Manno. 

I received a free electronic copy of this memoir from Netgalley, Spencer Sekyer, and Simon Schuster. Reading this book was my pleasure, and this review is my honest opinion of this work.
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I liked Saving Manno a whole lot even though it was different than 
what I expected.  I thought it would be more about  Manno's life and his day to day
activities. In reality, it was more about the writer and what he went through to 
save Manno.  I loved the parts about his family, his wife, and his well-loved dogs.
His work as a teacher, and his travels over the years.  It is a very good story!
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I really enjoyed reading of the author's relationship with Manno and the three years it took to move Manno from a zoo to an African sanctuary.  I  also really enjoyed reading about the author's various volunteer trips around the world. A very heartwarming read.
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The story of a man employed as a social studies teacher in Canada who set out to experience the world and share his insights with his students. He had met his soul mate while walking his beloved dog in the park and they bonded over their love for their pets. His wife supported him emotionally as he set out to volunteer as a teacher overseas in impoverished and war-torn spots, and she even did some separate volunteer work herself in Uganda. Spencer Sekyer spent time teaching in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and as a veterinary assistant in Kurdistan. 

  In Sierra Leone, he managed to bring healthy running water to the school area along with a laptop and internet service. In Kabul, Afghanistan he adopted a stray dog and her puppies he found in a ditch, bringing them home to Canada.  His most prolonged and heart-wrenching task started when he met a young chimpanzee, Manno, in a zoo in Kurdistan. He immediately bonded with the chimp, and his deep compassion and love for the animal led to a four-year struggle to save the animal and to remove him in a sanctuary in Africa to live out his life in a natural setting with other animals of the same species. It concerned the author that Manno was sleeping alone in a cage, was isolated from others of his kind, and that ISIS armies were quite close to the area.

The author is an inspiration, showing that although one person alone cannot change the world, everyone through compassion and dedication can make small changes for the better. His example hopefully will inspire his students and readers of this book to find ways to make small changes at home or abroad. If more people were like Mr. Sekyer the world would not see so many animal species becoming extinct, and more school children would be inspired to take a greater interest in the world and ways they could help even in their own communities. As a teacher, and in his actions he serves as a role model. 

  It was apparent while reading this book that Mr.Sekyer has an inordinate empathy for animals. His emotions swung from extremes of very deep lows of sorrow to high levels of joy marked by obsessiveness, (but with admirable and good results). We learn of the horror of the illegal business of trafficking in the illegal trade of exotic animals for huge sums of money. He describes his many journeys to Kurdistan to deal with government bureaucracy in his long goal to bring Manno to Kenya for Manno to finally bond with his new family of rescued chimpanzees in a Kenya sanctuary. 

  It was unclear to me how he obtained funding for all his trips overseas and back to his family in Canada.  I thought the book would be more enriched by including photos of himself with his family and pets, schools and zoos where he worked abroad, and with some of Manno.  

  Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for this remarkable and memorable book.
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