Sunday, April 25, 2010

Teaching and Reaching the World

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Santiago and Tezla teaching and learning bird identification 

There are many teachers
in conservation and environmental justice. During our review of macaw nests in
Honduras we each took our turn teaching one another.  Hector Portillo Reyes, leader in conservation
education in Honduras and of this trip, chose students to accompany us and
taught them as we went from nest to nest.


Hector and Maria Eugenia 

Maria Eugenia Mondragon Hung, professor of
English at Universidad Pedagogica Nacional Francisco Morazan (UPNFM) taught me
Spanish when I got stuck and spent her late evenings teaching and practicing
English with Hector. The people of La Mosquitia, such as Gerzon Sanchez, taught us their language as we
danced between us the trilingual waltz.

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Gerzon and Mary  Eugenia

Hermes Vega, our botantist, taught us about plants, Santiago
and Pascacio taught us about roads and pathways on their lands, I taught about
nest and chick health, and Tomas taught us of pain and loss.  In reality, I suppose we all helped one
another learn of loss through our stories of the relentless habitat destruction
in our lives.  These stories gave us
purpose as we walked through grass and creeks, grazing only the surface into the
beauty that flows with us into the one great ocean of being


Hermes hiking with his plant press

Tegucigalpa I was the “featured” teacher for a talk on avian conservation at
the University and later the presenter for a 2 day symposium at the zoo on
rescue, rehabilitation, and liberation of parrots. In my mind I was the one who
learned the most, such as from the dedicated zoo veterinarian, Dr. Diana
Echeverria.  She shared with me her
veterinary practice among the realities of Honduras politics and
resources.  The zoo workers, the
biologists, the professors, and the students taught me of their precious
passion that urges me on to ever greater admiration of these people, and
greater commitments on my part.

Zoo class

Dr. Diana Escheveria, middle left, with students, biologists, and workers and administrators of the zoo

Behind the human drama,
in fact above, beneath, in front of, and all around flies those that teach us
the most.  Our eyes lift up from our
daily concerns and burdens to see liberating wings as our hope.  For as we liberate those with wings, they
will set us free.

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But we must do our
part, and there is no script for this. 
Currently there are plans to build a Center of Investigation within the
UPNFM that will center on teaching practically in the field among the
indigenous communities as we learn over and over again our place in the family
of things. Another plan is for a research station and parrot  rescue center in the Rus Rus area, initiated by INCEBIOH (Instituto para la Ciencia y la Conservcion de la Biodiversidad en Honduras).  Such a
structure will allow for teaching, research, income for the indigenous people
while they preserve their way of life, and let me be direct here, international
witness and protection by our presence, using our own precious bodies for all
the precious bodies of the world as a shield to reduce harm in the midst of

The people of La
Mosquitia told me that they would give their lives for the beauty of their land,
and their commitment teaches me that I too hear this calling.  I am gathering names for those who wish to
accompany me in the near future on a mission of witness, protection, and peace
in Honduras (email me at Come, take my hand and the hands,
wings, and hearts of others so that we may learn together and in turn teach the
world.  Let us together in our diversity be
bright rainbow shields and witnesses for peace, parrots and people as Seres
Unidos, Beings United

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 Tomas hiking under the protection of a rainbow umbrella

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