I, Too, Have Received a Gift
By Jesse Freedman, The Potomac School
Let me begin with an admission: when I boarded my flight earlier in the summer for Honduras, I would have been hard pressed to fully communicate the meaning of one of Heifer’s core beliefs – the idea of Passing on the Gift.
It is a testament to the power of Heifer’s Study Tours for Educators, however, that by the end of my time in Honduras, I could speak passionately on behalf of the organization’s unique, values-based approach to the alleviation of hunger and poverty.
As a history teacher at large independent school outside of Washington, D.C., my primary motivation for traveling to Honduras was to construct – both for myself and my students – a more nuanced conception of what development ‘looks like.’
Turns out, of course, that development is a complicated thing, and that its implementation differs from one community to the next. But if I were to distill my experience in Honduras to one moment, to one lasting vision of Passing on the Gift, it would focus on our visit to Mejocote, a rural Honduran village west of Tegucigalpa.
As the gift changed hands, we, a group of educators drawn from across the United States, observed development at its most local level: these chickens represented for the families involved the promise of improved economic prospects. And yet, in another way, the transfer embodied a number of the important goals to which Heifer, its partners, and its beneficiaries aspire: gender equality, local accountability, and environmental sustainability.
It’s thanks to Heifer and its exhaustive efforts on our behalf that I, too, am the recipient of a gift. This gift comes as a call to action: to develop new curricula; to orient my students, friends, and family to development initiatives in Central American nations like Honduras; and to support the efforts of those committed to a values-based approach to social and economic empowerment.