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Following a recent Heifer Study Tour to Honduras, Virginia Tech students were given an assignment: Choose one photograph from the trip and explain why you chose it and which of Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development it embodies. Over the course of this week, we’ll share these images and words to give you a look at how much of an impact seeing Heifer’s work in the field can have. Read other posts in the series here.

Two Families Come Together

Susan Clark:  This photograph portrays the coming together of two families from different communities (Copantle and Cerro Azul).  It represents a remarkable transformation where communities are crossing boundaries to share capacities that is seemingly atypical in Honduras.  Last year we worked in the Cerro Azul community building homes and only visited Copantle.  This year we returned to Copantle to work on projects with Angelina’s family and together (full participation) helped assemble a biodigestor, build a foundation for a farm school, and plant a variety of crops.  Angelina is a visionary and exceptionally wise leader who embodies all the Heifer cornerstones.  Working with Heifer her vision has provided the framework for food sovereignty and cultivated and promoted a healthy community.  The Copantle community’s dream to build a just and sustainable community came to fruition thanks to the inspirational leadership of one of their members, Angelina passing on the gift of her knowledge and animal resources to so many others living in the community which has helped move them towards self-sufficiency.  The income generated from their Heifer resources has continued to provide new opportunities to enhance their lives.  The Civic Agriculture and Food Systems Minor Cornerstones that this photo denotes are food security/sovereignty, ecological stewardship, healthy community, economic viability, and experiential learning.

Laurel Heile, Landscape Architecture, VA Tech: This photo voice embodies the Heifer Cornerstones of Sharing and Caring and Full Participation and the CAFS Minor Cornerstone of Experiential Learning. The entire trip was about connecting and showing our support and commitment to the people we met in Honduras through projects, speakers, and Heifer Honduras staff. This was especially poignant birding the language barrier. This photo represents the countless times students creatively figured out ways to interact with those we met. This photo shows Jairo passing around his phone with photos of his son as we also passed around pictures of our families too. It was a moment of sincere interest in each other's lives and backgrounds and full participation as we communicated enthusiastically with our limited Spanish and Jairo similarly with his English skills. It was a great moment where enthusiasm and caring overcame the mechanics of language. This also represents the mission of the Experiential Learning cornerstone for the CAFS Minor. It is all about getting out of the day to day and normal environment and seeing and doing things first hand, which makes the learning experience that much more powerful and lasting.


Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She and her husband raise two daughters in a house way too small for their four pets. They spend a lot of time sweeping.