Anayda and Rosa
(This is blog was originally published in 2016)
Rosa came into this world weighing maybe 20 grams, all pink with unruly yellowish down. One day men broke into her home nest and pulled her screaming from the warm comfort of the place where she was safe, loved. Her parents would never see Rosa again. Men bound her in a burlap sack so she could be easily transported from the fields to the nearby town. No attention was given to her brokenness, even though she cried in pain as she was moved clandestinely. Luckily, other men with a different vision for how to meet desire, found her in squalor, fed only corn mush. Her legs were swollen, scabbed over from where the bones had once protruded. Tomas Manzanares, he himself with deep scars and bone wounding from those that would take from both indigenous and parrot alike, took care of Rosa, nursing her to some semblance of health.
Rosa when she first arrived at the Rescue Center
She then found her way to Anayda. Anayda and her spouse Santiago, and other villagers, had been taking in rescued scarlet macaws and yellow-naped parrots for more than two years in the village of Mabita in La Moskitia, Honduras. Rosa joined this liberated flock, though she had to be hand carried from branch to feeding platform to porch. I thought she would die, and said so to Anayda. “Without you, Rosa will not live.” Anayda heard that as a charge and did not let Rosa die. She continued the treatments I began, and never let Rosa out of her sight. In fact, she took Rosa with her on her motorcycle when she went to work in her family’s planting fields.
I next saw Rosa when she was two. Still fearfully thin, she had regained her health, her feathers had grown in shiny and shockingly red, the disease gone and replaced with some feistiness. Rosa engaged in the world, using her beak for balance and to walk, taking hobbling steps with her bowed legs and curled feet to get to food and to companionship. I also got to spend two months with her near her fourth birthday. I found a fierce friend, for she taught me that even the broken can yet shine and serve. Then Moncorron came to the Rescue Center. He was a weak thing, timid and beaten down with captivity. Anayda said, “Rosa will take care of him. That is what she does with newcomers.” It took all of five minutes before Rosa zeroed in on him. Within ten minutes they were preening each other, hardly thereafter ever leaving each other’s side, Moncorron safe now in the company and protection of Rosa.
One day in 2016, I got a call from Santiago. “Doctora, algo triste. Rosa murio.” (Dr., something sad, Rosa died.) She had developed a cough and was taken into Anyada’s home. There was no clinic, no veterinarian, inadequate medicine, and no way to know why she was sick. She died two days later. Our love and care wasn’t enough. But Rosa didn’t falter. She lived in pain and with her unique and precious life she gave us and the other macaws companionship. She taught us the kind of love that tasks us to bone deep rending and mending that never ceases. I wish that my love was enough, so Rosa would not have died.
Anayda once answered when I asked her why she dedicates her life to caring for macaws. “Once I saw Rosa, I could not let it happen anymore.” I can't let it happen anymore either. So dear Rosa, I promise you now my unending love and I will not forget that you are still visible and ever with me. Rosa, Pree Palisa (Miskito for Rosa, Fly Free). Your beauty will never die. And you humans! Let them fly free.
Update, 3/10/2020: Anayda is now the Manager of the Parrot Liberation and Rescue Center in Honduras and continues to give exceptional care to the endangered parrots needing rehabilitation until they can be released back into the wild (if they can be released, that is). She is assisted by 15 other women in her village. Please consider contributing to our current crowdfunding campaign at http://goto.gg/45244, which will provided needed support for their work. The campaign ends on March 25, 2020. Thank you!
Rosa and Moncorron