José is an enterprising, optimistic student in the final year of his bachillerato at Chinchilla, the colegio in Copán, where he studies tourism. Mayatan now offers the degree, but we didn't at the time when we had José on our campus as a scholarship student.
José has already started on that goal of a career in tourism by working at the Macaw Mountain Bird Park when he can. He is going to follow up his bachillerato with a university degree in tourism.
The change from Mayatan to the public school system was slightly jarring to José, who says that "We have the best education here [on campus]." He was the only one of his classmates to speak English, and during his first year there were strikes at the public school that cost students half of the year.
Although he is not on our campus, José's education is still benefiting him. He wouldn't be able to work in the bird park without English skills, where daily interaction with foreign tourists is the norm.
José's intelligence and enthusiasm particularly show when he talks about his love for and knowledge of birds, which he developed at work. He was surprised to learn how intelligent the yellow crown parrot is, learning to imitate speech. Macaws, on the other hand, can live up to 100 years, and red macaws have lifelong monogamous partners. "If a mate is killed or captured, Amazons will never mate again and may commit suicide by soaring into the sky and falling."
At Mayatan, José was supported by a group of sponsors, and he is still in touch with one of them, who lives in California. We love nothing more than helping our students form life-long relationships with sponsors who can provide guidance like this.
When he came to campus, José had just returned from Guatemala, visiting friends in the Petén, Antigua, and Atitlán. This also happens to be the area he expects to work in one day, leading tourist through the region. He also recommends that we all check out lake Yojoa in Honduras, a perfect place for watching birds in the wild, especially Montezuma orioles. On our end, we look forward to watching José become a success.