The OCP Blog

The Story of a Muscovy Duck and a Rooster

For over two decades now, Our Community Place has been able to create an atmosphere of joy and acceptance and a sense of belonging to beings most of the community overlooks. People just walk on by them, either not noticing at all, or perhaps thinking these ones don’t really matter. Early each summer, these non-recurring community members have taken refuge in a space we all call “OURS.”  Experienced travelers with little to carry, they stop in Harrisonburg, drawn by our welcoming and supportive social service systems. These migrants move without papers. Some truly have not been able to hold an identification card/ID for two years or more. They have energy to contribute, but no one hires them. Sometimes they seem to be moving in circles. So, OCP is one place where they feel they can be seen for who they truly are. “Did you know that you need an identification card to get an identification card? What if somebody lost their birth certificate?” a community member asked me.

As they searched for somewhere to belong this summer, we had the opportunity to welcome a lonesome Muscovy duck and a rooster as our new community members. So here is a true story about how a Muscovy duck and a rooster found refuge on OCP grounds.

Imagine if you would, someone is approaching you and starts asking you questions in a language you don’t understand. Imagine that this being has a totally different body language than yours, and lives a different kind of lifestyle. This stranger seems to be 10 times your size! Most of us would find it imposing, intimidating or at least unpleasant. Many of us would want to run away!  So, as I was contemplating the life of a Muscovy duck and a rooster living in the creek in front of OCP, I took time to dig a little deeper to better understand our latest members.

While our communications were choppy at best, I may have found out why a Muscovy duck and a rooster would choose to live at OCP. They were drawn by the powerful magnetism that Our Community Place emanates, even though they had some concerns about our resident cats. While I was denied official permission to capture an interview with these community members, I tried to connect with them, offering safety, observing their movements, drumming and singing, sending them positive energy through their days in our yard. They waddle up close to the deck when we drum.

Native to Central and South America, Muscovy ducks are usually quiet and easygoing, and they get along well with other species. While the mallard ducks all roam together, this duck and the rooster often hang out together, just the two of them. I wonder, “Does the rooster know he’s not a duck? How did he get separated from his chicken family? How did the Muscovy duck accept him? How did he accept himself, and just join these community members, who look different, move different, sound different?” We may not get the answer in a language we can understand, but here at OCP, even the animals model community, acceptance, and love.

Leons Kabongo

Program & Activities Coordinator