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Lessons from the Amazon – questions and activities

Michele Frankeni  |  21 May 2020

Read The beloved Amazon in the winter 2020 edition of Australian Catholics and take part in the following activities and questions.


  • What did Fr Manh realise about the communities’ approach to food and sharing? How does it compare with ‘Western’ countries? Are there lessons in this approach for our communities?
  • Why does Fr Manh say the Amazon is the first bible for these Indigenous communities? What do you think of this statement?
  • Do you think indigenous communities should have structures imposed on them? Why/why not? What is the purpose of structure?
  • What is at the heart of Querida Amazonia?


Research: Why is the Amazon basin so important to the environmental health of the world? In what ways are the Amazonian communities being damaged? (See Catholic leaders warn of humanitarian environmental tragedy in Amazon for some of the latest issues.) Are there creative ways you can demonstrate the sheer size of the 6400km Amazon River? In a globally connected world, your purchases can affect sustainable practices in other parts of the globe. What can you do to ensure you’re acting in a globally life-sustaining way?

Share a meal: As a class, come together to share a meal. Have each child explain their contribution to the meal so there is an understanding of where the food comes from; how it is grown, made, baked. Remember to give thanks to God for the meal.

Grow a garden: Investigate developing a vegetable garden at school or home.


Read or summarise The beloved Amazon and discuss with the students the challenges of living in isolated communities. Ask the students to think about the differences (and similarities) of the lives of the Amazonian people with their lives.

Discuss the connection of the indigenous people to their lands. Talk with the class the importance of them looking after their lands.

Activity – I see/I care

The purpose of this activity is to teach the children to recognise God in all living things as St Ignatius did and to care for God’s world.

  • Take the children for a short walk outside, asking them to focus on something in nature that needs care (flowers that need watering, birds to be fed, grassy areas to be cleaned up).
  • After the walk, ask the children to fold a sheet of drawing paper in half and label one half I see and the other half I care.
  • Ask them to draw a picture of what they chose as special in nature in the I see half and a picture of themselves caring for this aspect of nature in the I care half.
  • Post the pictures for all to see or invite children to show and share their ideas.
  • Conclude by pointing out that these gifts in nature are from God and that it is our job to take care of them.


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