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February 15, 2012
We sometimes forget the true objective of publishing books. Yes it is to publish great books and do it well, but it is also to create a stronger connection with our community, to pass on the knowledge of our species to those who may be less informed for the purpose of providing information and the various ways it is expressed. Recently I had the opportunity to view a youtube video that truly changed my scope on books and education; Biblioburro. There is also a documentary that aired on PBS Biblioburro: The Donkey Library, directed by Carlos Rendón Zipagauta, that takes a much deeper and more poignant view into the life of Luis Sorian Bohorquez, the traveling librarian.
We are fortunate enough to live in a country where books are easily accessible in libraries, book stores, flea markets, book trade sites and we have the convenience of finding books simply laid out in front of homes to be taken by any passer-by. Some countries are not as fortunate to have books so easily at their disposal. Luis Sorian Bohorquez is a teacher at the mixed school in La Gloria, Colombia, a small farming town known for its growing fishing industry. Though La Gloria, “The Glory” is plagued by poverty and crime, Bohorquez is determined to instill strong values in the children of his town. Luis’s home is a storage site for over 3,480 books (respectively), everyday Luis travels by donkey with a bushel of books for children, with the unwavering bravery to fight, what is called; “the farmers ignorance.” He is also in the process of building a library in La Gloria, but for the time being he rides miles into town as a traveling librarian with a sign reading “Biblioburro,” encouraging the already enthusiastic students about reading. The children light up with excitement and curiosity as Bohorquez rides into town.
Luis speaks with great urgency about the need for books in La Gloria, Colombia; “In a book we can find cities, cultures, rights, duties. Teaching the child rights, duties and commitments. A child who knows his rights is a child informed to say no to war.” Luis’s main purpose is to provide a stronger sense of self worth to the “future of Colombia.” Bohorquez truly demonstrates that true education is not only the absorption of facts and memorization but the creation of a critical mind and a noble citizen, who leads as well as listens, and desires to create a better life for their community. This humble act of courage has the power to transform the the perception of education and uplift those who may feel helpless in communities that have been torn apart by war and violence. Luis Sorian Bohoquez truly gives a face to the true purpose of literature.