Biblioburro: behind-the-scenes

Many people have asked for more information in regards to Luis' experience and how he got started on the Biblioburro.

Luis was displaced as a little boy, along with his family, to Valledupar, a two hour drive from his native village of La Gloria. The region at the time- and until just a couple years ago- was full of violence fueled by guerrilla and bandits.

Far from his friends and the nature he loves, Luis found himself very lonely in the big city and found refuge in a local library. There, book after book he fell in love with literature and the imaginary world that it brought him. Not so surprisingly, his favorite book was Don Quixote. His love for books was encouraged by a very supportive teacher who would also put books aside for him.

Years later, Luis remembered how that support had helped him as he was learning to read, and felt the books he had had a chance to accumulate over the years should be shared with others. And thus was born the Biblioburro.

When he started out though, he had several challenges to overcome. The area was still very violent and dangerous - he had to be very careful about what kind of books he carried, and making sure nothing could be misinterpreted by the guerrilla forces as government propaganda material, including any books dealing with human rights or the Colombian constitution.
Besides this context, another unexpected challenge arose from his own community: people thought he had gone crazy - going around on his donkey and trying to gather kids to read them stories- he was made fun of and people pointed their fingers at him.

He got upset and decided to take a break from his young initiative. But it was not long til parents came back knocking to his door, saying their children were asking for more stories. Thanks to Luis' passion and dedication, they had come to realize the importance of reading for the education of their children.

The rest is history. Today Luis is La Gloria's most famous resident and about to open the town's first permanent library.

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