Juan Carlito’s eight-year old body pulses with excitement. The books laid out before him cause his eyes to jump chaotically from the table to his teacher to me and back. His child-sized hands paw at the covers, as if they might suddenly vanish if he doesn’t touch each one in time. Limited to checking out just two books until the truck returns, a month from now, this latent young bibliophile knows what he is after. He is impervious to the press of several dozen fellow students lined up behind him. Discovering first one, then a second book with the proper proportion of pictures to words, Juan Carlito grins and steps sideways to face me.
“Como se llama?” What is your name?
“Juan Carlito Chavez”
I write his name and grade into the check-out register before asking him one more question.
“Y por que te gusta la biblioteca movil?” Why do you like the mobile library?
“Porque cada mes recibo dos libros mas para leer.” Because every month I get two more books to read.
Something about his earnest gratitude for two more books each month catches me off guard. I look skyward, momentarily blinking back emotion before I face him again and return his smile. I sign the register and hand him the books. Before I can wish him good reading he has turned on his heel and bounded off, two fresh adventures tucked under his arm.
GFHI is proud to introduce San Juan del Sur Biblioteca and Biblioteca Movil as the first of our 2012 project partners. Biblioteca Movil currently provides more than 5,000 books to school children in 33 rural communities in and around San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. SJdS Biblioteca is a valued community resource with deep knowledge of current needs and extensive experience with international volunteers. Our desire for sustainable projects and emphasis on education and empowerment make SJdS Biblioteca and Biblioteca Movil exciting project partners. We will have more information about these and other projects in the coming weeks.