It’s not an sf-related story, admits Steven Silver in his e-mail. But he knew I’d like it and that would be enough reason to post it here — we fans always find a way to appropriate the stories we like.
Luis Soriano is a Colombian teacher who loads his burros Alfa and Beto full of books twice a week and rides for hours to reach obscure villages in rural Colombia to encourage kids to read.
At the start of his 17-year teaching career, Soriano realized that some students were having difficulty not just learning, but finishing their homework assignments. Most of the students falling behind lived in rural villages, where illiterate parents and lack of access to books prevented them from completing their studies.
To help bridge the learning gap, Soriano decided to personally bring books to the children.
“I saw two unemployed donkeys at home and had the idea [to use] them in my biblioburro project because they can carry a heavy load,” Soriano said. “I put the books on their backs in saddles and they became my work tools.”
[Thanks to Steven H. Silver for the story.]