The Story of Biblioburro
La Gloria, a small town in Colombia, gave the world a primary school teacher, Luis Humberto Soriano. He is owner of a two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, and a brilliant idea – traveling library on donkey’s back.
A humble teacher teaches in public school on weekdays, but on weekends he sets of to the surrounding villages with many books on Alfa and Beto. The books may be hard to carry, but knowledge that he gives to the children is very important .
Due to poor economic conditions and distance, many children are unable to learn and discover world that surrounds them. That’s why Luis Humberto carries loads of encyclopedias, textbooks, atlases, novels and others, to teach them and to show them.
When he started, he had only 70 books in his own home. But, in time, many people realized the magnificent meaning of his act, so they donated near five thousand books to him and his cause. He always had patience for those who had wishes, and more than that, he fulfilled them. Every boy and every girl have heard about a fairy tale, about car or a famous hero. All they need to do is to ask senor Luis, and he will provide books or comics.
His greatest support was his wife, Diana, with whom he had build the first public library in La Gloria. For that purpose his mother left him a piece of land, and by time, with Diana, Luis built library for five thousand books he had. „At first everyone thought we were crazy and they made fun of us, just because we were ready to go very far to help children in their homework and make their weekends a bit more fun. At first we had very few books. Now we have a lot more, as well as blackboards and chalk. We are becoming more professional. Now they are mad, and we became a real institution. We are like Sancho Panza and Don Quixote of the twenty – first century“ – says Luis Humberto Soriano, addressing to his donkeys. Colombian documentary filmmaker Carlos Rendón Zipagauta has been working on a documentary about brave adventure of Luis Humberto and about bad state of education in Columbia. The documentary was awarded, which gave Carlos wind in the back to extend it with more additional minutes, supported by French and Colombian government.
The unselfish act of Luis Humberto tells a lot about him as a human, but he himself tells the story of similar childhood and discovers his mantra: „Now, let’s leave that behind us. We need to live in the present and to show that Colombians are good people. Colombia has to change“. And, as long as Luis has faith in his people and country, the faith will remain within us.