Wednesday, December 7, 2011

San Juan del Sur Biblioteca: Book Mobile

Book Mobile
Originally posted on Simmons GSLIS Dispatches from the Field

Day 5, January 8, 2009

Most of the GSLIS girls and boys were up early to head out by 8:15 on our first book mobile trip out to the campo (countryside). We had a tasty breakfast made and served by Roxana, the hotel’s mistress of all things breakfast, sister to Edwin, and mother to Luis Carlos. After the feeding frenzy and a delectable cup of the SJDS Biblioteca coffee farm coffee (you too can enjoy this tasty coffee for just $10 a bag, and have the double satisfaction of knowing that you are supporting the library. Contact me, or any of the trip participants, and we’ll hook you up.), we headed to the library, which is literally a stones throw from the hotel. Jane gave us a tour, and we piled into the back of our sweet ride. It has leopard print seats! As has been covered before, the best way to get around Nicaragua is in the back of a truck. While I was initially apprehensive, the leopard print seats combined with the wrought iron people-cage and fresh breeze convinced me to give it a whirl. And whirl we did, hair blowing in the wind as we bounced joyously down the road to our first visit.
Biblioteca Movil
Biblioteca Movil + GSLIS = Riding in style, photo by Lauren

Oraguan Trail
The Or-aguan Trail
After bumping along country roads, fording small rivers (otherwise known as creeks), and passing several teams of oxen we arrived at our destination: Oregon. Kidding, I actually never found out the name of our site, which is a shame. If anyone in the group remembers and wants to correct me, by all means chime in! Anydoodle, our first trip out on the SJDS Biblioteca Movil took us to what is normally a two room, open air school house. Since the schools were all still on vacation, we had to squeeze in through barbed wire to get into the schoolyard.
Open air school
One room of the open air, two room school house that was our site visit
From what I gather, when the book mobile goes out to schools, there is usually quite a crowd because there is a whole school full of kids jonesing for their literary fix. Since school was out, it took a little while for kids to trickle in, long enough for me to have one of my most terrifying bathroom experiences ever. It involved a tin floored latrine that kind of buckled when I stepped onto it, a seat that might have been designed for children, and hearing an animal in the bushes outside (it turned out to be three somewhat little piggies). Visions of Slumdog Millionaire were dancing through my head.
3 Piggies
3 little piggies go to school
Once kids started turning up, we started chatting them up, asking what kinds of books they liked or getting them to read to us. While we had our smallest turnout, the kids were all eager to see the books and sweet enough to talk to us. Nelly, another SJDS librarian, asked me to read Cordoroy again, which I did, before suggesting a pick up game of soccer. Erikka, Jeremy and I took on a team of three boys. While I’d say two of the three were no taller than my hips, and the other was wearing flip flops, they gave us a run for our money!
On our way out, a local woman and her kids came running up late. Very kindly, the staff took out the books, and let them take their pick before sending them off with a snack. It made me really happy when the mother chose a book for herself; it may have been a kids chapter book, but it was a book nonetheless. In a country where much of the adult population came of age in extremely tumultuous times and is consequently illiterate, this was a very hopeful and heartwarming thing to witness.

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