Meet Nelson Rodriguez: the guardian of JustWorld’s mobile library. When Nelson drives his van full of books into the communities of Los Pinos, Villa Nueva, and Nueva Suyapa in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, children excitedly race after him. Nelson says his bookmobile is “a striking traveling vehicle equipped with chairs, tables, tents and mainly books, which brings joy to many children who have no access to direct contact with reading due to their living conditions.” However, to someone who has never heard of the mobile library before, he says that we would describe it by comparing it to ice cream: it is something that causes a sensation and excitement in children, but rather than a sweet dessert the thrill is books, and it fulfills children’s craving for the sweet taste of reading.
Nelson got involved with the mobile library through a friend referencing the job opening. He was already volunteering with his family in a ministry as a music teacher, and was excited about the mobile library because it was “a job that connects several of the things he is passion about, mainly the promotion of culture and art.” Once he started the job, he said, he became even more impassioned about the project because of the children he interacted with and the happiness the books brought to the children.
Nelson’s passion for the mobile library continues today. He says his favorite thing about the mobile library is that he can be like a father: telling a story, singing, and having fun with a child. He also enjoys giving children access to books who wouldn’t be able to read them otherwise. In fact, his favorite memories involve giving books to children. He describes a child receiving a book with “a beautiful smile; he hugged the book with all his might as the most precious treasure that he had never before received.” The children’s joy is what make’s Nelson’s mission so enjoyable.
Thinking towards the future, Nelson hopes to expand the program by operating a second mobile library so he travel to more communities without access to books. He also wants to foster the growth of artistic fairs and festivals and to write about his experiences with the mobile library so it can serve as a working model for similar programs. On top of this, Nelson plans to continue the mobile library’s goals of giving children access to books, making reading fun and innovative, and using literature to foster a curiosity of the unknown. Nelson’s efforts are one of the highlights of JustWorld’s involvement in Honduras and it will be exciting to see what he accomplishes going forward.
For more information on the mobile library, check out this documentary!
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