Reading + Imagination = Impact

David Feurerbach was a Natik intern during the summer of 2016, between his junior and senior year at Denver University, in the International Studies Department.  His job was to document all our projects in Guatemala and Chiapas through photographs and videos. Somewhere along the way, he fell in love with all of Natik’s programs…

During my time with the Mobile Library, I had the opportunity to see the impact that reading promotes with the children. It is obvious the moment you enter one of the classes with Isaiah and Jessica. The children shout “Good morning teacher!”, and run to the front of the room to greet them with hugs and smiles.

For children in schools in the rural communities surrounding Santiago Atitlán, the Mobile Library provides a learning environment that is participatory, original, and fun! Additionally, the Mobile Library provides children with the opportunity to read, an opportunity some of the children do not have at home. Through the Mobile Library, these children are discovering the importance of reading, learning through imagination and discernment, and are developing their ability to comprehend new information in creative ways that go beyond the usual “memorize and repeat” methods practiced in government schools.

The part of the Mobile Library that impressed me most was when I realized that they worked not only with the children in the schools of the communities, but with many different groups. A group with whom he works is: ADISA, which is a school for children and youth with disabilities. In addition to that they also visit several schools to work with young people.

With the Mobile Library, young people read a book and each week when Isaiah and Jessica come, they have the opportunity to discuss the part of the book they have read, engage in interactive activities, and discuss the lessons of the book. During my time with the Mobile Library, one of the groups was reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. When the students had finished the book, Isaiah and Jessica brought the film to school. We spent the morning watching the movie with the students in their classroom.

Another group of young people were reading The Island of the Blue Dolphins. This group goes to school at night because they have to work during the day. It was amazing to work with the young people in this group, who although they have to work all day, still come to school at night with an open mind and an enthusiastic desire to learn.