Dario Ramos with his wife, Christina, and 4 of their youngest children, Zenaida (14), Alex (8), Richard (9), and Nayeli (5), at their home in Morado K’asa.
Looking back 5 years ago, it was hard for me to imagine being anywhere but in Bolivia, South America. After the Peace Corps, the love that I had developed for that Andean country, from its high snow-covered peaks to its twisting valleys and roads, from the warm nature of the Bolivian people to the hot bowls of homemade soup, begged me to stay longer and enjoy more. Of course there were times that I yearned to be back home in Asheville, North Carolina, but in the end Bolivia won my heart for 6 wonderful years. Why leave a place where everyday feels like an adventure? And why leave when my older brother had offered me this amazing opportunity to build libraries for children in this country that I love so much?
I would like to say that when BiblioWorks started in Bolivia, I was absolutely the most adept for the job. But it was yet another adventure everyday: learning how to work within the Bolivian government system, developing a librarian training program, and assuring that the shipment of 8000 books from the USA to Bolivia made it across the 21,000 foot Andes okay!
However, the most exciting times I had were when I could get out to these remote communities and work one-on-one with teachers, families, and children. And when I got to meet people like Dario Ramos. Dario is one of a kind: he’s a father to 3 girls and 5 boys who works his fields and animals everyday from sunrise to sundown, cultivating potatoes, beans and corn, and eating only whatever his wife can provide him that day, typically a broth made with potatoes and rice. But the most wonderful thing about Dario is that he wears his heart on his sleeve; he’s always ready to help and even more ready to cut a joke and get a good laugh out of you!
Did I mention that Dario is one of our librarians? He lives in Morado K’asa, the poorest community that BiblioWorks works in. Yes, after he finishes his long day in the fields, he’s still ready to help. He works with those children every night, helping them with their homework and keeping the library open until late. Even more moving, he does all this without pay, as his community has not been able to afford his salary of $40 a month since the library opened in 2005.
Dario is my inspiration.
I have recently taken on the role as President of the BiblioWorks Board of Directors here in Asheville, North Carolina. And sometimes when I get overwhelmed with my return to this full-time American culture and job, I think of Dario. If he’s able to do all that he does in his day, why can’t I also give just a little bit more myself? Not only for Dario, but for all the thousands of children that attend our libraries everyday in Bolivia?
I strongly believe that education and access to knowledge and information is the most powerful tool that you can give to a generation, to a community and to a country. I want these children to know what it’s like to be read a bedtime story, to get lost in the adventures of books. I also want Dario and our 7 other librarians to know that we believe in them as educators, and that we have faith that their children can grow up in a different world.
Please help me this year. We are building our 8th library in Bolivia! This library project has a total cost of $10,000 and we are striving to open it by the end of the year. It will be in the community of Tomina and it will be a resource that will change many futures. No, it may not change the world, but at least it’s one small thing that I can do; something that we can do. Together.
Your donations at work:
A $50 donation will buy educational games for our new library in Tomina.
A $100 donation will buy additional tables and chairs for 1 of our 7 libraries.
A $500 donation will pay Don Dario’s salary for a full year!
A $1500 donation covers almost half of our book budget for our new Tomina library!
For donations of $1500 or more, we will gladly place a plaque in the library of your choice to recognize your gift. If you would like to support Dario by sponsoring his salary at the Morado K’asa library, please let us know so that we can set aside those funds specifically for him. To make a secure online donation, please visit us at www.biblioworks.org and use our PayPal link. Or, if you prefer, please send a check to:
Biblio Charitable Works, Inc.
PO Box 1211
Asheville, NC 28802
President of BiblioWorks