I did two little things.
I decided to come to the Yucatan. I bought a ticket, packed my bags, got on a plane, and arrived here. Simple. Every day I think about how incredibly blessed I am to have the time and means to come here.
I delivered books to Chicxulub Pueblo. Again, simple. And very easy because of the infrastructure Proyecto Itzaes has set up over the past 15 years. Wonderful people and a dedicated leadership system has keep the Chicxulub Pueblo Proyecto Itzaes library thriving.
The welcoming entrance to the library in Chicxulub Pueblo
Books change lives. I know it sounds cliche, and if you know me personally, you've probably heard it at least a dozen times from my mouth directly. I am a product of books (and public libraries). The world I enter every time I read a book is a world of discovery and learning. But it's also a world I create, pictured in my head the way I see it. It's not one director's interpretation, picking the characters he sees and showing them to me. When I read a book, it belongs to me. And I couldn't be happier. I have something of my own.
I didn't just grow up in a typical household with books, school, and sports teams. I grew up with a mother whose consistent involvement in two specific activities spanned my entire life. The first is volunteer. From CASA to big sister, my mom is the essence of volunteerism. And from whom (I hope) I developed my lifelong commitment to service.
The second is my mother (and my father) are readers. And they took me to the library. Every single day. I am not just a typical occasional reader; I'm a reader. I've even been called a book snob (but only by my older brother). I'd rather be a book snob than have specific opinions on any other topic.
A lifetime of books has been the greatest gift. And as such, I choose to pay it forward. I give books to my niece and nephew, to my friends, and even to complete strangers. Books need to be off the shelves and out into the world.
Because when I give a book, I get to give a journey. It's a conduit to a different world; often times, a completely new world. And thus I go, to the other side of the world (almost), giving out books. In return, I am welcomed by hungry little minds. I'm continually astonished by what one book (or 10 or 50 books) can do. I opened one book in the Proyecto Itzaes library, and before I knew it, four little bodies morphed into giant minds. A two year old yelled out every animal on the page, and then proceeded to turn every single page for me.
Budding readers in the making.
Every day, a new reader is born. It is my job to provide each reader with books. And I plan to keep doing my part.
For more information about Proyecto Itzaes and the amazing work they do in the Yucatan, check out http://wp.proyectoitzaesusa.org/