Fernando, sixteen years old, met us when we crossed the river between Gorongosa and Vinho, the village where he lives. He dreams of becoming a guide in Gorongosa Park when he is older. His eagerness to learn shines from his eyes and is evident in his diligent studying of English which he speaks well. He travels weekly to attend eighth grade in the town of Gorongosa, returning home to Vinho on the weekends to help his family and serve as a liaison with Gorongosa.
Loading the box of books on the back of his bike, Fernando accompanied us to the Vinho school where we presented the Books for Africa Friends of Reading Network and mobile lending library. He was so proud of becoming one of the first “Friends of Reading” in Vinho (see him in the photo with his book bag of ten books). Since we left Gorongosa five days ago, he has used a friend's phone to call me daily to let me know which books he has finished. It is individuals like this, who despite their difficult life circumstances, jump at opportunities presented to them—and getting books to their remote villages is one way of helping present those opportunities!