BUENOS AIRES – A Spanish family is setting off on the trip of their lives in Argentina. They’re the ideologues of Meraki, the project with which they dream of touring Latin America in a library-school on wheels, which will allow them to string together a network of schools in far-flung rural areas tor exchanging educational methods.
Angel Arana and Aurora Asensio together with their three children – Daniel, 12, Miguel, 10, and Valentina, 4 – are the stars of this adventure with no established finishing date, and which brought them from their native Seville to the Argentine capital last July 11.
In an old Buenos Aires bus, a Mercedes Benz 11.14 reinvented as a library-school and their rolling home with a 100-percent ecological design, these five travelers are off on a “magical” experience.
Their goal is to discover the educational modes in the most remote areas of the South American continent and “spread the word about them” so they “serve as an inspiration to other teachers” around the world, Arana told EFE.
“We want to promote the brotherhood of teachers near and far,” said this “born entrepreneur” who hopes his project will become a kind of bridge for educators in very different places “so they can do something together.”
Mom and dad are teachers, public servants by career, motivated to make sure their students learn happily, playfully and full of curiosity, a method they hope their kids will soak up on this trip.
They are determined to carry out this project “with love and creativity, putting our soul in it,” as the Greek word Meraki signifies.
Their three children are other key pieces of the puzzle for which Arana and Asensio did not hesitate to sell their car, rent out their home and ask for a leave of absence.
“For me, it’s a great chance to do something unforgettable in countries with really different cultures and customs,” big brother Daniel said.
With his gift for drawing, the 12-year-old will be in charge of “illustrating” every moment of this experience, with which the family hopes to leave its mark on the communities they pass through.
Buenos Aires is their starting point, and after fixing up certain details of their picturesque vehicle, they will drive down the Atlantic coast to Patagonia, head inland to freezing Ushuaia, then string together routes through Chile and Argentina that will bring them to hard-to-reach rural areas.
They wish “to share with much pedagogy” everything original they find there, but also show ““with humility” all they have to teach with the 500 illustrated books they have in their library-school.
“When you get a book in your hands, it can change your life,” said Asensio, who thinks that being able to take “this illustrated art” to these far-off places is nothing short of “magical.”