A Stranger in the Park

A Stranger in the Park
Reading books is seen by many students in Guatemala as a difficult task or punishment. This is the story of a young man who, against the wishes of his mother, changed his studies to reading.
Video Duration: 
Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hi, I'm Gabriel. My mother told me that I should go to school so that when I grow up, I could become a doctor, a lawyer, or maybe an engineer.

I really don't understand why anyone would want to be one of those boring characters, I want to be a superhero, although I like school; and in my class there are coloured pencils, crayons and modelling clay. My teacher is very friendly and teaches us songs.

Hello, it's me again. I haven't had fun in class for a long time. I never imagined that studying would bore me so much. The coloured pencils and crayons are gone. There is no more modelling clay. They have changed our fun to silence. Thinking differently from the teacher is forbidden. I think they plan to create a type of robot or sheep that follows the herd, or worse, robotic sheep. Anyway, I think I will have to be a lawyer, which is what my mother wants.

My teacher is called Jorge Luis and I think he has a lot of problems, because he is always in a bad mood. When we disturb him or do something wrong, he makes us read a book and write a ten page summary of it. Nobody is asking me, but I HATE BOOKS. I think that one day they will rebel against humanity and wipe us out. Okay, I think I'm exaggerating. But if books are a bunch of boring pages with no action or anything, they are so boring that even the idea of being a lawyer interests me. I finally finished school. There are no more books, no more homework, no more punishments; and I don't want to be a superhero anymore.

At the moment, I don't know what I want to be. I spend many hours in the park and for the past few days I have observed a stranger who spends hours and hours sitting on a bench. He's behaving very badly, because he always brings a book and a mug of coffee. I am going to ask him who his teacher is. I'm more than intrigued. The stranger is called Robert and DOESN’T HAVE A TEACHER. If I heard correctly, he reads of his own free will, He says that there are thousands of worlds and things to know. That books are a ticket to board a train to unimaginable worlds, from the time of the dinosaurs to futures where cars fly. He recommended me some books and some writers. It is a very long list. By the way, he gave me a book called The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exúpery. He said it is his favourite book.

I never thought reading was so much fun. I've read many books and many authors. I felt like a pirate sailing the seven seas. And also like a time traveller exploring galaxies. I would like to recommend some of my favourite authors: Dan Brown, José Saramago, Stephen Hawkins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, Jane Austen, Stephen King. I hope you can read them and recommend your favourite authors to me. And always remember that reading sets us free. Before I forget, I don't want to be a superhero or a lawyer, anymore, much less an engineer.

I now want to be a writer. This English translation has been possible thanks to Michael McLaughlin, an independent translator from Brazil.


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