Chattanooga-made prosthetic helps Colombian man deliver books to children by donkey
Teaching is a hard job even with the best resources. But imagine traveling almost 50 miles to reach your students, either on foot or the back of a donkey.
Luis Soriano is a teacher in a place where education is hard to come by. He lives in Colombia, and everyday he packs his mobile library, or Biblioburro, on the backs of his donkeys. He rides for hours a day roughing the roads to reach children who live at least 40 minutes from any school. His journey even inspired a children's book.
This week, Luis is in Chattanooga telling his story to students who are learning English as a second language at the Howard School. "He has a passion for literacy and education especially for the people in his community and his country that weren't getting opportunities because they weren't informed and weren't educated ," says ESL teacher Ellen Smith.
But motivating these students is not the reason for this trip. Seven years ago, one of Luis's donkeys got spooked, threw him off and stepped on his leg. An infection lead to a partial amputation below his left knee.
The Jordan Thomas foundation heard Luis's story and brought him here to donate a new prosthetic, a better fit for the terrain of Colombia.
It's being specially made in Chattanooga at Fillauer and fitted by Jim Rogers from Pinnacle Orthotics and Prosthetics. "It's really amazing that he walks on this leg and does so well, he's pretty remarkable," Rogers says.
Three days after the fitting, Luis is walking again on the first draft of a new leg. Giving the man who travels so far even more mobility, and ability to reach the little readers that need him the most. "I feel so happy," Luis says, "I have no way of telling them with just words."