It's fair to say that donkeys haven't exactly earned a reputation for their intelligence or eagerness to learn -- but thanks to a helpful fleet of them serving as school-transports in Mexico, their fertile-minded passengers very well might.
For many kids in rural parts of Manuel Doblado, a town in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, just arriving to class was once the most challenging part of their day, leaving little energy left for learning. Since students from the region's remotest corners often face long treks along steep trails and dangerous passes, some days conditions made going to school too hazardous to attempt.
But where no schoolbus will venture, some animals are right at home.
So, with that in mind, local administrators conceived of a sustainable solution: donkeys-as-buses. Backed with the support of the community, the school district recently enlisted a fleet of 26 donkeys to help make getting an education that much easier for the furthest-traveling schoolchildren.
For 9-year-old Mariana, a student at the elementary school in Manuel Doblado, her new donkey chauffeur has made daily life more about learning and less about braving the exhausting commute.
"With the donkey, things are only going well," she tells Milenio. "I used to only go to school when there was no rain. I prefer taking the donkey because it needs no gas or anything, and it never breaks down. Also, I get less tired."
In fact, thanks to their new sustainable transportation system, students in the ruralist areas have been able to reduce the time it takes to get to school by half, freeing their time and minds for more important things -- like learning. And there's certainly nothing assinine about that.