An IRS 501(c)(3) Charitable Corporation
They didn't expect her to make it. Wendy (her real name) arrived at the Tewecado Mission School on the verge of starvation, her arms like sticks and her little tummy distended "like the pictures from Biafra," says Sister Catalina, who couldn't look at her without crying. She was begging for food in the nearby town of Bahuichivo when a good Samaritan brought her to the Sisters. Her malnutrition was so ad-vanced that it was difficult for her to eat. With infinite patience, Mother Superior Isabel took her under her wing, feeding her teaspoons of soup and oatmeal until she could finally eat normally and on her own.
"The Sisters saved her life," declares Dr. Neil Arbegast, long time Tewecado volunteer and friend. Dr. Arbegast had seen Wendy shortly after her arrival during one of his work trips to the school. Privately he deemed her case as hopeless. Two and a half years later, however, she is a happy and healthy little girl who, although not an orphan, has found her home and family at the school. The only residual effect of her ordeal seems to be a noticeable difficulty in learning, not surprising giving the extent of malnutrition. "She is transformed," says Sister Catalina.
Three years ago during the last Tewecado donor trip we decided to launch a campaign to raise funds to repair the badly deteriorated roof over the school and dormitory areas. During this year's visit we were able to assess firsthand the progress that has been made: a shiny new - top quality - roof over the girls' and the Sisters' living quarters, the chapel and one fourth of the classroom area. In 2007 we estimated that the whole project would cost approximately $60,000. To date, we have spent $47,825 and have $8000 in our coffers to put toward the last sections. Estimated cost of completion is $28,000, so we still need to raise $20,000 to make this dream come true. As you can calculate, our original estimate was off by about $15,000, primarily because the cost of materials in Mexico has risen over three years.
A generous donor has offered a challenge to complete the roof: he will match your gift desig-nated to the roof fund, up to a total of $5,000. Double your donation and do good! Be sure and mark your check "Roof Challenge."
Eleven donors and friends traveled to the Tewecado Mission School to lend a hand (and get their "little girl fixes") in early November. A train derailment delayed the group in El Fuerte an extra night, but that didn't deter these intrepid travelers. They managed to pack everything planned for three days into two. This year's main work project was to gut the Sisters' sleeping quarters so a local volunteer can rebuild the area. The rooms were built of plywood and fiber-board, dating back to the 1940s, and plumbing was purely vintage. Now it's a clean slate for Don Ramon to refashion.
For fun, former kindergarten teacher Charlie Wippermann brought a jump rope - type game in which a person in the center twirls a rope on the ground with a ball on the end while 20 or so kids jump over as it comes around. The Tarahumara girls took to it instantly, and we have since learned they have continued playing, even when they don't have the "proper" equipment. ... In a pinch they use their leather laces and huaraches (sandals)!
Volunteers also found time to engage in a few craft activities with the girls, including making pom-pom caterpillars and sparkly hair clips, as well as painting their nails and reading aloud.
Robin Walsh, RN, spent her days assisting Dr. Neil Arbegast as he checked the status of the children's health. In addition to check-ups, Robin tracked the visits and acted as translator.
The volunteers: (l to r) Bill Terry, Jim Moline, Susanna Or-zech, Susy Stilwell, Charlie Wippermann, Robin Walsh, Dr. Neil Arbegast, Marj Wipper-mann, Paul Orzech, Ann Brehm-Moline and Jan Terry.
Total concentration: that's what Yolanda exhibited as she helped paint hopscotch squares on the dormitory patio area.
Lucina Rodríguez Pérez, shown in her pre-school classroom, is studying for her teacher certification, thanks to a scholarship from the Tewecado Trust. It costs about $700 per semester per student to cover tuition, housing, food and transportation. Please consider sponsoring her or her fellow teacher, Raquel Martínez Pérez.
Jan Terry enjoys doing the nails of her new-found Tarahumara friend.
Marj Wippermann brought Jacks to teach the girls. They caught on quickly - and Sister Adriana knew the game and could explain it in Spanish.
What kid doesn't like to play with a Frisbee??
Peggy Hershberger Laurence K. Attari Helmut A. Schneider Mary Beth
George & Nina Masek Marie DeTitta
In these trying economic times, we ask you to remember those less fortunate among us. Instead of a gift this holiday, why not honor those you love with a donation to the Tewecado Trust? We will send a card informing them of your thoughtfulness.
The Sisters and 83 little Tarahumara girls thank you for your continuing support and send their wishes for a happy holiday season.