An IRS 501(c)(3) Charitable Corporation
Dear Friends and Supporters,
The last several months have been busy ones at the Tewecado Mission School in Cerocahui. It is truly gratifying to be connected to an organization whose results are reflected in the healthy, smiling faces - not to mention the giggles - of its 70 Tarahumara charges!
Christmas always brings a list of wishes and last year, a friend of the Sisters who lives in California sponsored a toy drive so the girls could each have a present to open. A truckload was gathered and gotten to El Paso, but due to difficulties at the border, there it remained. It wasn't until January that Mother Superior Gloria and Sister Catalina were able to personally persuade the customs officials to release the load and allow them to take it to Cerocahui. Their elation quickly turned to despair, as most of the boxes contained second-hand clothing along with a few used toys.
A group of us learned of the Sisters' plight in January during a visit to Tucson. They were here to meet with donors and friends of the school - and sneak in a little much-needed R&R. (Imagine how much energy would be needed to care for 70 little girls on a day-to-day basis!) The story points up the difficulties of "gifts-in-kind ".
Though always well-intentioned and appreciated, such gifts may not be what the Sisters need or expect and, in many instances, are slapped with import duties that exceed the value of the donation! For next Christmas the Tewecado Board of Directors promised the Sisters the Tewecado Trust would raise funds to purchase gifts in Mexico. If you would like to be part of this effort, let us know.
In February we visited Cerocahui twice and took advantage to review the school's plumbing project. We've submitted a request for a grant (our first!) to fund an upgrade of the water delivery and plumbing systems. The water line is old and dilapidated, and in numerous places water is being siphoned off by greedy residents. In a town as small as Cerocahui, it's common knowledge who is stealing the water from the children, but there is little legal recourse. A new system would be more secure and hygienic as well as greatly improve the water pressure...which, of course, necessitates replacing the old interior plumbing. We should know this summer if we are awarded the grant. Keep your fingers crossed for us.
No letter would be complete without an update on the school's most precious commodity - the adorable little girls that make this all worthwhile. During our last trip Pat, the paramedic who accompanied our group, proceeded to systematically enamor each and every one. First, during a quick visit to the school, he captured the girls' attention by simply playing with his hat. The uproar was so great several of us couldn't continue a meeting for the noise. The girls were in stitches!
The next day he charmed the girls and mesmerized our passengers with his antics in front of the whole group. The best part, judging by the girls' reactions, was when he blew a surgical glove up like a balloon and tried to make it pop! What a hoot! By the way, the love was mutual, and Pat is already making plans to return to Cerocahui and get more involved with the girls.
And for those of you who have been following the progress of the Sisters' youngest charge, four-year-old Yasenia is thriving. But she has a stubborn streak, as Sister Catalina learned recently. She didn't like the new shoes Sister had picked out for her and went into (we're not making this up) a two-day snit!
We just completed our first full fiscal year as The Tewecado Trust and what a gratifying one it has been. We have started to build a base from which to provide the school with on-going operational support as well as funds for capital improvements. But we have so much more to do - and for that we need your support.
Your tax-deductible donation - $25, $50 or more - will help us continue our work on behalf of the Tarahumara girls who live, study and grow at the Tewecado Mission School.
But above all, thank you for your continued interest and support.
James L. Moline