An IRS 501(c)(3) Charitable Corporation
Dear Friends and Donors,
Thanks to your generous contributions, the Tewecado Mission School had a joyous holiday season. Every student at the school received Christmas presents...all the Tarahumara girls also received new, warm parkas, and the only thing brighter than the new lights on the Christmas trees were the smiling faces of 75 little girls!
We received a $7,500 grant from a private foundation in Tucson to purchase junior beds and mattresses for the new dormitory. Funds were also provided in the grant for books and learning materials for the new library. This, combined with funds received earlier for the library, should cover all initial expenses. The facility is almost ready...board member Tom Giannini and his wife Sandy are busy helping us gather and order appropriate books...and everything should be set to go for the start of the next school year.
During our January visit the Sisters were lamenting how their old TV finally broke down. It was used primarily for playing instructional videos (although I'm sure there were some fun ones for the girls as well). Two weeks later when we visited the school we brought a brand new 20" TV for them. I wish you could have heard the squeals of delight when the box was opened! And it didn't take long for them to cart it off to one of the rooms. I'm sure they wanted it put away before we changed our minds!!
Ann had an opportunity to spend two weeks at the school during November, a visit she has described as "life-changing." I'll let her tell it: "It was literally a trip back in time. We often think of the past with nostalgia, but this trip provided a dose of reality. There are two phone lines at the "caseta" in Cerocahui, so every phone call the Sisters make requires a minimum of 45 minutes - that's if the lines aren't down! Shopping for anything is a major effort, and more so when it entails restocking the pantry and closets for 75 little girls. Chihuahua City, where the provincial motherhouse is located, offers the most selection and logistical support for buying trips, but getting there is a full-day affair. Nothing can be done easily or quickly.
"This experience also gave me a new understanding of the word 'remote.' I knew the girls lived in remote areas. I didn't, however, know what that meant: all of the children walk to the school, some for days, sometimes staying overnight in the woods by themselves. These girls are amazing. On the one hand they exhibit a maturity unheard of in American children; on the other, a refreshing naivet‚ that allows them to delight in the simplest of activities, from running games to comparing skin colors with an American guest!"
Several of the girls have begun writing to pen pals in the U.S. We haul the letters back and forth, mailing them after Ann has done the translation. Delivery of the letters to the girls is a big event at the school and they all join in the excitement. Then it's a few hours spent composing their replies so we can take them with us the next day.
Quality education has been much on the minds of Mother Superior Lourdes and Sister Catalina lately. Four of the eight teachers have expressed interest in obtaining certification. The nearest program is located in Creel, and the teachers can attend tuition free. But the weekend trips entail train travel, food and hotel, which are tough on the budget of poorly paid parochial school teachers. We've proposed a reimbursement program to help them out. The Sisters estimate $1,000 per teacher would cover the expenses for the two-year program. Adriana, Lluvia, María de los Angeles and Hilda would greatly appreciate your support. Please let us know if you can sponsor one of these motivated educators.
When's the last time you cooked dinner for 75 hungry little girls...on a wood stove?!? Yup! That's what they have in their kitchen. So our next project - over-and-above all the others we have going - is to raise funds for a new commercial size gas range. Of course this also means acquiring and installing a very large propane storage tank.
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