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Update from the Sierra Tarahumara

June 8th, 2017 under Top Stories
(Photo courtesy of PILAR PEDERSON) Pilar Pederson with Luisito, a student at the school in Bacabureachi, Chihuahua, Mexico.

(Photo courtesy of PILAR PEDERSON)
Pilar Pederson with Luisito, a student at the school in Bacabureachi, Chihuahua, Mexico.

By PILAR PEDERSON

SIERRA TARAHUMRA, Mexico – I write from Bacabureachi, Chihuahua, Mexico, our adopted village in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental. The school there houses between 85 and 100 indigenous students.  Since Amigos de Kórima began supporting them in 2014, we have initiated and contributed towards many improvements, both to the infrastructure and in support of the students in more directly personal terms.  It is not the same place we first discovered.

We were planning a larger work party, involving volunteers from Texas along with parents and students at the school.  Our hope was paint the five dormitories, and build washing stations with roofs to shelter the children from sun and weather.  Due to safety concerns, we decided to postpone the group effort until there is more stability in Mexico.  Still, there were several maintenance issues that could not wait until the fall. Thus it was that I drove down, empowered by the Board to accomplish a few necessary tasks. Sadly, it falls to Amigos to do things like repair broken windows, contract for and deliver bunk beds, and make sure water is flowing to the bathrooms, showers and washing machines.

Doing repairs that last in this environment is a learning process.  When we first arrived in 2014 we replaced 64 broken windows.  Returning to the school six months later, we found a slew of newly broken ones awaiting us.  Now we replace ruined glass with plexi.  But we have also instigated adult support for the children in the form of dorm ‘parents’, who live and sleep with the boys and girls so that that they are not so alone and who slowly, gently, show them how to respect themselves, others, and their surroundings.  The rate of breakage has slowed considerably.

Mexico just celebrated El Día del Niño (Children’s Day), and our school waited until I was present to hold their fiesta.   It was happy and simple, with piñatas, dancing, games, and festive foods: chiharrones, fried pork, and sweets alongside their regular lunch items.

I sometimes tire of the demands that this project brings to my busy life.  But it only takes coming here to reinvigorate me.  Spending this day with the kids I felt my heart swell.  I was filled with awe that we have been able to engage with this place, these adults and young ones.  It amazes me to be in a position of being able to affect positive change in the lives that have been put in our path.  We have accomplished so much with relatively so few dollars.  There is a direct connection between the money you contribute and the results that I see here on the ground.

In addition, we travel a comparatively short distance to enter a world that is vastly different from our own.  Different, but with similarities; children are children everywhere.  Watching them swing a bat to hit a piñata, play musical chairs, and compete in a human wheelbarrow race, I was struck by their unrestrained merriment, their playfulness, and how much we all share.  Yet these kids face incomprehensible odds in becoming self-realized adults and living productive lives.

We are incredibly grateful for your ongoing support of these overlooked and forgotten young ones.  Without you, we would not be seeing progress; they are calmer, seem more content, and are more attentive in and out of class.

We still need your help!  We are hoping to re-group and stage the group trip this coming fall.  Please send your tax-deductible contributions to:  Amigos de Kórima, P.O. Box 342, Alpine, TX 79831.  For more information, visit our website: www.amigosdekorima.org, or call Pilar at 432-294-0877.

Thank you; muchas gracias!

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Story filed under: Education » Top Stories

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