Primary education is rare in their communities and most live in scattered & remote mountainous villages inaccessible by vehicles. Originally farmers, the men of the Tarahumara now commonly leave home and seek employment in the neighboring cities hoping to make a better living for their families. In their efforts, fathers and brothers are gone for months at a time lending to communities filled with “de facto” single mothers and children. Marriage at 13-15 years old for girls is the norm, so the families and mothers are in fact only children raising children on their own.
The Mexican government has offered free schooling for the native children as well as free room and board for the students. Schools are sparsely scattered throughout the vast mountainside so most of the students walk home only one day a week to visit with their parents, a grueling trek of often 3-6 hours—barefoot. Despite the circumstances, the students are a cheerful and bright combination of the Tarahumaran resilience, as it’s a sacrifice for them to go because otherwise they would be at home sewing, tilling the land, or making nationally renowned handicrafts to supplement the families’ income. Despite having grown up under harsh conditions, they retain a refreshing optimism. In each of the institutions we distributed to, the children received their own pile of goodies to take home (blanket, school supplies, books), as well as a gift box stuffed with useful items and toys. Watching them open the gifts was always fun; jump ropes and yo-yos were among the favored items of “never seen before # 1 hits”, second were toothbrushes – true novelties. School supplies are luxurious so the Christian storybooks they each received were treasured.
In light of that, Proyecto Rescate has committed to undertake the organization and dissemination of an annual Humanitarian Aid project in an effort to relieve some of the physical and emotional suffering these unique people experience.
Following are highlights of one such visit:
“On May 23, a team of 27 volunteers from Northern Mexico embarked on a five day Project in The Sierra Tarahumara, in the state of Chihuahua. This is our 4th consecutive annual project of this kind.”
"We brought humanitarian aid and supplies to 250 families in the following 8 communities: San Rafael, Divisadero, Mogotavo, Creel, Nacararei, Mesa de Sombrero, San Alonso, Urique, and Cusarare.”
"Also in the following 7 Shelters & schools for Tarahumara children: Casa del Estudiante Indigena, Creel; Prescolar “Ignacio Manuel Altamirano”, Cusarare; “Centro de Integración Social” de San Rafael; Jardin de Ninos “Franicsco Montes de Oca”; Escuela Primaria Bilingüe “Alfonso Aivarez”
"We also distributed $15,000 worth of medicine to a clinic for the Tarahumara in Cusarare.”
"In all we distributed: 1000 blankets, 2000 lbs of Rice, 400 lbs of beans, 500 lbs of Fruits and Veggies, 2000 lbs of Clothes and Shoes, 1000 gift boxes of toys, 500 Educational books, 5 boxes of medicine worth over $15,000 USD, and 500 tracts.”
"We had campaigned in Monterrey, Mexico for 4 months prior and collected much in donations both from concerned individuals and companies alike. Charitable donations from our community included the transportation/shipping in an 18-wheeler semi truck of the also donated humanitarian aid (see above for more details); travel expenses and accommodations for the 27 volunteers; gasoline; translations, printing and publishing of Christian literature and much more.”
"We began our trip in Chihuahua, meeting with the director of the “Association Tarahumara” where they enthusiastically offered us their services for this undertaking. Their help was essential as they supplied us with further transportation, (shipping the humanitarian aid from the city center on up to the mountain base) and throughout the duration of the 4-day project were our translators, guides and chauffeurs.”
"In each of the institutions and schools we distributed to the children their own pile of supplies to take home, as well as a gift box stuffed with useful items and toys. Watching them open the gifts was always fun; jump ropes and yo-yos were among the favored items of “never seen before #1 hits”, second were toothbrushes – true novelties. School supplies are luxurious so the storybooks they each received were treasured.”
"Along with giving them warm blankets, food, clothing and physical aid, we also prayed with them for any requests they had from their personal families or needs.”
"As the truck wound back down the thin mountain trials, and got stuck in a storm, as well as lost for 3 hours in the forest that night, I just smiled and reminded myself of the analogy Jesus used of searching out for the one lost sheep in the storms until rescued and it made the long trip and 4 months of hectic ground work worth the effort.”