Once again Im delighted to offer you a brief update on the Tarahumara Girls School at Sisoguichic, Chihuahua.
In 1994, my husband Paul Kase and I spent Christmas at the Copper Canyon Sierra Lodge, where we met Carl Franz. We were interested in helping with the education of the Tarahumara children and contributed to the Godparents Fund which Carl had established to help with the education of the sisters of Juanita, a waitress at the lodge. The project has now expanded to include several others Tarahumara girls from the Cusarare area.
Paul and I visited the school last December. It was my fourth visit to the school, and I continue to be enthusiastic. As a teacher, I am very impressed by the facility, as well as the variety of activities involved in the classroom instruction. Along with basic education, the girls are taught personal hygiene and nutrition.
The girls to whom I spoke (some of whom I had met previously at Cusarare) were very happy and seemed committed to this opportunity that the school provides. The nuns who run the boarding facility and school do a great deal with very little in the way of financial assistance. They are very grateful for any support. Sister Teodora impressed us as being a very organized and able administrator, as well as a lovely person. She speaks and writes some English, and has been extremely conscientious about responding to any donations and correspondence.
The Copper Canyon is increasingly being impacted by tourism. In the five years that we have been going to the area, we have been astonished by the rapid growth of tourist facilities and the sheer volume of visitors. The Tarahumara people are, for the most part, illiterate, unskilled, malnourished and struggling at the very bottom of the socio-economic ladder. Education will provide them with the practical tools to protect themselves, legally and economically, from the inroads of the Chavochis (non-indians). On a more immediate level, education for these young women provides them with an opportunity to improve, on a very basic level, their health and well-being, and that of their families.
The young girls who live around Cusarare and who attend the school are determined to help create a better life for their families. And yes, we plan to continue to help them! We strongly believe that it is through education that these bright young Tarahumara women will be able to protect their culture, and live happy and healthier lives.
The cost to attend Sisoguichic is $25 per month (US$) or $250 per year. (The school year is 10 months. The girls return home for Christmas and Easter, as well as for the two summer months.) Due to the small staff and the large number of girls, it is very difficult to maintain communications between specific sponsors and students. It is far better for the school if the donation is for the girls in general. In that way, the money can be applied where it is most needed.
Mexican banks charge a fee for cashing US checks, so it is best to give as large a single donation as possible. (Of course, this is only a suggestion -- the school is more than happy to accept all donations.)
Personal checks, cashiers checks and money orders can be made out to: INTERNADO DE NINAS INDIGENAS,
And sent to:
INTERNADO DE NINAS INDIGENAS
ATTENTION: HERMANA TEODORA FIERRO
APDO POSTAL N. 60
Paul and I are returning to the Copper Canyon in November. If people would like, they can make their checks out to the Internado and send them to us. We will be happy to deliver them to Sister Teodora and get receipts. They should be mailed to arrive here no later than November 18, 1998.
MAUREEN MARSHALL & PAUL KASE
PO BOX 6305
MORAGA, CA 94570
Cheers for now!