The summer is almost over and we are still getting rain, more so this year than last. We can actually see green vegetation again throughout the Sierra. Approximately 70 indigenous communities participated in the food distribution program for corn, so it was easier on them while they were waiting for this year’s crop to be ready, especially in the areas of the Sierra where there has been less rain.
But, with all the help we’ve given, malnutrition is still a serious problem. Children are coming to our clinic diagnosed with kwashiorkor and maramatic (protein-energy malnutrition), yet clearly not as severe as in previous years. Just recently we had three brothers suffering from this and are now being attended to in our nutrition ward. To add to the problems of malnutrition, we are still battling tuberculosis, which is one of the gravest illnesses we are experiencing in the Tarahumara. If the reality of the lack of clean water and hygiene is not corrected, tuberculosis will continue to attack entire families.
But we continue to do our best by providing quality medical attention for our patients. We offer classes now for those who work with us so they will more proficient in the Rarámuri language, and therefore better able to communicate with our patients and their families, which is so important when trying to provide a correct diagnosis. We are also training our Rarámuri helpers in basic nursing skills, so that they are not only more prepared to serve our patients, but also strengthen their own people with a sense of greater dignity.
Fr. Guillermo Estrada, SJ