I send each one of you and your families a great hug and my daily prayers.
On July 25, last Saturday, we had the solemn inauguration of the Asentamiento Tarahumar that comprised 67 houses. The one that was inaugurated three years ago had 36 houses, which with this one makes a total of 103, 10% of the total number needed to lodge the thousand tarahumara families that live here in the city. I´m attaching a description of it in the next page, where it becomes evident why everyone was so impressed. The inauguration was programmed for May 2 but because of the influenza everything was canceled. It was too bad that no one of you could be present. Dick Lilly had to cancel his trip because of Laura´s health problems.
We had the presence of the Tarhumara community, of many of the institutions that were involved, the particular donors and many guests. The Tarahumaras made a speech where they expressed their gratitude for getting such decent homes and making them feel dignified.
The houses were not given to the natives but were lent in an agreement in which they have to fulfill certain conditions and the first one would be to have a positive attitude toward community and family life. This of course would include stable work, sending their children to school, on time payment of services, avoid getting drunk or taking drugs, by no means begging in the streets, gentle treatment to their wives and children, etc.
The idea is that all these Asentamientos would be a forward point to be followed by the state and the nation in regard to similar problems. It was not to be just an isolated instance.
This Tarahumara colony or Asentamiento in its dignified aspect is only a first stone in the building of all the other aspects necessary to complete the humanization process. The aspects of health, education, production, etc. are already in process. Three years ago, we hired a social worker, called Felipe Ruiz, that speaks perfectly the Tarahumara language since he lived among the natives as a missionary during thirteen years, and six of them he was alone as a white man in a Tarahumara community. He understands perfectly the mentality so that the processes may go at their step. He gets $1,000.00 USD a month, half time, that is paid by a business man that was my pupil when he was fifteen years old. The asentamiento that was inaugurated three years ago, thanks to Felipe´s presence has been a great success due to their community integration process and to its adaptation to the white society. Right now the males are working mainly in construction projects and the females are making craft - little dolls dressed as Tarahumara-. However, we also have a person dedicated to crafts and economic projects so we eventually can get to be self-sufficient economically.
The reason I relate all the above to you is because this whole project has been a fruit of the generosity of the class. I´m only representing you. I woldn´t have done anything without your help.
I´m convinced that the Lord is most grateful to you since you are giving life and giving it in abundance to his smallest and most deprived children. If you get into great pains to have your own children grow into worthy persons, imagine how interested must the Lord be to get his children into a dignified and happy situation.
I hope, next May, when we meet again in the 55th anniversary of our graduation you would allow me a small space to show a projection prepared by our team so as to give all of you a clearer idea of the whole process.
May He keep on blessing you and all your family for ever.
Oscar A. Raynal S.J.
2220 Bassett Ave.
El Paso, TX 79901-2020
Asentamiento Tarahumar Pictures