Here in Mexico’s Copper Canyon, the amount of physical suffering we witness as physicians can be truly heartbreaking. I often ask myself how is it possible that children my daughter Lucy’s age endure so much hardship in their short lives. The sweet Tarahumara girl pictured below was admitted to our hospital last week with severe malnutrition. She is 2 years old and weighed just 13 pounds. Out in the Canyon, all she had to eat was watered-down cornmeal. Her thin body was swallowed up in an infant hospital gown and the majority of her hair had fallen out. Though these children are improving at our mission hospital, a real challenge is continuing to support them when they return to their rural villages.
Tarahumara families in the Copper Canyon live in small communities that may be several days walking distance from a hospital. They face food scarcity, lack of clean water and electricity, and freezing temperatures in the winter. Up to 50% of children may die in the first few years of life due to malnutrition and preventable diseases. Parents routinely delay naming their children in the first year for fear of losing them.
To help meet the needs of these Tarahumara children and their families, we’ve designed a special backpack called the “Ku’wira Kit”, or “The Helping Kit” in the Tarahumara language. The Ku’wira Kit contains 5 kilograms of beans, 5 kilograms of fortified calorie-rich cornmeal (which has been proven to combat malnutrition in our area), hygiene articles, utensils, age-appropriate toys, and an MP3 player with recorded Biblical songs and scriptures in Tarahumara. We’re especially excited about the MP3 player as many Tarahumara are illiterate and have not heard the Gospel message in their own language. A portion of the cost of each backpack will go to hire a local Tarahumara nutrition assistant who will be sharing Bible stories in the hospital and provide health and hygiene talks to our patients prior to discharge.
The cost of each backpack is $35. Our goal (phase 2) is to follow-up with these children in their communities to provide routine medical screening and nutritional support.
Here’s how you can get involved:
Step 1: Comment below on this post to let us how many backpack(s) you’d like to sponsor. If you prefer to contact us privately, you can email us at email@example.com. Then, follow the link below to give online through our missions account at Samaritan’s Purse (you won’t be able to specify the Backpack Project, hence the importance of letting us know as well.) Just scroll down to the box that says “support a missionary doctor” and type in “Bustinza.”
100% of your donation will go directly toward the backpack project in Mexico, and you will receive an emailed receipt for tax deduction purposes.
Thank you for your support, and for being Jesus’s hands and feet to these children in Mexico!
The Bustinza Family (Willy, Jessee, and Lucy)
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Matthew 25: 35-36, 40