The New Beginnings Project

Ku cho’tabo: in the Tarahumara language, that means “new beginnings.” Alejandro and Lupita (names changed for privacy) were desperate for a new beginning. Deep in Mexico’s Copper Canyon, their premature son had been born on the dirt floor of their home with a cleft lip and palate.

Their family lived two hours walking distance from the nearest road in a small adobe block dwelling. They had no access to running water and their broken solar panel only provided about an hour of electricity per day. Their neighbors believed that the baby’s deformity was a sign that the family was cursed. Lupita and Alejandro became fearful after hearing about other babies like their son who had struggled to nurse and starved to death.

Traditional Tarahumara homes made from adobe block and sticks. Bottom right: This photo from the early 1900’s reveals a nearly identical Tarahumara home and clothing style compared to the modern day.

Alejandro worked as a daily laborer, but construction jobs were few and far between. Lupita tried to supplement their income by weaving baskets to sell. As hard as they worked, it still wasn’t enough to come close to paying for their son’s surgery in the capital city.

Hanging onto a thread of hope, Alejandro and Lupita brought their baby to Hospital Misión Tarahumara. When I (Jessee) examined him, he weighed just 4 pounds and was extremely hungry. Due to the defect in his palate, he lacked the ability to generate suction and was unable to nurse or feed from a conventional bottle. Our staff taught Lupita how to feed her baby with a specialized cleft palate bottle, and he excitedly consumed his first full meal since birth.

Happy mom and happy baby!

Alejandro and Lupita were relieved to learn that their son would receive free medical care and reconstructive surgery at Hospital Misión Tarahumara. They beamed upon hearing that he would have the opportunity to lead a normal life and attend school without having to hide in shame. Over the next few months, our dedicated staff will help their baby gain weight in preparation for his upcoming surgery.

Willy operating with our hospital medical director Dr. Acuña.

Several months ago, Willy and I began dreaming of starting a project called “New Beginnings.” We saw the need to equip families like Lupita’s for a healthy start- right from day one. The program provides mothers of new babies with greatly needed supplies (blankets, clothing, and hygiene articles) as well as an MP3 player with the Gospel message recorded in the Tarahumara language. During their hospital stay, parents also receive education on topics including treatment of diarrhea, water purification and nutrition. In a region where malnutrition and infectious diseases kill up to 50% of children by age 5, prevention and health education is vital.

Top: Volunteers gather to assemble packs for the New Beginnings Project.
Bottom left: One item requested by Tarahumara women is a “reboso,” or brightly colored woven wrap used for carrying babies. Bottom right: A young girl carries her sister in a reboso.
An MP3 player with portions of the Bible in Tarahumara (solar panels are available for families without electricity.)
Cecy our Tarahumara educator shares about childhood accident prevention while Lupita sews a traditional dress.

The New Beginnings Project is dedicated to Dr. Pedro Ramirez, our colleague at Hospital Misión Tarahumara who recently passed away from COVID-19. Over his 20 years of service, Dr. Pedro advocated for women and children so that they might receive quality medical care and experience the love of God.

We thank God for Dr. Pedro’s legacy of service to others. Though we continue to grieve our earthly loss, we can’t imagine his joy at hearing the words, “Well done My good and faithful servant.”

Thanks to those of you who partner with our ministry, Alejandro and Lupita’s son is receiving a new beginning and a second chance at life. Word spreads quickly in the canyon, and since launching the program we’ve seen an uptick in the number of deliveries. This is wonderful news as it means improved medical care for pregnant women and a practical means of sharing the love of Christ. If you’d like to get involved, you can donate to our CHSC missions account by visiting https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=E9tTC7, then comment below or email us at willyandjessee@gmail.com to let us know you gave. We purchase supplies in Mexico and will direct your donation toward the New Beginnings Project. Thank you!

Mateteraba! Thank you for your prayers and support!

The Bustinzas

Willy, Jessee, Lucy, and Caroline

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