Tarahumara Drought Update, III

I’ve never met Mickey Mahaffey, but Will Harlan vouches for him and that goes a very long way. Mickey and Will just helped coordinate a full-on Tarahumara rarajipari, or flick-ball race, down in the canyon-bottom town of Urique. The result: four tons of food were distributed not as charity, but as prizes for ultrarunning excellence. The message: there are people who appreciate what the Tarahumara know, and want to help keep that wisdom alive.

Check out Mickey’s story. And if you’d like to join me and help out, Will Harlan will deliver every cent you donate directly to the Tarahumara. Unlike some ribbon-y and bracelet-y operations, Will doesn’t use any of the money for “outreach” or “education.” He gives it all, 100%, to the people who need it most.

Dear Tarahumara friends and supporters,

On Sunday, January 29, over 300 Tarahumara gathered in the Copper Canyons for the second annual Urique Rarajipari and Ariweta. Thanks to your generous contributions, we sent them home with over four tons of food and provided them with transportation to their various homes around the canyons. Fifty men and women participated as runners. The teams from Batopilas took the win and were awarded bags of food and cash prizes. Many attended the event because of extreme hunger due to the prolonged drought in many parts of the canyons.

The woman who finished first for the second place women’s team walked about six hours from her home in the hopes of winning food for her family. She has eight kids and lives under a tree without any semblance of a home. Her husband was killed by drug traffickers. She was so timid she didn’t even come forward to accept her prizes of food and cash. We arranged extra food for her and provided a ride for her family back down river.

As successful and rewarding as our efforts were, the drought continues and hunger will remain a problem at least until the next harvest in October. As a result, we have decided to keep the contribution lines open so that we can continue to be helpful to our friends in their time of need—not only with continued supplies of food but also seeds, tools, water storage, and other long-term assistance. We are currently installing a water pump and water storage tanks for Arnulfo Quimare and the people in his village of Quisuchi.

Thank you immensely for all of your generous donations. Also, look for a short story about the rarajipari/ariweta and the drought in the next issue of Sports Illustrated, due out this Thursday.

Thanks again, from the bottom of my heart, at the bottom of the Urique Canyon.


Mickey Mahaffey
Director of the Urique Rarajipari and Ariweta
Copper Canyon Resident
Barefoot Farm Board Member


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