Thousands of volunteers throughout Mexico are collecting food and clothing while the country´s state and federal governments are rushing to assist indigenous Indian villages scattered on the Copper Mountains of Chihuahua Mexico, all victims of a year-long drought.
The food and clothing drives began a week ago as Mexico television networks began broadcasting reports of entire villages going hungry after the year old drought killed most if not all of their crops. The Tarahumara Mountain tribes grow corn, beans and other crops to feed their families but for the last year, Mexico´s northern states such as Chihuahua and southern U.S. states have been hit by the longest drought in the 70 years.
Mexican government officials have been saying that the toughest challenge is reaching some of tribes that are nestled on the mountain sides due to the condition of roads or the lack of. However at least one night last week, a television news anchor told a national audience that he could not understand how their reporters could reach this villages and not government assistance.
Night after night, television reporters have been interviewing members of the Chorohui and Ohvivo tribes as they tell stories of entire families suffering from hunger, not having but one meal a day consisting of mainly bean soup.
Last week a report surfaced that Carichi tribe members had committed suicide due the starvation suffered by the village. A day later the mayor of the village, Ignacio Leonel Varela denied the reports. Varela told the Milenio Newspaper that while there was great need of food for the community the suicide report was entirely false.
The Tarahumara are an indigenous tribe that has lived a simple and close to primitive life style growing corn, beans and raising coral livestock. Their homes are cabins made of stone and logs and some live in the surrounding caves. There are fine craftsmanship producing wool blankets and they are often seen wearing them while being interviewed.
Last week Mexico´s Televisa aired the 1965 Mexican film “Tarahumara,” that depicts the story of a man who is sent to do a study of the mountain tribes and ends up trying to assist the Tarahumara who encounter difficult governmental politics and corruption. The black and white film won several awards.
Following the airing of the movie, Televisa news anchor, Eduardo Salazar told viewers, “ 50 years later, today’s indigenous Tarahumara tribes suffer the same situation.” A sequence of news reports followed, telling of the current lack of food for many of the tribes and the donation drives taking place throughout Mexico.