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Norawas Support Campaign 2014

It has been a busy year at Norawas de Raramuri. Since the 2013 Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco, where we provided literal tons of food to be awarded to Raramuri runners, we have been hard at work preparing the upcoming race, supporting local running events and initiating very inspiring projects for the communities of the Copper Canyons.

Thanks to your generous contributions, we were able to provide in excess of $25,000 directly in the hands of our friends who need it. Norawas operates 100% through volunteer work and pays no personal expenses of any kind, so the entire dollar you donate finds its way to where you intended it to go. This is our commitment to true Korima, the circle of sharing at the heart of the Raramuri culture.

As UMCB 2014 approaches quickly, we need your help to raise the needed funds to support our actions in the Canyons. Each year, more and more Raramuri run the race, thus more food vouchers are needed as rewards.

The good news is, Norawas has many generous friends. To add excitement to this campaign, some of our contributors and board members have graciously offered amazing prizes for our donators. So if you can, please show us some support, and perhaps snatch one of these amazing rewards :

  • Every donation, from as little as $20, provides an entry into a raffle for an exclusive signed copy of the book Born to Run, autographed by author Christopher McDougall, Caballo Blanco, Scott Jurek and Barefoot Ted. There are only a handful of those in the whole world; this is the ultimate collector's item.

  • For every donation of 25$, you will get an Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco Buff and official race sticker.

  • Donations of $100 get the above rewards, plus a genuine Raramuri craft made in the Canyons by local artisans.

  • The first 3 persons to give $250 will get a race buff, a sticker and a pair of Luna Sandals of their choice.

  • The first three $500 donations will be rewarded with a race buff and sticker, plus a full entry into one of the most exciting ultra running events in the year, the Born To Run Ultra Marathons. Winners get to pick the distance of their choice.

  • The first person to contribute $1,000 will get a race buff and sticker, plus a full entry into the Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco, a reserved seat at the opening ceremony, a signed copy of the official race poster and an exclusive running action photograph by Luis Escobar.

  • The lucky contributor who first donates $2,500 will get their hands on an amazing prize; an ultra runner dream package of a race buff and sticker, a pair of Luna Sandals of their choice, a full entry for the distance of their choice at the Born to Run Ultra Marathons, a full entry at Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco, two reserved seats at the opening ceremony, a signed copy of the official race poster and an exclusive running action photograph by Luis Escobar.

Please help us make this a true grassroots, organic campaign by spreading the message. We have chosen not to resort to crowd funding sites because that would mean reducing your contributions by 5% to 10% to pay operation fees. We prefer aiming for 100% Korima!

We sincerely thank you in advance for your support, and we hope to see you in the Canyons!

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Trail Revival: A Raramuri Initiative

Mas Locos running the Los Alisos trail
during UMCB in 2012
Norawas de Raramuri brings donations to runners of the Copper Canyons and their families, but our ultimate goal is to support projects and ideas that will help the Raramuri develop more autonomy and initiatives in the face of global change and the relentless advance of the "modern" lifestyle with the many challenges it poses.

In the coming weeks, Norawas members Maria and Flint will travel down to the Barrancas to celebrate the Rarajipare, the annual traditional ball race held in the community of Huisuchi. As previously mentioned, they will bring hundreds of pieces of clothing and gear as well as food vouchers to be awarded at the event.

After the celebration, they will travel down to Urique, which is the epicenter of the Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco and one of the largest Canyons communities. One of their most important tasks there will be to meet a lifelong supporter of the Ultramarthon, a Rarmuri man by the name of Prospero Torres who lives in a small ranch named Los Alisos, very famous to Mas Locos for being the major turn-around point in the race. Its fresh grapefruits, cold water and delicious homemade foods have revived many of us in the afternoon heat, over the years.

Josue and Paula Stephens, Maria Walton,
Prospero Torres, Jenny and Scott Jurek, and Flint
Prospero Torres isn't only a dear friend of Caballo Blanco and one of the original supporters of the Ultra; he is also a respected man in the surrounding Raramuri communities for all the work he has done maintaining the trails between his ranch and the bridge at La Laja, which is the link between many rural dwellings in the area.

On a trip last November to honor the memory of Micah and to plan a ceremony to spread some of his ashes around the beautiful haven of Los Alisos, Prospero sat down with a group of Mas Locos to recall the early days of Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco, honor his friend and explain to us the importance of the canyon trails for the Raramuri.

In the company of champion El Venado, Scott Jurek, his wife Jenny, race directors Maria Walton and Josue Stephens, his wife Paula and board members Bookis Smuin and Flint, Prospero explained that the original race Micah True organized in the Canyons was not held in Urique itself, but between the towns of Batopilas and Urique along a traditional trail that linked the two canyons.

Over recent years, the drug trade and the presence of criminals have scared away most of the tourists in the region, and the formerly busy trail started to degrade. With every summer rain, some sections got washed away or covered in treacherous rolling rocks, making the trail less and less of an option for traveling Raramuri, who started to opt for the dusty dirt road instead.

Prospero explained that, with the help of Norawas, his crew of local workers would be able to revive this important trail segment beyond Los Alisos and to maintain it in good condition for years to come. Moreover, this project would bring much-needed revenue for the workers and their families, who would in turn take great pride of this achievement. Ultimately, the revived trail could again become the safe, shaded, rapid traveling route it had been for numerous years before. Raramuri travelers would now have a viable option for foot travel, like it had been for centuries before.

No need to say, we were very excited with the idea.

Los Alisos trail crew at work in 2013
We are proud to announce that, starting this December, Norawas will initiate the trail project with Prospero Torres and his crew. We will start on a first section between Los Alisos and the community of Manzano, on top of the canyon. The work will include repairs to the trail, wooden blockades to prevent the washing out of sensible sections and trail markings. As soon as the first phase is completed, we will complete the project with a second phase between Manzano and Batopilas, successfully reopening the original course of the first Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco, a major traveling route for the Raramuri and, hopefully, an interesting adventure offers to tourists and trail enthusiasts visiting the beautiful Copper Canyons.

Your donations will make sure the workers are paid a fair wage for their honest work, in time and without any hassle. Furthermore, this exciting project is a first step in demonstrating the power of Korima between the outside world and the Land of the Running People, and an exciting preview of many more, positive things to come.

You can help us today by donating to Norawas and by spreading the word in your community.

We are one.



A Direct Impact : Running Gear And Supplies

It started out as an idea at the 2013 Ultra Maraton Caballo Blanco.

Some Raramuri runners wear tire tread sandals (huaraches) and traditional loin cloths and blouses, but others decide to wear standard shoes and running gear. And some of the latter, mostly elite runners, are eager to get good running gear, which is both hard to find and extremely expensive. Moreover, the people of the Canyons have a hard time affording clothes and warm blankets for the colder nights in the Barrancas.

In a great inequality of our world, this kind of material is overabundant for us North Americans. So the simple rule of Korima (Circle of sharing) dictates that what is ours is our friends', too.

Norawas board members Maria Walton and Luis Escobar
packing hundreds of pounds of donated materials
Consequently, Norawas de Raramuri and Mas Locos came together and started a project to gather running-specific gear and warmer wear for our friends. Over the course of the 2013 season, Canadian runners, Westchester runners and participants to the Born To Run Ultra Marathons in California rallied to the cause, bringing hundreds of pounds of donations for our friends.

In early December, Norawas' President Maria Walton and board member Flint will drive down to participate in the Rarajipare and Ariweta (traditional Raramuri ball and hoop races) in the community of Huisuchi, in the Batopilas Canyon. They will offer some of that Korima to share locally, and bring another portion to the town of Urique where elite and high school runners will receive full running kits: shoes, socks, underwear, shorts, t-shirt and a hydration solution (handheld bottle, fuel belt or vest).

Urique's Director for Tourism, our friend Cecy Villalobos, has been instrumental in helping us direct the donations to the places they were needed the most. As we travel with her in the Canyons, we will report and bring you images of the direct impact you, friends and supporters, have on the communities of the Canyons.

This is only one of the positive fallouts you are helping us create; in the coming weeks, we will report on another great project we have, which directly involves an idea from the Raramuri community of Los Alisos.

Stay tuned, and please continue to support us in any way you can. Your help goes directly to the Running People. 100% of it.