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Friends of Norawas : Keith Ramsay

This series of articles pays hommage to our collaborators in the Copper Canyons. Without them, our projects with the Raramuri communities would be almost impossible. They invest their time and their hearts, away from the limelight, and help make our common vision of peace and sharing a reality. We present this acknowledgement as our humble thanks for all they do, and for being our friends.

Keith Ramsay is a calm, quiet man who, like Caballo Blanco, came in the Canyons with a vision and a dream. His was of a lush garden and a peaceful retreat, under the shade of fruit trees. He built a large property by the Urique River called Entre Amigos. Over the years, the place has become famous for its organic garden, its friendly people and the beautiful, simple way of life it offers.

Every year, around race time, Entre Amigos fills with familiar and new faces; Mas Locos and «hopefuls», or first-time runners, gather to enjoy some community time and prepare for the big day. Everyone is welcome to use the organic garden, which is ripe with leafy greens, beans, sweet beets and many other wonderful, healthy crops.

With his work, Keith has not only created a small Eden in the Barrancas; he also quietly promotes an alternate lifestyle, based on cooperation and simplicity, through his own humble example. He partnered with local people in the management of the property, positively affecting their income and their lives, bringing the dignity and pride of honest work.

As a supporter of the Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco, Keith hosts dozens of Mas Locos in his hostel, private cabins and campground. He also provides Norawas with local, logistical support for our various projects. But most of all, Keith is a good man and a dear friend who contributes in making each of our visits in the Barrancas a fulfilling, joyful and meaningful experience.

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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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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.