If you heard the name Father Verplancken you may not know who he is, but the Tarahumara Indians know him as the person who has turned their lives around and saved many from death. Father Verplancken is an entrepreneur who decided to help the Indians rather than give them his charity and leave. He first discovered the Indians when he was in the seminary, but ended up staying for over 40 years. Through his time with the Tarahumara Indians he has become fluent in the Uto-Aztecan language and has taken moving photographs of the Indians that have been published in such renowned magazines as National Geographic. What Father Verplancken has done for the Indians is build a modern full-service hospital that offers free health and dental care. It is the only hospital in its region and holds 75 beds.
Last year 4, 381 patients checked in at Clinic of St. Theresa, donations and the staff paid for all costs. A boarding school was also built, with 90 children currently attending on weekdays and returning home to their families on the weekend. Father Verplancken is far from done and still presenting ideas to help the Tarahumara Indians, one of these projects is to provide safe drinking water.
The site web was launched in order to inform the public of the inhumane conditions the Tarahumara people endure, and for another brilliant idea. A banner was put onto the site that allows us to help the Indians just by clicking on it! You may click on the banner once a day and in return one free minute of hospital care is given to a patient. In 2001 there was 88, 469 visitors that gave the Tarahumara Indians 12, 637. 4 free hours! Before Father Verplancken came to El Paso, Texas the Indians were living in small huts full of unsafe drinking water and parasites.
The majority of the children were dying before the age of 5. After this dynamic entrepreneur came operating health clinics have been constructed as well as boarding schools, food and milk have been distributed, water wells are being drilled and he is diligently attempting to preserve the art and heritage of the Uto-Aztec people. Father Tarahumara and his 39 staff members including a priest, 8 nursing nuns, six doctors, twenty nurse-students and four teachers, are not losing momentum. The Indians are offered jobs as secretaries, gift store sales, and maintenance crew. American volunteers come to work on short-term projects for the Indians. This was all made possible through the vision of Father Tarahumara who has dedicated his life to the Tarahumara Indians..