2013 Real Heroes of Mexico: Romayne Wheeler
Ejido of Munérachi, SW of Creel, Chihuahua
Photo by Charles Graham
“The magnificent Sierra Madre of Mexico (including Copper Canyon), is the mountainous refuge of 60,000 indigenous Tarahumara, known for their incredible endurance running. These special people have successfully preserved their ancestral culture, despite “civilization” efforts and the hardships of cashless, dry land farming, and drought. Romayne Wheeler, a talented American concert pianist, composer and writer, visited annually to study their music, gradually gaining Tarahumara trust by his deep appreciation for their warmth and generosity, their unique culture, a shared love of music and his own unfailing kindness. There, he found inspiration and serenity. Eventually it was agreed he should build his home, complete with grand piano, among them. So Romayne courageously abandoned his comfortable life to join his Tarahumara “family” in their remote wilderness. He leaves only for extended concert tours which for long have solely benefited the Tarahumara. Antibiotics and a potable water supply defeated the 50% child mortality; he imports blankets and other necessities: tons of food during famines. He recently built a clinic and medivac airstrip, and hired a doctor, serving 4,000 nearby Tarahumara. Now 70, Romayne Wheeler remains tireless in assisting the Tarahumara, a true, selfless and beloved hero to a timeless people of Mexico.”
Romayne was nominated by Flora DuBose Graham.
Read the full article here.