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May 6, 2011 5:16 PM by David Ortiviz

Retirees on a mission to help primitive tribe

Buz and Kathie Fanning aren't your typical retirees. For 17 years they owned The Greatest Gift, a Christian gift shop in Pueblo. Now, they've sold their store and are moving to Mexico to help an isolated Indian tribe that still lives in caves. "A lot of people say man you are craz," said Buz Fanning as he chuckled. "I don't feel crazy at all."

The tribe's called the Tarahumara. Over the past centuries, they've established a reputation as elite runners. "They have been measured to run 435 miles in 48 hours," said Fanning.

The Tarahumara live high above in the mountains. "When the Conquistadors came into Mexico they were either going to kill them or enslave them," said Fanning.

As part of their extreme lifestyle their children walk up to five hours to get to school. So the kids stay there all week. "They were sleeping under trees, finding shelter wherever they could," said Fanning.

Here's where the Fannings come in. They're going to help build and manage dorms and a cafeteria for the children, located within a secure compound.

"Assassinations have happened within blocks of our compound," said Fanning. Drug cartels make life unsafe, but it's also isolated.

There's no phone service, no mail and very limited internet access. A lot of people, including their own children have been asking the same question. "Why can't you just retire like everybody else?" said Fanning.

Fanning says its about faith. "We were called, we feel by God, to go to Mexico and participate in this whole ministry," said Fanning.

The couple sold their store not knowing how long they'd stay. Focused now on giving these little tribe members a safe haven. "You know that's just what we feel called to do," said Fanning.

 

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