Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas 2011 Appeal Letter



It will soon be Christmas. As I write to you, cool, dry winds are blowing in from the North, making Guarjila a dust bowl. My Ebenezer Scrooge is working hard on me - Christmas parties... Christmas stockings... Christmas events... Christmas kids... and a thousand Christmas questions. There are Christmas letters to be read and Christmas appeals to be written. I think to myself, not this again! Christmas. Christmas. Christmas. “BAH HUMBUG!”

Then, as I’m ready to toss Christmas out the window (even before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins), my daughter, Rose, reminds me, “Dad, it’s the Tamarindo... it's the Tamarindo that gives... the Tamarindo gives Christmas.”

So I stop, breathe, and realize - the Tamarindo is a place that gives, not only on Christmas, but every day of the year.

I begin by reflecting on my own life and who I would be without the Tamarindo. This place and these people have been my education, inspiration, and direction since we began in 1992. They continue to feed and challenge my life. "It’s the Tamarindo that gives."

There are hundreds of students from around the world that can say the same thing - that the Tamarindo has changed their lives in profound ways. For St.Mary’s, St. Francis, Archbishop Mitty, Bishop Chatard, St. Pius X, DePauw, Xavier, Stanford, Lewis and Clarke, Creighton, UCLA, Harvard, Boston College, Notre Dame, Yale, Arizona State, Cal, Santa Clara (forgive me If I didn’t mention all the schools), the Tamarindo has been your living classroom. It was in that broken down, termite infested and sometimes leaky building in Guarjila where you began to think differently. It was there that you began to consider your own vocations and question your world. “It’s the Tamarindo that gives.”

How many of you were inspired here to change your course of study? How many vocational dreams were launched in your time living with the Tamarindos? Many of you took elements and principles learned in the Tamarindo back to your communities, bringing with you new energy and understanding to face the problems of poverty, ignorance and injustice. "It’s the Tamarindo that gives."

For parents, how many of you have written to thank the Tamarindo for the ways in which your children grew and changed while here? We have received so many notes thanking us for the gifts that your children took from here to become kinder, gentler, and more generous people. "It’s the Tamarindo that gives."

How many of you encountered a living faith in Guarjila for the first time? Was it here you first came to sit before the cross? Was it here in “community” during the breaking of the bread (or pupusa) where you began to consider God, church and hope for a better world? Was it amongst the campesinos (Gio, Jenni, Luis, Rosibel, Noemi) that you came to know the stories of the Jesuit martyrs, Archbishop Romero, and men and women of faith? "It's the Tamarindo that gives."

And I write for all the Tamarindos on this end - those that went to school or found a job. For those that learned to ride a bike... learned to read... learned to pray... learned to hit a slap shot... learned to think critically... learned to dream... learned to say thank you... learned how beautiful they truly are. "It's the Tamarindo that gives."

For all those that came on hard times and have needed a hand, the Tamarindo has been there. For the countless requests for medical consults, building materials, food, shoes, clothes or any needs – the Tamarindo door has always been open. "It's the Tamarindo that gives."

For all of us that have given of our time, money and inspiration to see that the Tamarindo continues to thrive - we know we have been given something back, something very special. Call it grace, joy or just a richer, fuller life, we are so grateful. “It’s the Tamarindo that gives.”

So now as we approach Christmas, I would like to invite you to take some time from your busy lives and reflect on the gift that the Tamarindo has been to you. I then hope you will consider giving a gift to the Tamarindo Foundation that will allow us to keep giving. Without you, nothing is possible.

Please make us part of your holiday.

On behalf of all of us here at the Tamarindo, thank you with all our hearts.

Wishing you a blessed Christmas and holiday season,


P.O. Box 90404 Indianapolis, IN 46290-0404


  1. this was real cool article and i some how missed it, thanks!@bose
    Appeal Letter Template

  2. John! This is Susan Hirsch. Is this an active blog still? I've been very wrapped up in my own life lately, but I would love to help promote your work in some way. I hope you are doing well.