The blog will not only contain information about the project, will also give you some tips of other movies, exactly what I'll write about today, an terrific documentary about surfing to heal many kids' lives.
Somewhere Near Tapachula, surfing to heal.
Mision Mexico Refuge
In November 2000, Alan and Pamela Skuse left their home on the Sunshine Coast of Australia, to volunteer at an orphanage in Tapachula for twelve months. The organisation they were assisting closed down after six months, leaving the Skuses with a life changing decision. To return to Australia, or take on the overwhelming challenge of caring for the remaining 7 children full time.
The thought of leaving the kids, who would go back to the streets, and lives of abuse, was not an option. So despite the lack of resources and support, Pam and Alan decided to take on the huge responsibility of establishing their own refuge.
'Albergue, Mision Mexico, dando Amor, Vida y Esperanza' (Refuge, Mission Mexico, giving Love, Life and Hope) was formed, with the dream of creating a family environment, rather than an institution.
Nine years later, Mision Mexico has grown to over 50 children, and helped over two hundred from various circumstances of need.
These kids carry inconceivable stories of being orphaned, abandoned, abused, involved in gangs, drug addiction and living in poverty.
With the love and support of Pam & Alan, the volunteers and their new “brothers and sisters”, these kids have been granted a second chance at life. The kid’s thank God for the new position they are in and their new positive outlook on life. They are encouraged to dream big and believe that nothing is impossible!
Schooling is one of the highest priorities for the kids of Mision Mexico. They are all enrolled in good schools, some even in private schools funded through sponsorship. Some children have not been to school before arriving at the refuge and being enrolled by Pam and Alan.
As you can imagine, coordinating 50 children to all get ready and arrive on time to school is a battle of monstrous proportions.
Education is deemed of such high importance at the refuge to encourage the children to look towards the possible future of university and a successful career. An opportunity most of the children would not have had before coming to Mision Mexico.
Even with education stressed as such a high importance at Mision Mexico, most of the older children say their dream career choice is to become a professional surfer.
Surfing was introduced by a volunteer back in 2004 when a surfboard was brought to the refuge. A few of the kids were taught surfing on their Sunday excursions to the beach, then the board was left with the refuge when the volunteer left. The kids were hooked.
Pam and Alan have a background in surfing and Surf Life Saving from when they lived on the Sunshine Coast. Bringing their own children though the junior life savers program ‘Nippers’, they have passed on basic water safety and life saving principles to the children of Mision Mexico. As the collection of surfboards grew with more volunteers bringing more surfboards, so grew the stoke of the kids for surfing.
Tapachula is on the Pacific Coast only 30 miles from the Guatemala border, and is a tropical palm lined coast, with warm water and not another surfer in sight. In the 9 years that Pam, Alan and the children have been coming to the beach, they have only ever seen 1 other group of surfers – a car of Americans travelling through. The Mision Mexico family are truly the pioneers of this stretch of coastline.
Some time ago, Mision Mexico won a surfing grant to improve their surf program. As all their surfboards were broken or damaged they decided to buy more, approaching Global Surf industries and explaining their situation. They were hoping for a discount, instead they received a donation that changed these kids lives. 15 brand new NSP epoxy surf boards of varying shapes and sizes were given to Mision Mexico. This was an amazing blessing to the refuge and the grant money was then used to build a surf repair and storage building nicknamed the ‘Surf Shack’.
The older, more experienced kids get to surf very early on Saturday mornings, usually waking at 5am to make the most of the early offshore winds.
Then every Sunday, the entire 50 kids - plus sometimes 8 volunteers - will cram into two 15 seater vans to drive the 30 boiling hot minutes to the beach.
In 5 years, the children’s surfing has improved dramatically, and the more experienced kids are regularly seen charging some solid waves, getting barreled and mastering cut-backs. The surf in this region is consistently good and there are many different breaks to choose from.