Volunteering with Misión México in Tapachula – Chapter Two (Mexico 2017)

Part 1: Skate Mexico 2017

Let’s just say life at Misión México has been an ‘eclectic experience’ during the past month.  Last week’s blog described the initial stages of learning about volunteering and getting to know the niños; this week will be more photography based as we cover the progression of the Skate Mexico 2017 project.

I was delighted in late May this year when the Skate Mexico 2017 crowdfunding campaign succeeded in raising over $3,000 USD in 6 months for the kids at Misión México (thanks again to all of you who donated and helped spread the message).  The original plan was to use the funds to buy:

  1. 25 new skateboards, one for each child at the refuge
  2. New shoes for each child
  3. New t-shirts for each child

However, as with most plans in life you often need to adapt them on the fly, and as I’ve learnt recently, especially where kids are concerned.  We’re still working on getting all the shoes, but the biggest purchases so far have been:

  1. 7 x complete skateboard set ups
  2. 8 x spare decks (also for competition prizes)
  3. Sheets + lengths of timber + bolts + paint to construct a grind box and fix the existing ramps

 

Picking up the new Distreeto decks from Choco and Edgar of Fayuka Skate Shop

 

A decent selection

 

A personal favourite

 

Nuff said…

 

Choco and Edgar from Fayuka Skate Shop have been incredibly helpful and friendly during all of our business dealings (generally in the middle of the street and from the boot of their car), so thanks again fellas.

What with the regular tropical storms on most afternoons, my trips out to get materials for the new grind box (and building/painting it with Alan) and my volunteering responsibilities, I must admit I haven’t actually had much time to skate with the kids yet.  So besides the photos in last week’s blog I’ve only got this one so far:

L just about to ollie the broom

 

Getting some better pictures and videos is top of the list for the coming weeks!

 

Part 2: Beach day at Misión Surf

I had a little moan in last week’s blog that both of the Sunday beach days had been rained off since my arrival; well this past Sunday served to shut me right up!  Blessed with sunshine for most of the day we jumped in the two vans and headed off early to make the most of it.

Misión México’s new project, Misión Surf, is located on the Pacific coast near Puerto Madero, a short 30-minute drive from the refuge in Tapachula.  The plan for this site is to complement the refuge in Tapachula with a more commercial venture aiming at attracting youth and volunteer groups from around the world.  The idea is for guests to combine a visit to Mexico with volunteering, paying to stay at the hostel whilst contributing to the local Puerto Madero community.  Original co-founders of Misión México, Pam and Alan Skuse, hope that part of the income from this new venture will provide much needed financial support for the original Misión México.

I must say it’s a very impressive structure in a picture post-card location, even if the recent earthquake did cause a big chunk of it to fall off!

The Misión Surf building

 

View from the first floor of Misión Surf

 

Looking South along the Pacific coast

 

I, J and Q eager to get out on the beach

 

Looking North along the Pacific coast towards the coconut palms (those waves are way bigger and rougher than they look)

 

Walk along the beach by the coconut palms

 

Looking back at Misión Surf in the distance

A few of the older boys grabbed their surfboards with Alan and headed straight into the huge, crashing waves within 15 minutes of our arrival; I on the other hand stood and watched for a while before venturing in with a bodyboard.  I can’t really use my collarbone injury as an excuse any longer, so I guess the only thing left to do is to admit that I was just a bit scared!  Even on the bodyboard it was fairly sketchy, the waves were a tumbling mess and rip currents were dotted everywhere.  I swear I spent a solid 3 minutes paddling/kicking just to work my way back to the shore, getting smashed and tumbled about in the process.

Thankfully the overall consensus from the few kids bodyboarding with me was that this was all a bit heavy-going, we’d given it our best, time to retreat to the pool.  Agreed.

Looks like I’m gonna be looking for beaches with beginner waves in the foreseeable future.

 

Part 3: Building and painting the grind box

It took about 3 hours to build it with Alan on Saturday, then another 2 hours to paint the bottom of it on Wednesday;but I’m pretty happy with how it’s turning out…

Cutting the legs down to size

 

J and J lay the frame

 

Progressing nicely

 

M and C get involved with the spanner

 

Ready to roll

 

Dutch Blue it is then

 

 

She may be small but F runs a tight ship

 

Done.

 

Metal edges are cut to size (244cm)

Tune into next week’s blog to see the finished grind box and you never know…I might even man-up and get out for a surf in those waves…

 

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