MEXICO CITY – An Inter Campus delegation
made up of country coordinator Christian Valerio, coaches Juri
Monzani and Silvio Guareschi, and Inter Campus photographer Franco
Origlia were back in Mexico City
in December for their second visit of the season.
In this capital with 24 million inhabitants, Inter
Campus worked at the Deportivo Venustiano Carranza pitch, where, hosted by the Tepito-based Fundaciòn Renacimiento, training sessions were held with callejeros (street) kids and children from
the indigenous Triqui tribe who live in the nearby shanty town. Two different groups living in difficult conditions
were brought together by football, a game that is the same for children all over the world.
From Mexico City we moved on to our final
destination: Los Altos de Chiapas, the Chiapas Highlands. Inter
Campus’ support to the education system of the indigenous communities
of Chiapas is available to all communities; it is not a
privilege reserved for a few. Based on the ‘everything
for everyone or nothing for no one’ principle, our Chiapas partner
identified the location for our December mission in this region: the Miguel
Hidalgo community near Teopisca, between San Cristobal de las Casas
and Comitan de Dominguez. It’s a place that isn’t marked on the map and
for us, as always in this region, it meant heading into the unknown.
When we arrived at our destination we were 2000 metres above sea
level. Here the 30°C heat in the day drops to freezing point at night.
Our accommodation was a room in a secondary
school with grey, concrete walls, where with our sleeping bags and comfortable hammocks we
settled down for the first night. But we hadn’t reckoned on the biting cold. In fact so cold was it that we found it impossible to sleep and by 1:00 we were all snuggled up around the
kitchen fireplace – at that point our only interest was keeping warm.
The panacea was a kick-about on the moonlit
basketball court, but during the breaks we all looked up at the sky to
observe the constellations and a shower of shooting stars.
The next morning, our drawn-out journey from the day
before, the jet-lag and the sleepless night were soon forgotten as the
first kids started to arrive, their smiles rekindling our energy.
There were around fifty children in total aged six to fourteen and, intrigued by
this group of gueros (white people), they ran around us joyfully. After the
traditional distribution of Nerazzurri kits, Juri and Silvio got the
series of training sessions under way on the football pitch beside
the main road. We spent four magnificent days there: the kids’
gleeful expressions are a picture we won’t forget in a hurry, while their
behaviour was impeccable on the pitch during the games the youngsters refereed by themselves, showing an innate sense of fair play.
We would especially like to thank the NGO Enlace Civil and
the Ya basta association in Milan. Both have long been active in
Chiapas working to protect the rights of the indigenous populations
and they have also made a considerable contribution to the Inter Campus
project in this region.