In Europe, we often hear Mexico spoken about in terms of tourism, for its archaeological sites or the white sandy beaches on the Caribbean coast. Sometimes though, we may hear Mexico spoken about in terms of machismo, earthquakes, corruption, organised crime, domestic violence, drug trafficking and the migrant crisis, due to the flow of people from South America to the United States. This mass exodus of biblical proportions must cross the entire length of Mexico, from Tapachula to Tijuana, as people seek the promised land of the USA in search of a better life. This all results in it being difficult to imagine what life is like in Mexico. Films from great Mexican filmmakers, such as Iñárritu or Cuarón, or the odd TV series will often give us a glimpse into daily life, but these never really enter into the European frame of mind as being ‘real’.
Telling the story of Mexico in only a few lines is a near impossible task. To even begin to comprehend the cultural identity of the nation, you need to go back to the very origins of the Mexican people, to before the arrival of the conquistadors, who supplanted and enslaved the indigenous population. Over the course of the centuries, aboriginal Mesoamerican culture has mixed with the culture brought over by the European invaders, giving rise to the mestizos. The impact of pluralism and the diversity of the indigenous and mestizo population on social, cultural and religious identity is evident.
With respect to this mix of cultures, Inter Campus has adapted and initiated various projects in various contexts, using the game of football and the Club’s colours as tools to act on various fronts in order to protect disadvantaged children.
Yet, at the same time, telling the story of Inter Campus Mexico in only a few lines is a near impossible task. We would like to tell you about the beauty of the Mexicans, of all those people, who together with us, who have been working for years, on the playground and behind the scenes, with a common goal. This aim is to help educate thousands of boys and girls about positive values in life so that in the future, we do not hear anyone have any bad words to say about their country.
Each year, roughly 300 children take part in various active projects in the country, treading the same path from the age of six until they turn thirteen. As a point of reference they have a host of local coaches. A cohesive group, that in itself has gone through a course of technical coaching and they have been working together for years, both on and off the pitch. They’ve had many chances to converse and exchange with our Italian staff during constant annual visits, such as when they all climbed to an altitude of almost 5000m at the summit of the Nevada de Toluca, a demonstration of the strength within the group. Or perhaps we could mention the unforgettable weeks spent in Chiapas with our Mexican coaches and our friends among the indigenous Zapatista movement. A mat on the floor to sleep on or a hammock as a bed, eating rice and beans for dinner. Out in the fields of beaten earth, on the plateau or down in the Lacandona Forest, while hundreds of discrete smiles are hidden by the locals’ paliacates (neckerchiefs). There was a sharing of life of methodology with the local Zapatista populace, a constant exchange not only of ideas but above all of emotions and human values. This is a people in a fight for their survival, for their rights and for the cultural wealth of the very earth where they live.
During this time, as the world is drastically changing due to a global pandemic, we very much miss these people, with whom we have built incredibly strong bonds throughout the years. Thanks to the latest technology, we try to remain in close contact with them with video-chats, confirming the fact that, as soon as it is possible, we will get back to normal.