Day 3: A “mission” in Mexico with a new turn around every corner

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Each has story behind the face and represents who they are and what they deserve.  These are a series of portraits I did for the project we are working on that will be on display in a few weeks at the Compound Boardshop Photo show.

Day 3

Today we rose to all the kids amped about a 5k running race that many will participate in.  Easter and good Friday has created a lot of celebrations and events with this being one of the many in the area.   Some the kids were nervous and others were just wanting to have some fun but still beat the gringos.  Jake, Shane and I decided we would go for it and were all curious of what the outcome would be.  It was pretty official with numbers, timing and everything.  Very hot and dry though but along the course there were plenty of people for me to make laugh as I was the large blonde gringo running this random race.  Many of the kids did really well, including smoking us, which didn’t mean much!  We all had a blast but when I was done I felt sprinting a random 5k without ever running in a while wasn’t the best for my knees or ankles.  Regardless we still carried on with smiles and followed that up with a quick surf joining the older kids.  The running race was one way so we all had to pile in the large (15 passenger) van to get back to the start before continuing on to the surf break.  There were nearly 30 sweaty bodies in the van, car pooling at its best.  Waves were a bit smaller, though we still made the most of the waist to chest conditions.  After a good hour session and a nice slice to my ankle from a fin we headed back to to town for a few more photo sessions with the kids for the day.  In between that we did a series of photo interviews and portraits with the kids for the photo show in a few weeks at the Compound Boardshop in Sarasota, Florida.  Getting the kids to pronounce the names of businesses and people provided a good laugh for all.  Throughout I was constantly uploading, charging and editing photos from my cameras and all the kids along with giving small bits of attention whenever I could to anyone that approached!  Eventually we had a chance to go get some dinner, where Pam told us more stories about the kids.  I learned a bit more than I had ever imagined about the train riders of Mexico.  Many parts of the world including the US, people travel on cargo trains as a means of transportation.  In Mexico and Central America its a means of escaping their home country or area for many reasons including a chance to eventually attempt to make it into the United States.  Its an extremely dangerous journey that can often even lead to death.  When the train leaves its station they run alongside and jump on and then must hold on between train cars, often for hours and hours.  According to Pam, some fall asleep and fall off, often getting run over by the train, surviving with lost limbs.  Others are shot by gangs.  There is a refuge in Tapachula that helps these train people with severe injuries and poverty that Pam is in contact with.  The train once passed through Tapachula at one time where she would often see hundreds of people clinging to the trains.  The train no longer comes through the area but people are still brought to the refuge.  Its one of the amazing stories of life in Mexico.

Ben Hicks