Somewhere Near Tapachula: a surfing way of life with orphaned, abused and homeless children

Somewhere Near Tapachula is the heartfelt true story of Mision Mexico, a children's refuge started by Australian couple Alan and Pam Skuse.

Based in Tapachula, Chiapas (on the southern coast of Mexico), this inspiring documentary focuses on Mision Mexico Boardriders Club, the unique surf community of orphaned, abused, and homeless children.

Directed and produced by Australian surfing filmmakers Stefan Hunt and Jonno Durrant of Surfing 50 States, the film premiers in Sydney on 25th February 2010 at Dendy Opera Quays and will tour around Australia.

For the first time, the Skuses and the kids of Mision Mexico tell their phenomenal tale of survival, love, hope, and surfing.

Documenting the stories of the 54 children of Mision Mexico, who have come from places of unimaginable poverty, trauma, and abuse; and their experiences of healing and transformation through surfing and love.

The film is a powerful lesson on the important things in life, and the power of riding waves, whether you are a surfer or not.

With six kids of their own in Australia, Pam and Alan set off for Tapachula in November 2000 to volunteer for 12 months at the Mision Mexico orphanage, where their daughter had previously volunteered.

Shortly into their stay, the major benefactor withdrew, and the kids were to be turned onto the street. The couple’s volunteering adventure quickly turned into a life-saving endeavor, and Mision Mexico, Giving Love, Life, and Hope, was born.

Surfing, A Potent Therapy

Mision Mexico’s mum and narrator Pam Skuse says: "In their short lives, the children of Mision Mexico have experienced things that most of today’s society will never experience."

"Surfing is a potent form of therapy for these children. The ocean is not just a place of fun; it’s an escape from what life used to be for them."

"Through Mision Mexico, we provide a family and community which supports, guides, disciplines, encourages and directs these children to better themselves."

"Surfing is something special, it's not just a sport, it's part of my life, I feel like I don’t need anything more, I don’t need to take drugs, there is nothing better than surfing," says Jose, one of the film’s young grommets, also a former street kid who was caught up with drugs and gang violence.

The filmmakers, Aussie surfers Stefan Hunt and Jonno Durrant, got involved in Mision Mexico when they were asked to donate a DVD of their new documentary "Surfing 50 States."

Moved by the children’s plight, Stefen decided to volunteer for two months.

Touched by the truly inspirational story, Stefan asked Jonno to join him with their camera equipment, and Somewhere Near Tapachula was born.

"We were so touched and inspired by the amazing work of Pam and Alan Skuse that I felt the story had to be shared.

"We are thrilled to be telling this remarkable story to fellow Australians," says Stefan Hunt.

Eleven months later, and the wacky duo Jonno and Stefan have completed their second feature award-winning documentary.

With 22 shows planned Australia-wide and the massive goal of raising $100,000 for Mision Mexico, the tour is bound to be full of amazing experiences.

"100% of the profits from Somewhere Near Tapachula will be donated to the Mision Mexico 'Future Fund'. This will allow kids to attend university and follow their dreams, something they never thought was possible," says Jonno Durrant.

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