Featured

The Children Of La Fonda

[wptouch target=”mobile”]Featured[/wptouch]

I’ve always regarded Mexico to be somewhat of a wild, lawless place. Horror stories of the cartels beheading people would always be contrasted by tumultuous tales of debauchery to the highest degree. Complete and unrestrained self indulgence foreshadowed by complete and utter ruin. A place where if you had enough “deniros”, you could pretty much live like a king. I had heard tales of bottomless tequila shots, rare and illegal animals for sale, knives, guns. A proverbial black market for the curious wayward traveler. A feast for the dark side of your soul. Alas, like most preconceptions, I found my adventure to Baja to be quite different. Still somewhat self indulgent, but to a much much different degree.

Our final stop for gas in San Diego before crossing over into Mexico.

Our final stop for gas in San Diego before crossing over into Mexico.

We had stopped at a Shell gas station just a few miles from the MexiCali boarder. The last bastion of American soil before entering a new and unknown domain. I had never been to Mexico, or anywhere south of the border for that matter, so admittedly I was a little excited. “Get your passports ready, just in case”, said Scott Skamnes, grand poobah of this expedition. You see, while most stories you hear about Baja revolve around some kind of alcoholic beverage ingested one too many times, ours had a different spin to it. Now while I am no role model, nor have I ever claimed to be, our mission was to be exactly that. Journey to Baja, then hand deliver skateboards and toys to orphan children. It sounds like a desperate cry for karma points, but in all honesty, it was to be one of the most enriching experiences I have ever had the pleasure to have participated in.

Following Scott Skames in his truck as we cross into Mexico.

Following Scott Skamnes in his truck as we cross into Mexico.

We stopped briefly in Tijuana for some tequila and trinkets

We stopped briefly in Tijuana for some tequila and trinkets.

Raider nation.

Raider nation.

Knives seem to be a popular item in Mexico.

Knives seem to be a popular item in Mexico.

An abolita waits for the bus on the corner.

An abolita waits for the bus on the corner.

Passing shanty cinderblock shanty towns on our way to La Fonda.

Passing cinderblock shanty towns on our way to La Fonda.

The Pacific Ocean was a welcoming sight.

The Pacific Ocean was a welcoming sight.

Palm trees and surf, yeah, I could get use to this.

Palm trees and surf, yeah, I could get use to this.

As we arrived in the small town of La Fonda, we stopped for lunch.

As we arrived in the small town of La Fonda, we stopped for lunch.

After a two hour trek, we break for burritos.

We break for burritos.

Homemade burritos do indeed taste better in Mexico.

Homemade burritos do indeed taste better in Mexico.

The view from the porch of the house we stayed in. Epic.

The view from the porch of the house we stayed in. Epic.

Up until recently, I’ve always skateboarded for me. It’s always been about my experience, my enjoyment. Something so dear to me, so freeing, that I couldn’t afford to not be selfish about it. It was like I had discovered some big reservoir of infinite inspiration and creativity. Completely unscripted raw self expression. To me, it has been a priceless discovery that has brought me untold amounts of joy and self fulfillment. Something along the same lines as painting an incredible picture, or crafting a grandiose sculpture. Like some kind of spiritual awakening or discovery of an ancient artifact. All the more reason for me to keep it to myself. However, for the first time I was prompted to think about it differently, given a chance to apply my abilities and my resources to the betterment of someone else. Oddly enough, it had felt like something of a farfetched concept to me. I mean, sure, you hook up your friends, you give out product when you can. But this was different. This had been an experience about providing a child with something incredible. Sharing that limitless pool of self fulfillment with someone who has had no previous drive. No one on one attention that could spark the flame of ambition within. After this trip, I am certain that there is no better gift than one that can inspire such a change, inspire such a feeling within a child. A smile or a moment of joy can be such a simple gesture that can lead someone to go on to accomplish such marvelous incredible things.

After home base had been established, we went to meet the children.

After home base had been established, we went to meet the children.

The orphanage is located in a small building that also repairs appliances.

The orphanage is located in a small building that also sells auto parts.

The children line up as Amanda n' friends doll out the love.

The children line up as Amanda and friends doll out the love.

Sara makes some new friends by handing out Muir stickers.

Sara makes some new friends by handing out Muir stickers.

Some observed from afar, while others dove right in.

Some observed from afar, while others dove right in.

T-shirts may seem like whatever gifts, but to some, it means the world.

T-shirts may seem like whatever gifts, but to some, it means the world.

With all the gifts bestowed, it was time for play.

With all the gifts bestowed, it was time for play.

Sunshine and skateboards.

Sunshine and skateboards.

Little reminders to the children, that someone cares.

Little reminders to the children that someone still cares.

Sticker application is just as important as being able to skate.

Proper sticker application is just as important as being able to skate.

Yours truly, explaining skateboarding to kids who can't understand me.

Yours truly, explaining skateboarding to kids who can’t understand me.

More stickers then he knows what to do with.

More stickers then he knows what to do with.

Homegirl reppin' the drop knee style.

Homegirl reppin’ the drop knee style with a smile.

I now understand the difficulty of yearbook class group photos...

I now understand the difficulty of yearbook class group photos…

With the sun setting and the kids stoked, we retired back to our lodgings.

With the sun setting and the kids stoked, we retired back to our lodgings.

La Fonda at night.

La Fonda at night.

Our trip to Baja had been built around the physical experience of skateboarding, but our mission had been about something far greater. Skateboarding had been the vessel by which we could courier a degree of satisfaction to these kids. Give them something to be excited about, a way to communicate a fractional degree of joy. It had only been a two day experience, and by the time it was over, I had been transformed into a different person. A more conscious individual, mindful. Stoked to continue to skateboard for myself, but now also stoked to share the ride. Mexico is an incredibly interesting place. Yes, on the surface, you’re presented with all of the countless instances of decadence. Over-saturation  corruption, lawlessness. But dig just below the surface, and you’re presented with a place mystifyingly wonderful. An adventurous domain of survival and exploration. Go to Mexico looking for trouble, and you’ll find it. But go to Mexico looking for culture, adventure, and enrichment of the soul, and you’re sure to experience something of a much more magnificent nature.

On day two, we went out and bombed some hills. The shocker raging in a onesie.

In the morning, we bombed some hills. Sara Paulshock, raging in a onesie.

Getting hi-tech in Mexico by imploring a drone for filming.

We got hi-tech in Mexico by imploring a drone for filming.

[sam id=”8″ codes=”true”]
Like something out of a sic-fi movie, Rocky has got a birds eye view of the action.

Like something out of a sci-fi movie, Rocky had a bird’s eye view of all the action.

Daisy, Sara, and Amanda rage while the drone films from above.

Daisy, Sara, and Amanda rage while the drone films from above.

During filming, a hawk attacked the drone. Truth.

During filming, a hawk attacked the drone. Truth.

Amanda tucks into the sweeping left on her way down to La Fonda

Amanda Powell leads the pack on their way back down to La Fonda.

Rocky brings the drone in for landing.

Rocky Detzel brings the drone in for landing to conclude our trip to Baja.

Waiting to cross over back into the US is a test of patients.

Waiting to cross over back into the US is a test of patience.

Street venders sell fruit and other assorted items while you wait.

Street vendors sell fruit and other assorted items while you wait.

Daisy gets her SkateSlate on while we inch our way closer to home.

Daisy gets her Skate[Slate] on while we inch our way closer to home.

It took us nearly 4 hours in traffic to get back to the US.

It took us nearly 4 hours in traffic to get back to the US.

In the forty-eight hours we spent in Mexico we surfed, swam, skated, flew, played, inspired, gave, received, laughed, yelled, smiled, frowned, ate, and drank, and all in time to make it back to the Agenda trade show that next weekend. If this trip has taught me anything, it has been to never fear what you don’t know. Live life with an open mind, and never be hesitant to go the extra mile to inspire someone to something new.

A enormous thanks to Scott Skamnes, Wesley Stewart, the Orphanages of La Fonda, and all the people involved with Urban Surf 4 Kids. To find out more about their organization and how you yourself can get involved, please visit the highlighted link.

Thanks for reading,now go find out how your skateboarding can help others.

[sam id=”9″ codes=”true”]
Comments



There is 1 comment

Add yours
  1. Pete Mendoza

    Mexico is a psychedlic place to roll. rich n poor. 1st n 3rd world. good looks on hooking up the kids! Hopefully you dropped a board on one! lots of hispanic skaters now and its a way out of the hood. david gonzalez, daniel dyers(bmx), p-rod. they'll all be at x games this year as well. august 1-4 in la!


Comments are closed.