CHIAPAS – The Inter Campus staff returns to the plateaus of Chiapas, where the project has been active for 3 years, supporting the Zapatista educational system through football.
The indigenous populations descending from the Mayas have been living in Chiapas, Mexico for centuries. Many were wiped out by the conquistadores, and they today face complete marginalisation. After centuries of struggle for the right to self-determination, revolutionaries Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata were forced to flee from the invaders and became the symbol of indigenous pride. On 10 April 1919 a betrayal brought Zapata’s life to a violent end, but his legend has survived him: "The cinnamon-coloured horse that galloped toward the south through the mountains, alone" (Eduardo Galeano).
For the Inter Campus visit to the country on 10 April, coaches Alberto Giacomini, Karla Cecilia Gutierrez, Silvio Guareschi, president Carlotta Moratti and project organiser Christian Valerio took part in an event at the Autonoma Zapatista Primero Enero secondary school in Ocosingo that commemorated Zapata’s death.
It was here that an intense week of training, games and theoretical lessons were given by our coaches. One hundred and forty-six Zapatista boys and girls wearing the Nerazzurri colours and the ‘paliacate’ (the handkerchief symbolising the rebellion) and 80 instructors took part in the theoretical and practical lessons in the classroom and on the pitch.
The main challenge for our coaches here, as well as in every place around the world in which Inter Campus operates, was that of making a consistent impression, both technically and educationally. Preparing the local instructors is not an easy task when we take into consideration the tendency to avoid specialisation in Zapatista schools, which makes it difficult for the instructors to focus their attention on those who are more predisposed towards learning and repeating the exercises. It becomes even more difficult when you throw in the Zapatista principal which states: "Everything for everyone, or nothing for anyone". It is for this reason that each of our visits has focused in turn on one of the 12 schools in the territory.
Finding the key in adapting our coaching and educational model to the different traditions and cultures of each place is something that is always important. For example, time seems to have deliberately slowed down for the Zapatistas. When working with the students you will not find any kind of obsession over form or individual performances. We can contrast this with the concrete, quality time they spend together in life. Time in Chiapas moves much differently than we are used to in our society. Time here celebrates patience and a slower tempo; virtues that are indispensable in a world based on human relations, cooperation and common decisions.
We would like to thank Gianfranco, Borja and Patricio for their support during the course of this visit for the way they kept the kids entertained with alternative sports as they awaited their turn in training.