Every two or three months, a group of indigenous girls and boys of the Valleys odfthe Triqui Region poccupy the mexican television, playing and winning every basketball tournament in spite of playing barefoot and being much smaller than their rivals.
Teacher Sergio, main trainer and father of the ABIM (Mexican Indigenous Basketball Association), encountered the Triqui peoples during a tour with his former team. He was so shocked by the misery and oversight in which this people lived, that he returned nine years later with his training program – many called him crazy, the crazy man with the orange balls. But the leaders believed in his idea and in a few months they trained a group of young trainer and chose kids like Sonrix, Mele, Tobías, Daisy… Kids that nowadays are real stars and a true example to follow.
Maybe women are tha most intense element of this history. The triqui girls and young women of the ABIM have cleared the barriers imposed on them by their families and a society that limited their roles to mere economical items to be traded through marriage. Amanda, one of the volunteers in the project, coordinating the Center of Río Venado, and sisters Ximena and Daisy are decided to transform this situation and enjoy the opportunities that this program gives them.
Don Rufino, natural leader and one of the project’s founders, is proud to see the triumphs of this generation and focuses all his efforts in the fundamental base of the programm: the eductaion of the team members. The grant program of the Santa María del Tule Center, or at the Rastrojo de Copala School, are only the first investments in a learning program that mirrors the sport program and that fights the common absent rates and drop out rates of the region.
But there have also been problems in this 4 years of the IBAM – there have been very hard moments, but the stories like the one of Mele, a boy that saw his father killed when he was 5 years old, or his borther, now a trainer at Tule, are the ones that keep everybody else pushing forward.
Young triqui trainers like Alfredo and Guillermo are also an important part of our story: the have the responsibility of taking care of a group of children that are away from their families and are subject to an enormous physical and psychological pressure. Not only do they become the father figure for these youngsters, but they are also the face of the social actions of the program, like the supply of food and school materials on the farthest villages of the region.
The soul of the program is the indigenous population, they are the protagonists of their own development – a development that aims to stabilize the project in order to pass its teaching to the next generation. The ABIM and the triqui people want to introduce their program in a national level and thus change the scornful image that the indigenous peoples have had in Mexican history.