Scroll down this page to read the stories about some of our lovely children
A one year old boy was brought to Pam and Alan; a skinny baby with lifeless eyes. His body was almost skeletal, with ribs and tummy protruding. It was clear this baby had been severely neglected, to the point of being starved. So fragile and weak, this baby was on the verge of dying and couldn’t even hold his head up. His eyes were crossed, most likely because of his weakened condition.
During the first few nights at the refuge he cried continuously, needing to be fed every two hours, like a newborn baby. Pam cared for him, feeding and holding him closely, talking softly to him throughout the long nights. After just a few weeks, although still very thin and cross-eyed, he was a different child – his eyes had life in them and he was smiling. As he grew, Pam and Alan would often wake to find him sleeping between them.
He is now a regular, mischievous little boy, who loves laughing and playing with his brothers and sisters, never liking to be left out of anything. He attends school and his cheeky smile makes him a favourite among teachers and classmates. He is very inquisitive and wants to constantly eat! He loves sport especially going to the beach and learning to surf. His family; Pam, Alan and all the children at the refuge, mean the world to him.
One of our young men, originally from Nicaragua, was one of three children being raised by his mother, a single parent trying to raise the children in one of the poorest countries in Central America. His father was an alcoholic and he and his mother suffered severe violent abuse. Eventually, the boy’s mother tried to leave with the children but struggled to make ends meet.
Poverty can cause people to take extreme measures to better their circumstances; his mother left her children in different homes and made her way to the US in search of a better life. After a few years,she returned to collect her children for the journey back to the US.
The family were caught by the authorities as they tried to pass through Mexico. The young boy was placed at Misión México while his mother made her way back alone. After some time, he gave up waiting for his mother to return for him.
He went through severe heartache and a sense of ‘not belonging’. With him coming from a dysfunctional family and a life of poverty and abuse, he suffered greatly. He also suffered rejection and discrimination and felt the loneliness of abandonment.
This young man has found love and security with Pam and Alan. He is often mistaken for being their biological son, for which they usually do not clarify. He has found his sense of ‘belonging’. He is the older brother to all at Misión México and has taken on a role within the refuge to help support Pam and Alan as well as Misión México. He is loved and respected by all the children at the refuge.
He had great difficulty finishing his formal education in Mexico as it was impossible to obtain his papers from his native country with the necessary legal stamps etc. that Mexico requires. A few years ago however he achieved 16 levels of English in a school in Tapachula (learning English as a second language). He also sat for an exam for the University of Michigan (through Harmon Hall) and another for the British Council (in Mexico City) and passed both very well.
In 2009 he received a scholarship from the ‘Norm Innis Foundation’ to study Business Management in Surfing Studies at the Southern Cross University at Tweed Heads in NSW, Australia. Twelve months later, he gained his Diploma and is now starting a small business in the surfing industry in Tapachula.
Three year old boy was burnt with cigarettes and cut with knives by his ‘family’ before he arrived at the refuge. He was found by police wandering the streets all alone, his little body was covered in burn marks, cuts and scars. After a short stay in the welfare department (DIF), he was brought to the refuge to be cared for by Pam and Alan. His eyes were remote and empty, and it was clear that this little boy had been neglected and punished in unthinkable ways.
He had no sense of belonging; no sense of security; no sense of what it meant to be part of a loving family. He was malnourished and by his behaviour, it was obvious that he would have had to scavenge in bins and rubbish piles for food.
He still carries terrible scarring, both on the outside and on in the inside, but they have become less noticeable, and the boy is more lively and confident. He is now very mischievous, with a constant smile on his face, and always, the first in front of a camera. He attends school and loves nothing more than showing off what he’s learnt that day. He is quite the character and often tries to be the centre of attention of every visitor and volunteer to the refuge.
A four year old girl was picked up on the street in the middle of the night by Police after she was sent out to buy alcohol by her alcoholic parents. The police took her to the welfare department (DIF) and then she was brought to Misión México. The official statement on her arrival said that, ‘she was a victim of abuse and neglect.’
During the time that she has been at Misión México, she has never had anyone try to claim her. She has been at the refuge for over seven years and is growing into a fine young lady. She speaks English very well, something she has learnt since being at the refuge, and is a very pleasant, free spirit who tries to charm everybody.
She loves to tell stories and believes that one day, she will be the author of children’s books. She has a smile that barely leaves her face and always partakes in the many activities at Misión México. She loves sport and has recently taken to surfing along with others in this large family. She struggles at school, perhaps because of her background, but now with a tutor, she is gradually improving. Given good direction and discipline, she will achieve her dream of being a writer one day.
A young boy arrived at the refuge when he was ten years old. He had been living on the streets selling and using drugs and was also forced to be involved in gang life. He had escaped a life of abuse inflicted by his alcoholic, prostitute mother. He suffered a life of beatings and neglect and witnessing things no child should.
With love, encouragement and a lot of patience, Pam and Alan have helped him to grow and heal. He has overcome his pain and addictions and has now learnt to trust. It hasn’t been easy, it has been a hard, slow journey but he has challenged himself to become a dignified, educated person.
Many years ago, he ran away because of a problem he had to face. Pam was devastated and drove around the city looking for him. At one stage Pam spotted him in the distance, running through the Tapachula streets and then disappearing down a water drain.
Catching up to him as he came out the other end of the drain, she went down on her knees begging him to stop. Crying, she told him how much she loved him and believed in him, and how he shouldn’t throw away his future.
A friend helping in the search asked him; ‘Who else do you have in this world who would cry for you? Who else do you have in your life who loves you as Pam does? Who else would have done what she did for you today? Give her a chance’.
This young man is now an excellent student and a friend and brother to all the children living at Misión México. He is now in University and dreams of finishing his career in Business Management and being part of the Misión México Surf Industry, which commenced in 2011.