It has been a quick yet fabulous month in Bangladesh and the team has been making their way back home to Hawaii. 12 hours on a bus from Coxs Bazar to Dhaka, an airplane through Thailand, and a couple more flights over the Pacific and I’m sure they will be sleeping for the next day just recovering from an exhausting travel.
Rickshaws rides and elephants, surfboards and street-kids, three-pieces and board shorts. You can begin to realize the world of a difference the sport of surfing might pose in a country like Bangladesh. But after only 30 days, the 2012 Bangladesh team hosted a nation-wide surfing competition in Cox’s Bazar, an all-girls surf camp and outreaches to the neighboring country of Myanmar. Continue Reading
As promised, the Bangladesh team update! Get a glimpse of what it’s like to be there through the eyes of team member Kirsten Jackson, as she shares her perspective on the country, the people, the experience.
After 3 days of flying and a 14 hour bus ride, we finally made it to beautiful Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
We’ve got an awesome team out here! So much has happened in such a short time. Our days are filled with early morning dawn patrols, promptly followed by breakfast at the local hotspot “Poushee” (Our absolute favorite)! Next, we cruise around Bahatchurat, the town the surf club boys live in. There’s so much to see and experience during the ten minute walk down the main drive : constant honking from the rickshaws and tomtoms, people everywhere, kids on their way to school, market craziness, cows walking in the middle of the road, selling, buying, bartering. You’re hot and sweaty (and, mind you, it’s only 9am). Finally, half way through the town we meet all the families we’ve come to love. This is what life’s about. We are so blessed to be a part of this community and to live life with these beautiful people.
In Bangladesh, life and relationships grow over meals. On average we get fed about 6 meals a day!
The rest of our days are filled with cruising with the surf club guys, visiting with their families, taking the kids surfing, meeting new people, sharing life, market shenanigans, dancing and singing.
Coming up soon we’ve got a pool tournament, birthday parties and of course, STN’s annual Bangladesh Freedom Surf Contest on Friday, September 28! We’re amping and ready to share the stoke of surfing!
Keep checking back for more updates from our Bangladesh team!
On July 16th -August 18, founder of Surfing the Nations Cindy Bauer and two STN staff members, Renee Arnold and Julie Nelson, took off on a trip to Sweden and Ireland. STN Sweden is in its early days of forming and developing so Cindy, Renee and Julie went over to meet with the Swedish staff, help cast the vision and equip the leaders. Renee and Julie jetted off to Ireland for a week to get to know the people there and scout out a place where STN Sweden could send teams to for humanitarian and surf outreaches. Here is an excerpt from Julie that she wrote as the trip was coming to an end: Continue Reading
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”
Today, we sent back 2 of our Bengali friends with a team of 10 STN staff for the 8th annual, month-long Bangladesh trip.
The journey all started eight years ago, when the founder of STN looked at a map and noticed that Bangladesh had the longest sand beach in the world.
Shortly after that, a handful of people touched down in Bangladesh, and through meeting one lone surfer in Bangladesh, the sport of surfing and the culture of giving back began to take roots in the country.
We’ve been going back to Bangladesh for several years, so what’s different about this year?
In the previous years, STN has been teaching surf to the locals and helped them establish a surf club. We’ve held an annual surf contest and provided food for the street kids involved in the surf contests. As the old proverb goes, we were able to ‘feed’ them temporarily, and teach them how to do some things for themselves. Now, the connections have been made, the club is established, and we see that it is vital to move into intently teaching them ‘how to fish’: rising up leaders of integrity to benefit the community and their whole country, one person at a time. Continue Reading
I first saw Abdoul Aziz three years ago while watching the documentary ‘Gum For My Boat.’ He was speaking his native language of Bengali at a beach in Bangladesh and still very much a boy. This morning, I saw Aziz as a grown up man, sit in front of a large group of people in Hawaii and tell his story to a large audience in English.
How do things like this happen? How can a boy that used to throw his books in the bushes on the way to school and go crabbing instead, be captivating an audience in a place and a language that he could never grasp a year ago?
Transformation. It’s a big word, it evokes big dreams, yet ever the paradoxical thing, it always starts small.
STN started going to Bangladesh almost a decade ago. The dream began when Tom Bauer saw that the longest sand beach in the world was in Cox’s Bazar. A few people took off to check it out, and after meeting the first Bengali surfer, connections were made and the forming of the Bangladesh Surf Club took shape. This surf club is made up of boys and girls with stories and Aziz was one of those boys. Surfing is the thing that connected him to these strange foreigners and through his friendships with them, he began to observe that the lives of the surfers he met were different: they came to give and not to take. They acknowledged and cared for those that society had ignored. Aziz’s life slowly started to change: at first with just one board, one wave, one friend.
Through the tireless persistence of those closest to Aziz and the generosity of many, Aziz got the chance to come to the surfing mecca of Oahu, Hawaii and do an internship with STN. It was there that he began to learn not only more about surfing, but primarily about leadership and what a big role serving plays a part in that. But the story doesn’t end in Hawaii. With the new leadership skills and the hope that has born, Aziz is going back to invest in his country, which is first of all, people.
This video of ‘Transformation’ shows only a small part of Aziz’s story and we hope that it will inspire all of you to take small yet committed steps to bring hope and change to someone’s life.
This video highlights what STN is doing globally. After you check out the video, find out how you can be a part of the vision to bring transformation to the town of Wahiawa through the GIVE 2012.