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.