Changing The World – One tiny action at a time

There are times in your life when you certainly question your worth, when you wonder if you are really making a difference in the lives around you. Sometimes the answer is easy as you look down on your sleeping daughter or fight a tear as you watch her dance on stage and you know you may not have gotten everything right, but sure didn’t get everything wrong either. Other times are not quite as easy and perhaps one of the challenges of “growing older” is that you start to realise you have less time to fulfill some of those dreams and promises you made to yourself. Less time to “make a difference”

Today, out of the blue, I was reminded that through our deeds and actions, we may not change the entire world but we can change someone’s world, entirely. A message and picture flashed across my screen, it is of a young girl, dressed in a wet suit flashing the SHAKA sign. (The shaka sign, sometimes known as “hang loose” by outsiders also used to say awesome, is a gesture of friendly intent often associated with Hawaii, and surf culture. … The shaka sign was adopted from local Hawaiian culture and customs by visiting surfers in the 1960s, and its use has spread around the world.)

And below it was a simple message “Thanks to you guys” a small lump in my throat and a smile across my face, I started to think back to one of Sashki and my first (of many) July holidays in Mossel Bay. Sasha had wanted to learn to skateboard and we went in search of a board for her, little did I know before I said yes, exactly what a skateboard would cost. Moving from store to store and not sure how I was going to explain that this was an investment I was not that keen to make, we stumbled into Surf’s Up on the main road and there we were met by the long haired and tanned Andries.

Explaining my dilemma, he went to the back and brought out a second hand board. “Try it he said, and if you are convinced you want to own a board, come back and we can talk a price”

“Do you want a deposit, my ID, a blood sample, a contract, even my telephone number?” I asked, hey I am from Johannesburg, we do little on good faith and a handshake. He assured me he didn’t and was pretty sure he would see us again. We certainly did and the next day when we went past to say thank you, he asked Sasha if she would like to learn to surf. Her face lit up and later that afternoon we were on Dias beach and she was riding the waves like she had been born into it. (Dad wet and cold but beaming with pride)

Needles to say, she surfed everyday and her and Andries developed a surfers bond and a friendship that still stands today. Lots of pics and videos were taken and at the end of the week a sad goodbye and a promise to return not just to Mossel Bay but also to surf again.

When it was time to start planning our December holiday, there was only one destination on our minds and of course one activity we wanted to pursue… it was back to MB and to surfing with Andries. We popped in at Surf’s Up for a few hugs and a chat and booked the first surf for later that day at Dias Beach. She was back up, surfing and having fun, more pics and of course a little “surf speak” like we lived there.

At the end of lesson, Andries turned to us both and asked if he could share a story with us. He told us that he too was in his fifties and had recently gotten married to Miné who was younger than him and really wanted to have a child with him. Andries himself felt he was too old for a young child and had kinda done his time. well that was until he met Sasha. Something about the connection he had with her and the connection he saw between Sasha and I, changed his mind. He went home, told Miné about us and told her he was ready to start a family. He broke the news to us that Miné was pregnant and they were expecting a little girl. I remember feeling the lump in my throat and fighting back my own tears I remember turning to Sasha and saying “you see, your actions and deeds can change the world”

We continued to return to Mossel Bay, to reconnect with Andries on each of our visits and to meet Anétjie (Andries’ blessing as he calls her) and to be reminded that our behaviour and the way we treat the people around us has such far reaching consequences.

To Andries, Miné and Anétjie, thank you for your message today (I really needed it), thank you for allowing me to share this story and wishing you years of health and happiness together and of course, great surfing. To Sasha, well my bubster, what can I say that I have not already said, just be yourself and continue to shine your light on all those around you. And to the rest of you? “Go make a difference!”

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