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Where is Hilary?

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Abul and his family
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The play park at the school
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The stunning faces in Bangladesh
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The School
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Abul as a grown man

A week ago Coach Hilary left on a big adventure to Bangladesh. She left SFO, flew through Tokyo and Bangkok, and two days later arrived Bangladesh. Below are tales of her journey and beautiful pictures. We miss her and await her return next week!

“Tonight (Tuesday). I will be leaving for two weeks to visit Bangladesh, a country my parents called home for 13 years.  Back in 1995, in what should have been their retirement years, my father took a job heading up the Bangladesh operations of a large Korean garment manufacturer.  He oversaw multiple factories employing more than 75,000 workers, mainly women, the bread earners in that country.  My parents loved Bangladesh –it’s an extraordinary country.

While there, they became obsessed with golf, getting up at 5am to play early before work at the military-owned golf course. They were paired with a young 16-year-old boy, named Abul, as their caddy, a scratch golfer who spoke perfect English.  Over the years, Abul became like a son to them and a brother to me.  My parents befriended his family and even built a little “vacation” cottage in his village, near the golf course.

Then my parents decided to do something bigger – build a playground for the village kids. With a little fundraising amongst the local expats and the upper class of Bangladesh, and with some donations that I collected from our expat community in Tokyo, we raised enough funds to build not just a playground, but a library, a school and community center!

Now, that young boy, Abul, is a grown man, with a wife and two adorable girls.  The school will celebrate its 15th birthday this year and Abul is the director of the school, and his wife is the librarian.  Sadly my parents passed away a few years ago and as the only child, I feel an obligation as well as the honor, to carry on and make sure that the Play Park thrives.  I try to go to Bangladesh very 18 months or so, to visit the school and show the kids that I care about them.  It is rewarding, but it’s also a challenge. It’s very very far and expensive to travel there…but I feel like this is what I need to do for my parents and for these children whose lives are being changed by this!”

So, where is Hilary? She will return to the gym on November 11. We wish her luck on her continued adventure and a safe return.

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