Mariah Fisher-Kendrick, High School LAEO Essay Contest Winner

The decision to write that essay for The Earth Organization’s environmental essay contest was the best decision I have ever made because my new memories and experiences from my trip to South Africa are priceless and everlasting. I remember when my family and I met Marco which may be one of the nicest people in the world, who showed us around the city. I remember sleeping at one of the guesthouses with all the windows wide open as to invite in the warm night air as well as the sound of the insects singing. I remember Ziplining a hundred feet above the forest floor and feeling the mist from the gushing waterfall. And finally I remember the day that I drove through the Zulu village as kids ran after the car smiling, waving and yelling “Sawubona!”. I even fell in love with a furry little bushbaby that enjoyed running onto the dinner table and stealing your food. But when I took my first game drive and saw a prideful and majestic African Elephant, it instantly became the highlight of the trip. I’ve never seen one so close and so free in my life. If I could, I would have just sat there and simply watched it eat for hours. I was also amazed to see eccentric baboons jumping and singing from branch to branch, a cute little dung beetle rolling his dung ball on the grass, curious Giraffes that stare at you from a mile off, and a baby Rhino that instantly adored you if you rub his tummy. My whole trip to South Africa can only be described as “life changing”. When I came back to the US, I felt refreshed and new. I was ready to dive back into high school and take on my final exams. And as I go day to day, I carry memories with me that make me smile and burst out singing “shoo-sho-lo-za” and remember all the wonderful people that I met on my wild adventure in Africa.