I was the first girl child to be born in my father’s family after 40+ years. In more ways than just that, I broke the mold.
I grew up in a community, in a part of the world, where spotting a single tree was a sight to behold. Growing up was an experience that was dense, crowded, loud and polluted. Wildlife sightings in the community were limited to pigeons, cows and eagles. Even as a five-year-old, I was yearning to get close to Earth. My parents made special efforts to take me to the nearest available parks, scant as they were. I so loved trees that I named my two favorite trees "Camel" and "Elephant."
Then, somehow, as a stroke of luck, I came across this wacky man by the name of Steve Irwin. To me, as a five-year-old, he fired my imagination. I was glued to his “Crikey!” catchphrase and would watch in sheer awe the wonders of wildlife. It came to such a head that I was called “Animal Planet” by all my cousins. My never-ending queries about the natural world, and really everything else, earned me the name “question bank.”
That’s when I knew I wanted to do something in the natural world. Life is not a straight line. It took a circuitous journey to truly understand how my love and passion for God’s green Earth could be expressed in the form of a career.