Peri, junior, New Jersey
Meerkat Muesday: a Tuesday in November
My eyes flickered around the room, focusing on the faces filling the Washington D.C. Orientation. When it came to be my turn to say what I looked forward to most on my upcoming semester, I blurted, “I want to see meerkats!”
Now the day had arrived: Meerkat Muesday. The TTS girls were up and out by 5 AM, groggily meandering towards our safari trucks, detoured by warm tea and coffee. Still surrounded by placid darkness and a canopy of stars, we embarked on an hour and a half drive to the salt pan.
The minute a gleaming light broke through the acacias and baobabs, we pulled over to appreciate the African sunrise. After the transient moment of serenity, we re-boarded the truck to continue sliding and bouncing on the gravel road. Trees and bush passed, but all I could focus on were the meerkats, the animal I had been ranting about for almost four months.
When the trucks slowed to a halt, my eyes dashed to the miniscule tan bodies with long sleek tails. They perked up straight, darting their dark ringed eyes back and forth. I scurried out of my seat, running after them with tears blurring my vision, mesmerized. As a child I used to watch Animal Planet's show “Meerkat Manner” with my dad, engulfed by the kat's complex social structures.
Going on safaris and bush walks were the perfect opportunity to spot my favorite creature, and I would ask Sylvia or our guides about them at every location. With a week left of our semester, seeing meerkats seemed to bring the trip to and end with a grand finale.
The girls chased the meerkats, watching them dig for and devour sun spiders, and posed with them for myriads of pictures. After we were fulfilled with the kats, we headed towards catered breakfast on the salt pan.
Wading through the fresh rainwater lake and painting our faces with mud for photoshoots all before 10 AM, I could not suppress my smile. Looking around at my family who supported me on one of the most exciting days of my trip, I couldn't believe my dream came true.