By Casey Hoskins
After years of wanting and almost a year of planning, my daughter is finally going to fulfill her dream of going to Africa! I have been putting off this article for months, not knowing how to write it, not knowing how to express how proud I am of her, how stressed out I am because of her, how in awe I am of her. Let’s see how this goes.
On a drive back to town one warm day last summer, Emry blurts out that she is going to Africa to work with endangered animals when she graduates. She has this stern look on her face, almost like she is challenging a contradiction to what she just said. In times like these I find it best to keep quiet and just listen. I was told about a conservation park in South Africa that is part tourist-stay, part wildlife refuge and rehabilitation. Emry explained that she had had multiple phone and email conversations with the staff, asked all of her questions, and was ready to go on this adventure. For two weeks she was going to work in the field, tracking Rhino, Elephant, and Lion behaviors, and then move over to the rehab clinic where she would be a part of caring for the injured animals that came in. We talked about it and only after my own conversations with this park did I agree to help her do this.
The drive in this kid blows me away. This is not her first attempt at going to a different country to help with the wildlife conservation effort. She got accepted into a Christian-based program that took teenagers to India to spend two weeks with elephants, living in a camp with them, monitoring their behaviors, and experiencing the local life around the conservation park. Unfortunately, this was in 2020 and her chance got washed away in the torrent of fear and hopelessness. Emry never gave up though, quietly researching her next opportunity until she found something that suited her and would not be too difficult to convince her parents of. Not to say that agreeing to send our kid to a foreign country has been an easy feat.
It is time to officially share this with our beloved community. Emry has volunteered at many events in town, been part of the Youth Orchestra, offered her time and hands to multiple downtown businesses, helped with Weiser’s first (and second) Flower Festival & Makers Market, worked with Patrick, the list goes on. I’m not exaggerating, one of her teachers put together a list of what she has done in our Weiser Community. For me though, she has been an amazing daughter and sister.
Ethan is none too thrilled with her leaving him alone this summer. Emry has always been the one to involve him in the school stuff he would otherwise miss out on. She has taken him to games, the movies, or for frozen yogurt just to get out of the house. Ethan has always had her to protect him, listen to him, encourage him, and push him when he needed it. This is going to be a tough transition for him but Emry has been waiting for this opportunity. She always did push to do before she was able. That’s just her way.
I struggle to ask for help. Struggle is putting it mildly. The amount of stress this has put me under has my body breaking down, not to put too fine a point on it. I want this for my daughter and have been putting money towards it as much as I can but we aren’t there yet. Don’t think for a second she has been shirking her duties, Emry has been working her butt off to get the funds put together too. I have decided to put together a little fundraiser to help with this. Keep up with me on Facebook for the details on how you could help get her to Africa and get a newly upholstered chair out of it. (Like I said, I struggle to ask for help so I’m giving back as much as I get.) This was a long article but a needed one. Thank you for reading it and for the love!