A heroine comes alive
One of my most thrilling memories during high school occurred last November, when an older woman with tidy grayish hair wearing vivid orange-colored knits came to visit my school, WAB. She was Dr. Jane Goodall, the eminent environmentalist.
I had pictured her to be peaceful, calm and quiet, but she was much more energetic than I had expected. I will never forget her nimble steps going down WAB’s stage after her presentation to the school. She was vigorous yet graceful, and she looked just like someone who would want to help save wild chimpanzees.
Although I have been part of the Roots and Shoots group since 2006, I didn’t really know who Dr. Jane Goodall was until October of that year. I learned a little bit about her after watching a Korean current events program, in which a reporter visited Beijing to interview Dr. Goodall. I was already in the Roots and Shoots group and concerned about the environment and animals, but watching Dr. Goodall speak about her work inspired me quite a lot. It was then that I became truly passionate about what I was doing and what I was involved in. Even if I wasn’t really sure what I, as an individual, could do to make a difference, I was still willing to give it a try.
But I had never imagined meeting Dr. Goodall so soon in my lifetime. Who would imagine encountering such a world-renowned individual at a school in Beijing? When I heard that Dr. Goodall was going to visit WAB, I almost screamed with excitement. For the entire month leading up to her arrival, I could feel the anticipation building. When it came time for her to come to our school, my heart was going crazy. It was beating so fast that I could even hear it thumping in my chest.
And so, Dr. Goodall finally came to WAB and made her speech. I was so used to seeing her in photos and on television, but here she was, a real-life person before me. My eyes never left her, and my ears never wavered from listening to her soft voice as she talked about Roots and Shoots and her experiences all around the world, especially in Tanzania. After her speech, I was incredibly inspired, for everything she said came from her true experiences.
Then came the moment for me to give her a gift from WAB. “It is my honor to meet you today,” was all I was able to say. Her gentle “thank you” and tender touch on my shoulder was all it took to make me feel completely gratified, and I know that that exchange, though brief, will always be one of the dearest moments in my heart.
Eve Hur is a junior at the Western Academy of Beijing and an active member of WAB’s Roots and Shoots program.