My first day in a coffee plantation we hid between coffee trees listening to wild elephants flap their ears and trample trees, hoping the huge beasts didn’t decide to move our way.

Until I visited India, the biggest animal that ever stood before me was a horse. I was traveling with CLIC Abroad to learn about rural India and wild elephants.

India gave me the opportunity to understand rural in a global context. I knew what rural meant in South Georgia, where I attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, but the rural world in southern India is significantly different.

Not only are the different crops, growing techniques and equipment used, but also India has massive “pests.” Wild elephants roam the coffee plantations looking for food, and they certainly find it.

So there I was, in the middle of southern India, ducking behind coffee trees. If I were smart I would have been afraid, but honestly, I wasn’t.


Beautiful birds and wildlife at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

A busy street in Bangalore

A man on the street, accompanied by his daughter and grandson, asked me about what I was majoring in. I didn’t know this man, but with a true interest he essentially asked me what I was going to do with my life. I expressed uncertainty and he responded with a simple piece of advice. “Whatever you do,” he told me, “ask yourself, is it useful?"

The mahouts with their elephants

Watching a King Cobra dance

Ancient temples loom overhead with intricate carvings and vibrant colors

Reflections on the culture and wildlife of India

The Stallion
August 18 2015