I just learned I’m a new father. Sort of. Here’s the unexpected “birth announcement” I received last night from Daniel Grayson ‘06, the former Tufts admissions officer who’s spending a professional "gap year" wandering the globe:
“Today, as befitting any Tufts alum who visits Africa, I visited an elephant orphanage in Kenya with an alum friend. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust takes in baby elephants that are found in the wild and who cannot care for themselves. Either from the death of a parent or other causes, these babies have been left to fend for themselves. The sanctuary is well known here in Kenya, and they have a LOT of ridiculously, almost painfully adorable baby elephants.
"So I adopted one.
“Well, I suppose the more correct way for me to put this is that YOU adopted a baby elephant, and I helped. So, congratulations, Tufts Admissions: You are now the proud parents of Oltaiyoni, an almost two year-old who was found wandering--scared and alone--near a hunter's lodge in Tsavo West National Park."
Dan decided Oltaiyoni was a good fit for us. “Oltaiyoni has emerged as a powerful force with grace in her group," Dan explained. "She’s one of the most-clever at the center and she's the one most likely to help new arrivals learn to feel at home at the orphanage. That felt fitting for a new Jumbo, even for a new Jumbo on another continent." I agree. Those qualities do resonate with our Jumbo vibe.
“I apologize to adding to Lee's inbox but he's going to receive monthly updates on Oltaiyoni's progress for the next year," Dan added. (And I will happily post these updates as I receive them.) And Dan's friend Alice Pang '12, a philosophy and political science double major who now lives and works in Nairobi for a public health social enterprise called Zana Africa, will check in on her from time to time. Alice is a frequent visitor with the elephants, having already adopted an elephant named Zangolini who has since been reintroduced to the wild.
Here's how Dan signed off: “As you wind your way through the end of reading season, know that there's a staggeringly beautiful two-year old elephant rooting for you—and for her 'siblings' in the new Class of 2019.”
Call me a proud papa.
I know, I know. It's cliche.
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