Trip to Africa

I went to Africa. Tanzania. I went with my BYU Capstone group. I flew 24 hours to get there and tried to stay awake most of the plane ride so when I got there at 9pm Tanzania time I would be able to adjust easier. It worked pretty well. The airplane food was good on the way to Amsterdam, but bad on the way to Tanzania because they tried to make it cultural for where we were going. The dessert tasted like rotten milk. Once we landed I was super paranoid about getting bit by mosquitoes because we had to stand outside to get through customs. And it was the evening. Since it's pretty close to the equator it got light and dark at 7am and 7pm every day. By the end of the trip i didn't care about mosquitoes anymore. One of the hotels we were in the mosquitoes were all over the mosquito nets and I had to give up trying to protect myself.

They served us cut up fruit in the morning for breakfast at the hotel. Then we could order something else if we wanted. So I ordered a hard-boiled egg and it was the grossest egg I've ever had. The yolk was translucent. I tried another egg later in the trip and it wasn't so bad. Mine was just a little uncooked in the middle. It was funny because we all were told not to eat fruits and vegetables unless we peeled them ourselves, and so when they came out with our plate of fresh cut up fruit, we all just stared at it and waited for somebody else to try it first. I eventually started eating the pineapple and banana every morning, but refused to eat the watermelon the entire trip.

The first day we were there our goal was to get some parts for our drill while it was being transported to Arusha (the city we were drilling in). One of my favorite things to do was to walk around the market because everybody tried to get you to buy stuff. It was like you were a celebrity the whole time. They would all try to be your best friend because they knew you had money. The first street seller that came up to me was really nice and I thought he was just trying to be friendly. He walked with us for a couple blocks and tried teaching us swahili words. I told him I was going a different way and he pulled out all these paintings and jewelery and asked us to support him. The street vendors would always charge about 10x the price to start. It was fun to try to talk them down because you knew they would go down to a 10th the price if you told them you didn't want it. They would literally follow you around all day in hopes of selling one bracelet to you. One time we tried to get rid of one of them because we were sick of being hounded. He told us "Just let me follow you around. As long as i'm with you no other street vendors will bother you." So we did. All the street vendors work together. They are pretty sneaky.

On Tuesday we traveled to an orphanage that we were going to drill at. Here we met the orphanage leader and asked them if we could do anything to help them before our drill got there. We ended up cleaning their sewer system out. It was some of the most fun I ever had. I gave some little kids fruit snacks. And they were all very shy. By about the third day they would smile and wave at me, hoping I would reach in my pockets for some fruit snacks. There was this one two year old baby named Joseph. We all thought he was pretty cool. So one time I gave him a fruit snack and he finished it pretty quick so I gave him another. I went and told my friend and he said he'd already given him one. Lucky little kid. At the orphanage the kids were all really good at sharing and made sure everybody got some. Later I gave away some fruit snacks in the street and all the little kids would grab it and run. It was interesting that the orphans who didn't have anything were more willing to share.

The next three days we drilled a 20 foot well. 16 feet of that well was dug in four hours. We consistently drilled through rocks for the rest of the 4 feet the next days. All though we were continuing to drill and we were confident that we could get through the rocks, we decided to move to another place where we could get really deep really fast. Our whole purpose in going to Africa was to make sure our drill was successful. We dug another spot 125 feet. Our sponsors were very happy with that. They hope to raise some money to build more drills to take over there. Us drilling a well deep enough to find clean water was critical.

I had the most fun when I was interacting with the people there. There were a lot of people to talk to at the orphanage who knew a little english. A lot of the orphans translated for us. It was nice. I really wanted to play soccer with the natives. It seems like that's something you should do while you're in Africa. The third day at the orphanage I saw a soccer ball and went and started to play with one of the orphans. Soon there were 20 of them all trying to impress me with how good they could juggle. They were at some sort of recess for school so they were all in their uniforms. As soon as their teacher came outside they all scattered. I think they were going to be in trouble for playing soccer in their uniforms. Those kids were good. Little show-offs.

The first day we drilled, we did it all by ourselves. It was a lot of work. At the end of the day our sponsor told us that he thought it would be a really good idea if we hired workers the next day. It cost like 4 to 6 dollars for one worker per day. And we were being generous.

The next drilling location we only interacted with the workers. Which wasn't as fun. The last day we were there I was getting bored, so I brought my slingshot that I bought at the market. The workers saw me shooting it and I Wasn't very good. So one of them asked if he could try. And in a little bit all of them were having a contest to see who was the best. They set up a bottle and tried to knock it over. They tried to include me in the contest but I would always miss so bad that they would laugh. So i just let them play. The problem with the second location was that nobody spoke English. They only spoke Swahili. I wish i could have communicated with more of the people there.

Church there was really slow. They would teach everything in English and then teach it again in Swahili. Churches are already sometimes long for me. I played tick-tack-toe with the little girl next to me who seemed just as bored. It was good to see so many of the members were priesthood holders. My experiences have been in small branches there are mostly women and children. But i think there were more priesthood holders than women and children.

The 8 days that we drilled we woke up at 7 and got home at about 7. It was hard work, but i'm really glad we were able to be successful. By the time we got home it was usually dark. We'd go try to find food and all we could find was fried chicken and chips. For lunch we would sometimes find really good authentic food. So i wasn't starving to death or anything. But the chicken and chips every night was disgusting.

We had some good hotels and bad hotels. We stayed in four total. What made it a good hotel was if it had breakfast, didn't have bugs everywhere, the toilets flushed, and you could see through the water that came out of the shower. The worst hotel we stayed in we only stayed in one day. I just told myself I was camping instead of staying in a hotel , and i had a pretty good time.

The last two days we went on Safari. It was super fun. Most of the pictures I have are from the Safari. I had a really good time in Africa. My favorite thing was interacting with the people there. And the Safari was pretty awesome. It was really interesting to see their different mentalities and perspectives on life. The end. Here are some pictures.

This picture is some lions that were walking in-between the safari vehicles. They had just chased some pumba's and were tired. It was awesome. If you ever go to Africa, watch the lion king first. Everything will remind you of the Lion King.
This is an elephant.
These are nasty baboons. They travel in mobs of about a hundred and raid cars. They are a lot smaller than you think. Like a cocker spaniel size.
Brittany likes this picture. Something interesting I keep telling here is that all of the bikes are the same brand there. And they don't have any gears. And they are junky. And everybody has one. And there's a shop on every corner that fixes bikes. And nobody is ever riding one alone, either there's two people or they are carrying something on it.
This is the drill with our hired help in location #2.
This tree is 2000 years old. Much like the tree in Lion King that Rafiki lives in. This is me standing by the base. It's huge.
I really like this picture. I don't know why. This little bird was stealing our lunch. He was very brave. You can see it by the look in his eye.

PS. What would have made it awesome is if Brittany was with me. Liam could have stayed home. Too many diseases.


  1. LOVED hearing about your trip, Devin! Sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime. I'm assuming you were successful at reaching water. What an awesome thing for those people! Love and miss you guys.

  2. Sound like you had alot of fun! Ryan is super jealous of you! Haha. He wanted to go. =)

  3. This was AWESOME! And I read it right before taking a nap so I ended up having this vivid dream that I was in Africa. It was pretty cool, so thanks! Ha! Glad you all survived your time apart!