Tanzania Expedition 2017

Day 1 (Monday 16th January) – Travelling

After nearly a year of fundraising (during which I raised ¥4173, or about £485), it was finally time to leave! Arriving at school at 6:30 in the afternoon, we went to Pudong airport on the bus after saying goodbye. It was quite strange going through the airport without Mum or Dad! Our flight was quite late, but we still managed to fit in a film on the plane before going to sleep.

Day 2 (Tuesday) – Travelling

Our plane landed in Doha, and we had some time to go to WHSmith (yes, in Qatar) before our next flight to Kilimanjaro airport in Tanzania.

When we (finally) arrived in Tanzania, it was very exciting! We went through the tiny airport and got on the buses to the camp, where we had some time to settle in before having dinner (The food was VERY nice!). I was put into group B, which meant that I would do four days of service work before having two days on safari.

Shamba Kipara Camp

Shamba Kipara Camp

Day 3 (Wednesday) – Service Work

We all woke up at 7:00 to have breakfast, as well as an explanation of our week ahead, before piling into the buses again. First, we went for a short tour of Kitefu Primary School, the school which we helped last year. The school has about 800 students, but the annual budget from the government is only $150. We saw the teacher’s accommodation which we built, as well as the library and the fence which we helped to pay for. Then we had lunch at the back of a local church made by volunteers at Seeway, the charity that we worked with. After that, we went to the houses where we were going to build goat sheds, install solar power and smokeless stoves, but I was part of the goat shed team for our house (it had 8 people living in it, and it was the size of most garden sheds with no windows). We were given a bucket full of tools, a pile of timber and an instruction sheet, as well a local builder to help us. After a few hours we had completed the base of the shed, and we went back to camp. In the evening, our ‘session’ was presenting our thoughts about how goat sheds, solar power and smokeless stoves could help the families.

Day 4 (Thursday) – Service Work

On Thursday, we completed our goat sheds at the houses, building the walls, door and roof; as well as bringing the goat itself into it’s new house! The family was extremely grateful for our help, and it was brilliant to see their reaction. After lunch, we visited the Seeway centre, a nursery/primary school for vulnerable children. Then we built school desks for Nazareti Primary School, the school that we would begin work on tomorrow. The desks were surprisingly difficult to build, even though we didn’t have to cut the wood planks like we did with the sheds.

In the evening our session was based around ‘root causes’, which was based around not finding a problem to the immediate problem, but finding the root cause and solving that instead. We looked at how some organisations find a solution first, and then finding a problem that they can fix with it. Solving the root cause is more sustainable, and will help in greater ways in the long-term.

Here are some pictures from Day 3&4:

The house with a partly-constructed goat shed

The house with a partly constructed goat shed

A half-built goat shed

A half-built goat shed

The final goat shed...

The final goat shed…

... with it's new resident

… with it’s new resident

Lunch at the local church

Lunch at the local church

Day 5 (Friday) – Service Work at Nazareti

On Friday we went to Nazareti Primary School to help build a new classroom. To start, I helped with the pick-axing/shovelling of the trenches for the foundations, but later I switched to transporting large rocks in wheelbarrows around the school to put into the trenches. It was extremely hot, and it was very, very, very hard work! We stopped for an hour to go back to the church for lunch before returning to play football with the local schoolchildren for a while. When it was time for them to go back to school, we started work again. In the evening, we were all tired but we managed to stay awake for our session on UN Global Goals.

Day 6 (Saturday) – Service Work at Nazareti

On Saturday we mixed cement to fill in parts of the foundations at the classroom before we did everything all over again for a school kitchen. This meant more rock hauling, but we made a steady amount of progress throughout the day. At the end, we were all exhausted but relieved that all of our hard work was over! We had quite a lot of free time left after we got back to camp. For our last evening session, we pitched ideas of community project that we could begin next year.

Here are some photos from day 5&6:

Nazareti Primary School

Nazareti Primary School

The building site

The building site

Me moving rocks

Me moving rocks

Building a new classroom at Nazareti

Building a new classroom at Nazareti

Second day of building

Second day of building

Playing football in the field

Playing football in the field

And then playing cards in the hangout area...

And then playing cards in the hangout area…

... and by the pool

… and by the pool

Day 7 (Sunday) – Safari

We got up very early on Sunday so we could arrive at Tarangire National Park for lunch. On the way, we played loud music on our HUGE safari trucks and saw the towns along the road, which stretches the entire length of Africa. After arriving, we began to see lots of different animals including zebras, giraffes, wildebeest and even cheetahs (along with lots of others). It was brilliant driving through the park as it was full of animals. There was this one moment when we stopped by a river and there were LOADS of different animals. A few hours later we stopped at our campsite, which was in the middle of nowhere. When it went dark there were no lights except for our campfire. But I have never seen so many stars ever.

Day 8 (Monday) – Safari

On Monday we got up even earlier to see the sunrise. It was absolutely brilliant even though it was five in the morning. Afterwards we saw even more animals, including two giraffes fighting, and we stopped on a high bit to look at the view. A few hours later, we were getting quite anxious that we were not going to see any lions – but at the last-minute we saw six of them, and one of them eating… something. When we left the park we felt really happy, as none of us had ever been of safari before. On the way back to camp, we stopped at a glass workshop for deaf people and we learned some sign language. When we got back to camp we spent some more time relaxing before we had a party for our last night.

Here are the photos from safari (slideshow):

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Day 9 (Tuesday) – Travelling

Fortunately, we didn’t have to set an alarm clock for breakfast. Unfortunately, it was time to pack. We spent most of the morning in the pool before having a ‘goodbye session’. Then we had lunch and set off for Kilimanjaro airport. At midnight we landed in Doha for a quick transfer.

Day 10 (Wednesday) – Travelling

And then we arrived back in Shanghai. Hooray!

From, Thomas

P.S. Thanks to other people for giving me photos (They are not all mine)


  1. Auntie Hannah · · Reply

    Amazing school trip, you’ve made an enormous difference to a lot of people. Be proud !


  2. Claire Hawkings · · Reply

    Excellent write up ! Really enjoyed reading about the trip




  3. Granny fixit · · Reply

    Thank you Thomas for this very interesting account of your trip. You obviously worked very hard as well as enjoying new experiences and seeing lots of animals.
    I guess everything in your bag was dusty and dirty, ready for the washing machine.
    A comprehensive memory to look back on.


  4. Granny Devon · · Reply

    Well, I feel as if I have been on a safari holiday – what fantastic pictures. I have also enjoyed reading your account of all the hard work you did – not at all easy in the heat of the day.
    I like the photo of the goat, it looks very like the goat we had when your dad was a small boy but our one had horns! she also gave us all a surprise – she had a little baby which we named Toby!


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