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Mikumi Solar Water Project in Tanzania – My trip to Tanzania to work on the Mikumi Solar Water Project was absolutely amazing, it’s hard to put it all into words… and I’m now faced with the very difficult task of writing a short blog about the experience.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and I took over 1000 photos while on this trip. Trying to summarize everything, including the project, the work we did, the things we saw, and the friends we made, in just a short blog would be impossible. For this reason I’ve decided to write about one event in particular from the trip: when I got to see the elephants.

On the first Thursday and Friday that we were in Mikumi we went on a two-day safari through the Mikumi National Park. I was extremely excited for this safari because I knew that there are many elephants in the park and chances of us seeing them were very high.

Elephants hold a very special place in my heart because they are my spirit animals. And I don’t just say that they’re my spirit animal because I like them the most; I like them the most because they’re my spirit animal. I had warned the other students that were coming on the trip that I would probably weep upon seeing the elephants. Up until this trip I had only seen Asian elephants on two occasions in zoos, and even that made me cry tears of joy. This would be my first time seeing African elephants living happily in the wild with their entire herd, and I knew that I might see a baby or two as well. Just thinking about the possibilities made me tear up, so I knew I was going to be a wreck when it actually happened.

On the first day of the safari we drove through the park for about 3 hours in the late afternoon. We saw tons of giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, and impala. It was when we were on our way back to our camp that we saw the herd of elephants. They were right by the side of the road and there were maybe 15 of them. The bus pulled up and shut off, everyone had to stay quiet because the elephants would be scared away if we were too loud.

Lena blog pic 1

I grabbed my camera and took pictures, trying to maintain my composure. I couldn’t keep the tears from coming though, so I sat there silently while tears streamed down my face. I was beyond happy. As we started to drive away I snapped another picture of two elephants walking together. When I took that photo I hadn’t even noticed the newborn baby walking in between them. It was only after I took the picture, when the baby lifted its trunk and trumpeted, that I realized it was there. When he trumpeted I couldn’t hold it in anymore, I threw my face into my hands and let it all out. I was crying so much, it was the happiest I’ve ever felt.

We arrived at the Mikumi Lodge, where we would be spending the night. When we got to our room I went out on our patio and I could see another herd of elephants in the distance, right in front of our room. I sat on the patio for about half an hour, crying more tears of joy while I watched them and listened to them trumpet. It was even better than I could have ever imagined it would be.

Lena blog pic2

The entire trip was a fantastic experience, and I made wonderful new connections and friends. I am beyond thankful for having had the opportunity to take part in this amazing project, and I’m certain I’ll be returning to Tanzania again someday!

Lena Andriani

Environmental Engineering Technology

NSCC Waterfront Campus


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