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Davess Verdugo

Davess Verdugo’s journey to Tanzania was more than just a spontaneous trip; it was a purpose-driven mission that unfolded unexpectedly. His trip was not just about exploring the beauty of Tanzania but about making a meaningful impact on the lives of its people. 


Enactus, the entrepreneurial organization at Briar Cliff University, spearheaded the initiative that led Davess to Tanzania. The project aimed to bring water to families in a remote area through the construction of a canal. Davess, a Co-President of the Enactus team, embarked on this journey to assess the completed project, connect with the beneficiaries, and explore further ways in which their organization could contribute. 


Davess's recount revealed the evolution of the project in Tanzania. Initially centered around empowering single mothers through craft-making and entrepreneurship, the focus shifted to benefit the entire community through agriculture developments. Through donut fundraisers, the team raised $500, enabling them to build an aqueduct connector that expanded access to a canal. The impact was profound, providing irrigation to over 1000 people, facilitating farming, and creating a sustainable source of income. 


Beyond the project, Davess's trip delved into cultural and spiritual dimensions. He had the opportunity to preach at a Maasai church, nestled in the wilderness. Nervous at first, he shared passages from Psalm 23 and the Gospel of Luke, emphasizing themes of contentment and reliance on faith. This experience left him inspired by the resilience and unwavering faith of the people he encountered.  


“You go to these trips to help people there, but you end up helping yourself too, because it just made me see, how important faith is overall. And how God is present in every situation all over the world. Preaching just kind of helped me understand that I can share the gospel. I can do this.” 


The journey wasn't just about the project; it was about connecting with the community, especially the children. Davess visited schools, participated in feeding programs, and played soccer with the kids. These interactions brought to life the tangible impact of their efforts. The gratitude expressed by two women who now had water for their farms encapsulated the essence of the trip – turning charity into sustainable empowerment. 


Amidst the profound experiences, Davess also shared some lighthearted moments, from the delicious Tanzanian cuisine (mostly meat-centric) to the thrilling safari encounters, where lions roamed just feet away from their vehicles. 


Reflecting on the trip, Davess acknowledged that while the Enactus team set out to make a difference, the journey ended up transforming him as well. It reinforced the importance of faith, community, and the profound impact individuals can have when working together towards a common goal. 


Davess expressed gratitude for the support from Briar Cliff, the Business Department, and Enactus. He encouraged others to get involved, emphasizing the potential for positive change when individuals actively seek out opportunities to make a difference. Davess's Tanzanian adventure went past the boundaries of a typical travel story. It became a narrative of purpose, community, and the large impact of small acts of kindness on the lives of those in need. 


This is part of a series of Abroad Stories profiling students who took experiential learning trips.