MAD & SFDC Volunteering, Volunteers of MAD

Day 6 Volunteering with MAD

Happy Independence Day to America! July 4 is a day of celebration for us as Americans, but a bittersweet day as volunteers – it’s our last day with Make A Difference Now in Tanzania.

A volunteer trip with MAD offers opportunities for cultural learning and exchange, so we started our day with a trip to the local market. Simple wooden food stalls offered fruits, vegetables, beans, maize (corn), meat, and animal feed. We were on a mission to buy plaintains to make a typical Tanzanian banana stew – ndizi njegere. We were also tempted by the huge avocados (now in season), tasty tomatoes and the yummy papaya.

Tanzanian market
Local market in Moshi
Banana seller
Bananas are a staple crop of the Kilimanjaro region
Morning shopping basket
Not a bad haul for a morning’s shopping!






Back at the guesthouse, we were met by MAD scholarship students with the traditional greeting – double hugs with a friendly “Jambo” (hello). The students are on summer break now and eager to hang out with the volunteers. Our first order of business was to catalog the needs of the students before they go back to school – clothing, shoes, toiletries, school supplies, and more. As the MAD students are orphans from impoverished backgrounds, they largely rely on Make A Difference donations to get properly outfitted for school. Next we worked with the students to finalize their latest blog post updates. You can check out the posts from each student using the categories at the top of this blog.

Continuing with the cultural exchange, our amazing house cook, Flora, taught us how to make ndizi njegere (that’s the banana stew). Plantains, onions, carrots, tomato, potatoes, coconut, and peas make up this hearty local dish. I can speak for all of the volunteers when I say we will greatly miss Flora’s delicious cooking!

Flora, MAD house cook
Flora teaches us to make banana stew – ndizi njegere
Banana stew
Banana stew







We ended our day, and this incredible trip, with a traditional Tanzanian send-off, complete with cake, songs, dances, gifts, thank you notes, a prayer, lots of photos, and many hugs all around. One of the traditions is to feed a small piece of cake from a toothpick to a person who has helped you, so the students took turns offering cake to each of the volunteers. Every volunteer was also awarded a certificate in recognition of their contributions to MAD and Tanzania, along with a khanga (sarong), which is a traditional Tanzanian wrap for women with a saying embroidered on it. Janeth, our house manager, explained that khangas with sayings such as “Congratulations” or “Thank You” or “God Bless” are kind of like the greeting cards of Tanzania. Our sole male volunteer, Ali, was given the traditional cloth of a Maasai warrior in recognition of his expert “tech warrior” assistance leading the setup of the computers for the MAD Computer Certificate Program this week. And finally the students taught us a local dance called the kwaito, which is suspiciously identical to the Electric Slide.

Cake eating
Peter offers Catherine a piece of cake on a toothpick as a traditional way to thank someone who has helped you
Eliona and Ali
Eliona congratulates Ali with a traditional Maasai warrior cloth

As we prepare to say “Kwaheri” (goodbye) to the MAD students as we depart on Kilimanjaro treks, safaris, or back home to the USA, I can say that none of us will ever forget the welcoming and friendly nature of the Tanzanian people, the beauty of the Kilimanjaro region, the resilience and determination of the MAD students to improve their lives, and the difference that Make a Difference Now is having on education in Tanzania.

Group photo
Kwaheri (Goodbye)!
MAD & SFDC Volunteering, Volunteers of MAD

Day 5 Volunteering with MAD

Today we got off to an early start and walked the mile to the Moshi Community Centre. We met again with the 10 young women who recently graduated from the pilot MAD Computer Certificate program. This time, we gathered in the new lab we set up, which they will use to practice their computer skills in the future. The women are excited to be able to use the lab to continue to improve their skills.

We then each met with one of the young women to help them practice their English. It was a great opportunity to get to know them by collecting information about their background, family, living situation, education, exposure to computers and career aspirations. We had a wonderful time getting to know these young women better, learning how they feel the computer program will help them, and how much they enjoyed learning about computers. The information collected will be used to help improve the computer certificate program as we look to expand and offer it to more vulnerable girls in the future. As mentioned before, most of the young women had never used a computer before this certificate program.











Finally, we used the information we gathered from speaking with the women to help them create an example resume which shows their education and volunteer experience, computer skills and career plans. The women appreciated learning what a resume typically looks like and practicing their English. They also showed great interest in our lives back home and where we were from, and we enjoyed showing them pictures of our home



We then headed back to the guest house for another tasty but quick lunch from Flora. In the afternoon we went to one of the local orphanages run by Catholic sisters and donated art supplies and games to the children there in the orphanage. While there we learned about the hardships these children have to deal with and how difficult it can be for the sisters to locate the parents or any relatives of the children in their care. We closed out the night back at the guest house with a rousing game of Celebrity which featured clues as varied as Big Bird, Isaac Asimov, David Cameron, and Taylor Swift. Tomorrow is our last full day here at the Make a Difference guest house. We will all certainly miss the students and warm Tanzanian people who have extended such a warm karibu (welcome) to all of us during our stay.


Subira’s Update 2019

Hello everyone, it’s Subira. I am now in my last year of school and on July 20th 2019 I will graduate and receive my diploma in nursing. I am now taking Research, Mental Health 2, Midwifery 3, and Leadership 2 as my classes. My favorite class is Midwifery because we are now dealing with managing the complications before labor, in labor and after labor. Research and Epidemiology are very interesting and I am now working on ‘Assessment on knowledge on anemia among pregnancy woman and childbearing woman who attend Msaranga health facility.’ Msaranga is a health facility in Moshi. I am very happy with my grades and planning to volunteer at KCMC Hospital while waiting for my results. Next I would like to specialize in anesthetic, which takes 3 more years of schooling. My birthday was last week and I was very happy. I also played netball in school with other colleges and universities and won some games.


Exuper’s Update 2019


I am happy to be back working on my blog. After graduating from secondary school in November 2017, Make A Difference (MAD) provided me with computer classes at ACT (Affordable Computers of Tanzania) for one month. We learned Microsoft Excel, Word, Publisher, and a little bit of graphic design.

Then I started college in November 2018 at Kilimanjaro School of Pharmacy (KSP) in Moshi. In the first semester, I took seven classes – Anatomy, Calculations, Communication Skills, Computer, Disease Control and Prevention, Pharmaceutical Forms, and Dispensing. My favorite class was Calculations because I like math.  The first semester was very good and lasted six months. At the end of the semester, we had one month of practicals at the hospital in Moshi. In the practicals, we learned how to dispense medicines to patients, how to fill in ledger books, and how to maintain the store of medicine.

In the second semester, I am taking four classes – Pharmocology, Compounding Theory and Practicum, Medical Store, and Law and Ethics in Pharmacy Practice. In a typical day, I go to lecture classes according to the schedules of the tutors, sometimes 8-10am, 11am-1pm, and 2-4pm.

On the weekend, I study and also go to church on Sunday. I live in a hostel at the college. My roommates are also Make A Difference (MAD) students – Shaban, Innocent, and Benny.


Jonas’ Update 2019

Hello everyone, I started my 1 year certificate program for Wildlife Management in October 2018. I am doing well in my studies and enjoying learning about wildlife. The classes I have taken have been very interesting, and included bird identification by their calls, sounds, and feather colors. I have also learned about the different mammals by their size, gender, horns, habitats, scat, feeding habits, and how they interact with the rest of the ecosystem. We also have learned about invertebrates (an animal without a backbone), which includes ¾ of the animals in the world. It’s also important to know the different plants and be able to identify them from the different environments, such as the savannas, deserts, and others.

I have also been learning communication skills to interact with the wildlife guests and visitors, as well as the different people in an office. This includes how to speak with people at the same rank or level as well as people at a higher level. I have also been learning the Microsoft Office suite, which I will use to help with counting the animals as well as tracking guests to the park.

This semester I have been learning about tour guiding, firearms, mathematics, ecology, field outdoor skills. I am learning how to take care of myself when I am out on patrol, wildlife law enforcement, and wildlife management for the protected areas, the parks, and game reserves. I will be doing a field safari in July and I am looking forward to it.


Shaban’s Update 2019

Hi everyone, I started my diploma studies in October 2018, in pharmaceutical studies. It is a 3 year program to receive my diploma. I’m doing well in my classes, and enjoying learning about being a pharmacist. I finished my first semester in March, and did 1 month of fieldwork at KCMC hospital. I am currently taking my second semester of classes. The first semester covered dispensing, pharmaceutical dosage forms, disease control and prevention, pharmaceutical calculations, anatomy, physiology, and communication skills. These communication skills helped me learn to instruct patients on how to take the medicine, what to do in case of a bad reaction, and learning how to speak with patients who are hard of hearing or have some other disability. I also learned computer skills like how to store the documents electronically and how to use the Microsoft suite of products. This semester I am taking law and ethics in pharmacy, medical storage keeping, basic pharmacology, compounding of pharmaceutical products, and inorganic chemistry.


Bennie’s Update 2019

Bennie’s Blog (Summer 2019)

Hi guys,

In November 2017 I graduated secondary school education (ordinary level education in Tanzania). After there I completed a computer course with the help of the MAD organization for first three month of my long Holliday.  The month after this I went to a high school in Arusha called winning spirit, but MAD recognized that this was not a very good school. For that reason Theresa didn’t want me to go on with the school so she gave me the option to choose another school, but I was too late to get a nice high school and so I chose to go to college for pharmacy because I really enjoy pharmacy.

I am currently attending Kilimanjaro School of Pharmacy, although I looked at a lot of pharmacy schools to attend, Kilimanjaro seemed like the best fit. I started my classes in October 2018 and I love it so much. First semester I had seven classes and it was very hard for me since I was just on my holiday and my brain was not working hard all the time. There were lots of assignments that I had to work on at all hours of the day. My favorite class was anatomy and pharmaceutical calculation. I got really good grades my first semester and I was very happy about it.

At school, I like playing and listening to music in my free time. My favorite sports are soccer(football). At the end of this past semester I had a small internship where I went to a fieldwork practical at KCMC. I worked as a pharmacist and I wrote a report to show my school. In school, I made some new friends as well.