Hikes with MAD, Volunteers of MAD

Essential Items to Pack When Hiking Kilimanjaro to Make A Difference

We recently reached out to Joey and Gina, who participated in one of our recent annual Make A Difference Now charity hikes. They hiked to the rooftop of Africa, Kilimanjaro this year to raise money to educate the vulnerable children we support. We asked to hear what their top essential items were for their hike.

Here is their top list:


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  1. Altitude sickness pills

“My Dr only gave me eight and that was enough.” – Joey

 2. A Scrubzz Disposable No Rinse Bathing Wipes
“When wet, they foamed up with soap to wash, so take these!” – Joey

(Go to Amazon Smile and use Make A Difference Inc. in Boise as your charity) MAD gets a donation when you buy on Amazon.

  1. A small backpack
    (Water, a few snacks: headlamp, hand warmers, warm layers, face mask)
  2. Trek Poles 
  3. Sunscreen*Make sure not to touch your eyes after applying sunscreen.

     “Put sunscreen on your hands they too will get burnt too!”  – Gina

    you wish you would have known before traveling to Africa:


  1. No matter how much you prepare for Kilimanjaro, you aren’t prepared.
  2. Dollars are accepted almost everywhere but not credit cards.
  3. Women are expected to wear ankle-length skirts or pants.



  1. Amazon Smile (Click on Make A Difference Inc in Boise, Idaho)
    Shop on Amazon Smile

“I purchased all of my stuff from Amazon. Based on the list provided to me, I added items to my wishlist, and slowly purchased what I could” – Joey

  1. The “Let Go!” app:  Finding parkas

“The app was amazing for finding parkas. I found mine (originally $250) for $20” – Joey

  1. Thrift Stores: For things you would never use again 
  2. eBay (brand new)

“It saved me $150 on hiking boots!” – Joey



  1. Headphones
  2. Battery Chargers
  3. Sunscreen/Hat
  4. Google Translater App
  5. Pain medicines / Daily vitamins


  1. Phone
  2. Diamox and pain medicine 
  3. Water

Keep Kilimanjaro clean


“I used all the designated trash bags provided by the hiking crew. Also, rent the toilet, trust me, it’s the best thing you can do on the trek!” – Joey
”I brought my own washcloth. No plastic bottles” – Gina


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“Carry as little as possible on the trek. Put about four liters of water in your daypack before you leave your home so you can see how much that alone will weigh. Also, anticipate your hike days to be about 5-6 hrs each day. Trust your guides, they know the environment and the signs to look for when someone should not continue on the trek.”

You are never prepared enough for Kilimanjaro, 

Bring an unlocked phone with you and buy a sim card and data in Moshi. I spent $25 and got 10gb of data on an old iPhone 6 and this is how I kept in contact with social media and friends/family. the data lasted me the entire 3 weeks I was there and I used it a lot!!!” – Joey


Hikes with MAD, Volunteers of MAD

Machu Picchu 2018 Trip Leader Story: Emilee Struss

“It started as a phone call, strictly for work, that turned into something…big.” – Emilee Struss

Emilee is a youth programs coordinator and writer that lives in Hailey, ID. She discovered Make A Difference (MAD) while researching nonprofits for a program she was designing. Her search led to a list of nonprofits in Idaho, one of the being MAD. After speaking with a MAD representative on the phone, she desired to know more due to her interest in traveling and working with nonprofits.

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Emilee on a trip to Lake Chala in Tanzania

After one short conversation with MAD’s founder, Theresa Grant, Emilee felt a strong desire to volunteer in Tanzania. Previously, Emilee had also volunteered in South Africa for six months and knew the impact that volunteering can make. She enjoyed learning about the culture, language and Africa’s simple way of living. She realized that not only could she use her education to better the life of another, but this was also an opportunity for her to grow as well.

In July of 2017, Emilee traveled to Tanzania as a volunteer. During her time, she met some of the students that MAD sponsors, conducted interviews and wrote articles about the great work that MAD was doing. Emilee has a background in Wilderness Therapy and enjoys the wilderness equally (if not more) than writing.

Upon returning from Tanzania, Emilee wanted to do more. MAD’s Charity Hikes peaked her interest. She was inspired by MAD’s honest approach at enriching the lives of not only vulnerable youth but their sponsors as well. Emilee is looking forward to getting more involved with MAD by leading the 2018 Machu Picchu trip.

Inspired by all the brave students that she met in Tanzania, Emilee started a blog series about them titled, “This Is”. To view some of those articles, please click here.