MAD & SFDC Volunteering, The Kids of MAD!

Math is actually fun!

Day 3 we all woke up feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep. A few of us enjoyed a cup of the delicious coffee on the front porch while watching a light rain come down. We then had toast, porridge and fruit for breakfast. Kelly started a trend by bringing the peanut butter out, which immediately became a crowd favorite. We also loved the fresh watermelon juice!

We then had a visit from Mr. Ndambuki, who teaches English at Royal School. He gave us a holistic overview of the school system in Tanzania, his teaching philosophy and methods, current challenges students face with learning, and why he loves to teach. We learned a great deal in such a short amount of time! It was perfect preparation for our visit to Royal School later that afternoon.

Mr. Ndambuki discussing education with us

We couldn’t wait to tackle our next task –  sorting the 209 t-shirts that were donated to MAD! Jessica organized a t-shirt drive out of San Francisco that was hugely successful. We’re looking forward to giving so many shirts to the students!

Piles on piles on piles of donated shirts

Before we left for the school, we had a traditional Tanzanian meal of ugali and spinach. Some of the students gave us a lesson on how to properly eat it – first take a small bit of ugali, roll it in a ball, pinch it, then scoop up the spinach, all with your hands! We all thought it was tasty and enjoyed learning more about the culture at the same time.

Esther showing us how ugali is done

It was then time to hit the road for Royal School. The scenery on the ride out was gorgeous, everything was so green and lush. We were especially lucky because we were also able to see Mt. Kilimanjaro. Theresa didn’t want us to miss a photo opportunity, so we pulled over on the side of the road and all got out to take pictures.

Once we arrived, we were given a tour of the school grounds by Paul, our driver. He was very proud to show us around and we were all impressed by how beautiful the grounds were. Theresa also pointed out the basketball court, first aid room, and the exam corrector quarters, all of which groups from Salesforce helped build. Next up was an interactive workshop with the students where we combined teaching Math and English. We split up in groups by a profession that the students want to pursue – doctor, pilot, engineer, and businessman/woman. The group leaders put together ‘math problems’ by presenting every day situations that apply to the job, which the students had to solve. They then presented their ‘math problems’ in front of each other. The lesson was tied together nicely by the story we created – a businessman was traveling from Tanzania to San Francisco for the Olympics to sell cardio machines to doctors. The students all had a great time working together in groups and loved learning in a fun and collaborative way. IMG_0737We ended the lesson and presentations with much deserved celebratory sodas!IMG_0737

Cheers to a job well done!

On the way home, we couldn’t stop talking about how great the afternoon workshop went. We’re so excited to spend more time with the students and can’t wait to see what day 4 has in store!

— Meghan Brekke

MAD & SFDC Volunteering, The Kids of MAD!

We made it to Moshi, Tanzania!!!

After many hours of travel, we were greeted with big smiles, bottles of water and beautiful single roses. It was such a warm welcome from Paul (our driver) and some of the MAD students.



Warm welcome from the MAD team!





Upon arrival to the MAD house, we were happily greeted by Theresa and Janeth. We settled into our accommodations and enjoyed a traditional Tanzanian lunch of plantain stew from Pina, our amazing cook! Although a few of us were a bit weary of the idea of plantain stew, it was absolutely delicious!



Plantain stew for lunch by the amazing Pina!



After lunch, we had our first tour of Moshi Town. It was fun to take a quick stroll around town to get our legs going and get acclimated with the weather and the town. We then unpacked some of our donations of shirts, backpacks and books. We were excited to give out some of the shirts to the students that were with us our first day. The students were very thankful for the gift of shirts!

We then enjoyed a great Tanzanian spin on tacos with chapati, fresh guacamole and salsa. Soon after, we settled in for the night.

The next morning, we were awakened by roosters and the laughter of children heading to school. It was exciting to enjoy a meal with students enjoying their first taste of French toast. The French toast was accompanied by fresh fruit and the best coffee I’ve ever had.

Up next was Swahili lessons by mama Frida! What a treat! We learned popular greetings like “Hujambo” (How are you?), “Asante” (Thank you!) and “Habari za asubuhi!” (Good Morning!)




Swahili class with Mama Frida!




After class, we took another stroll in the town which gave us the opportunity to practice our Swahili. We found ourselves teaming together to ensure we had the right response by the locals. Some giggled by our responses but most were appreciative of our attempts at speaking the local language.



Walking with the students, practicing our Swahili!



In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to finally meet the rest of the MAD students we will be working with throughout the week. I was so excited to meet my students: Esther, Mwenda (Stanley), Gift and Ben. We completed ice breakers with the students and practiced interviewing one another to get to know one another. Some questions that were asked were “What is the greatest advice you’ve ever been given?”, “How would you spend $1 million dollars?” and “Who is your hero and why?” My students have such great aspirations to be engineers, business men and politicians. It was inspiring to hear how much they value their education and recognize the impact of MAD has made on their lives.




My team – Mwenda (Stanley), Gift and Esther (Missing Ben)




After our afternoon session with the students, we walked them to their bus stop and headed back to the house to prepare for the next day.

Our first two days in Moshi and MAD have been nothing short of AMAZING. I am definitely looking forward to meeting the students at the school tomorrow!

— Jessica de Leon, IG: @jessicaideleon

Revo, The Kids of MAD!

The Road Less Traveled; Poor African Village to Duke University

It’s not often that I experience pride. In fact, I’m not even sure I really knew what it was to be proud of myself or something I’ve been a part of until just a few months ago. First I became a parent and brought a healthy baby boy into the world with my loving husband and second, my organization, Make A Difference (MAD) was informed that one of our students we have helped raise and support for over ten years got into Duke University.  He came from a very poor village in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania.

Most Tanzanians don’t go to college, let alone get past the 8th grade in Tanzania. They are taught in their native language, Swahili,  yet a majority of their exams are in English which makes it extremely difficult to succeed. Higher education is a road less traveled. This is what makes Revo’s journey so extraordinary.

When in investing in the lives of students you never know who will go that extra mile. Revo did. He also spent countless nights staying up late and working hard. I couldn’t be more proud of him. Congratulations, Revo!   Continue reading “The Road Less Traveled; Poor African Village to Duke University”

The Kids of MAD!

Seven More Make A Difference Graduate on to Secondary School!

Seven More Make A Difference Graduate on to Secondary School!

MAD couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that seven more of our students have graduated from primary to secondary school this year. Almost 75% of the students that attend primary school don’t go on to study at secondary school in Tanzania, Africa. This is a huge accomplishment and we couldn’t be more pleased with the children!