Volunteers of MAD

Sperry Family- Goodbyes

Day 5 (7/18/18)-

We were really excited for today because we were given the opportunity to go to two of the students villages and get a glimpse inside their lives. We left earlier so we had longer to be with Innocence and Jonas at their home. Paul drove smoothly and we reached the place where we had to pick up Jonas. After we picked him up, we continued driving toward Rombo. Once we reached their village we climbed and stretched our legs. We were greeted by Innocence.

The two brothers introduced us to their aunt and uncle. Then we walked to the place where they grew up, and they talked to us about their past, and their family history. Then they showed us around their farm. They had so many delicious fruits. Some grew in the ground, others grew on tall trees. There were bananas, pineapples, coffee beans, yams, avocados, mangos, and papayas. After the tour of the farm the brothers introduced us to their grandfather, which was a huge honor.

After that, we watched them dig up some yams, that we were to take back to the guest house. Then we walked to their avocado tree, and Innocence climbed up into the tall tree, and picked some avocados for us to take back to Pina. The avocados were twice the size of the ones back in the United States! Once they had picked about 8 or 9 avocados, we climbed back into the van.

On our way home we ate lunch. Pina had packed homemade pizza. It was absolutely delicious. Then we dropped the boys off in Moshi. Paul offered to take us to meet his wife and grandmother. We were delighted to meet them, and he gave us a tour of his property too. Once we arrived at the guest house, we realized that we would have to say goodbye to everyone because we would be leaving tomorrow.

We said goodbye to Janeth and Paul and wished them all the best. Even though we were sad that our week of service in Moshi was over, we were happy that we had the opportunity to spend time with students, and the children. We had learned about the culture, the language and about their way of life.It has been the coolest experience of our lives, and we hope that we can come back soon!

-Sperry Family, Tanzania Visit

Volunteers of MAD

Sperry Family – College Applications

Day 4 (7/17/18)-

Today, after breakfast, Janeth and a student, Christina, met us and walked to the orphanage with us. The walk seemed shorter because we knew where we were going. Once we arrived at the orphanage, we headed to the toddlers. They were finishing up their milk, and they waved at us as we walked toward them. They clambered clumsily out of their chairs and waddled outside to the playground.

The children were all over us. They climbed on the slides, the benches, into our laps, our arms, and into our hearts.

Everyone had a child that held their hand and wanted to be held. We played and spent time with the small children for about an hour. Then we carried the tired kids back to the room where they were given their lunch. We were very sad to say goodbye, but we reluctantly headed out the door because we had to meet the students back at the guest house.

They were already there when we arrived. First, we ate the lunch provided by Pina. Everyone was very hungry so we ate all the food. After lunch, the students introduced themselves and told the group what they aspired to be. Then, we started helping the students start to apply to the collages they wanted. There were only a few who finished because some of them changed their mind, and wanted time to think about what they really wanted to be.

When they were finished with the applications, we hung out and talked. We learned a lot about their lives and who they were. Sadly, it was time for them to get home for they had a long drive back to their villages. A sense of accomplishment and happiness filled us and we headed off to bed.

-Sperry Family, Tanzania Visit

Volunteers of MAD

Sperry Family -A Sense of Peace

Day 3(7/16/18) –

On the third day, we jumped out of bed, ready for the adventure Janeth had planned for us. Today was a culture day! Today, we were going to travel around and see the Gates of Kili, the N’doro waterfalls, and the Chagga museum. Around 9:30, Paul, our lovely driver, picked us up. We drove toward the mountain, and picked up Stanley along the way. The car ride was very seemed short and before we knew it, we had reached our first destination, the Gates of Kili. The two peaks were hiding behind the smoky clouds, so we were unable to see them. That was not too bad because we had seen them earlier that week. We walked up to the starting point of the trail, but weren’t able climb any further because we were not registered, and we did not have an early start. We took some pictures in front of the sign, and studied the maps. Then, we got back in the car and headed to the waterfall.

Paul turned the van down a bumpy dusty road to the waterfall. We were met by a few locals who guided us down through the dense jungle-like vegetation to the roaring waterfall. The spray from the falling water washed over us, and we could smell the crisp water crashing on the rocks. A sense of peace swept through the gourd as we watched the mesmerizing water. We took pictures of each other standing on a rock, and hiked back up the steep stairs back to the van. Then we drove to a place where we could eat lunch.

The food was still warm, and we ate all of the beans, rice, and vegetables Pina had packed for us. We relaxed for a while before walking a short distance to the Chagga museum. The guide greeted us and he talked to us about the tribes, and what early Tanzania was like, and how the tribes lived. He led us inside a replica of a traditional house and explained the different parts of the house. Then we went into a exhibit of tools that the tribes used. We learned what each tool was used for. For example we learned that they used these big barrels for making banana beer. We said goodbye to the guide and started the drive home. After an amazing dinner, we went to bed, exhausted from the fantastic day we had.

-Sperry Family, Tanzania Visit

Volunteers of MAD

Sperry Family- Bouncing with Joy!

Day 2 (7/15/18)-

We woke up in the morning, refreshed and excited for our second day in Tanzania. We devoured a breakfast of toast, eggs, and homemade banana bread made by our wonderful cook, Agripina. After breakfast, Mama Frida arrived at the guest house and introduced us to the native language of Tanzania, Swahili. We spent an hour learning the basics, such as hujambo, which means hello, and asante, which is thank you. Throughout our travels, we used the vocabulary we acquired to talk and connect to the people we met. Once Mama Frida left, Janeth and Stanley took us to the Upendo Baby Orphanage. They guided us around the busy streets, and up to the orphanage which was nestled on a quiet, peaceful backstreet. The orphanage was gorgeous. Colorful flowers and trees adorned the walkways and gardens. You could hear the children laughing as they played with each other. We met one of the caretakers of the children and we donated the books we brought. After the paperwork was complete, we joined the little kids outside on their playground. We were immediately swarmed with children, wanting to be picked up, and wanting their hand to be held. Their happy faces warmed our hearts and brought smiles to our faces. We left the orphanage bouncing with joy, and with high hopes of coming back. Once we arrived back at the guest house, we parted with Janeth and Stanley, and joined Revo for dinner. After dinner, we played some card games, showered, brushed our teeth, and climbed into bed, satisfied with our day.

-Sperry Family, Tanzania Visit

Volunteers of MAD

Sperry Family Visit – Frisbees and Smiles!

Day 1 (7/14/18)

In the morning, after a delicious breakfast of pancakes, we walked around Rau area with Stanley (Mwenda).  The walk was beautiful, and we saw many people walking and enjoying the beautiful morning. After lunch, we visited The Royal Primary and Secondary School with Paul as our driver and Stanley as our guide.  We donated a bag of books and 2 frisbees to the school and spent time with multiple students from the school who are a part of Make A Difference.  We learned about their school system, and shared what our school system was like. We also learned about the students and their lives. My family and I really loved meeting new people, and learning about their way of life and their school. After learning about the students and their school, everyone played outside with us with the frisbees.  We threw the frisbee around outside until it was time for us to go back to the guest house. We said our thank you’s and goodbyes to the teacher and the students and headed home after a wonderful first day in Tanzania.

-Sperry Family, Tanzania Visit


Genetics of Breast Cancer School Project

“I have been working on my personal project for about eights months now. I designed a poster and conducted an experiment about the genetics of breast cancer using the technique of gel electrophoresis. The process was based on multiple stages; investigation, planning, taking action, and reflecting through a 3500-word report. Later, I had to present what I did for my project to the students in our school and the parents who came during an exhibition.”

Last week, Aya, our student from Syria who is studying in Boise, Idaho (in the USA) got the chance to present a personal project at River Stone International School.

Please help us to congratulate Aya on her project! This was truly amazing work that she did and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.


Meet AYA

“My name is Aya Alagha and I am a 16-year old Syrian student. I am currently on a three-year high school full scholarship at Riverstone International School courtesy of Make A Difference (MAD) Now and the School. Coming to the United States is a result of a long time of working hard and dreaming of a better education. When I was in Syria, even though I had multiple interests, my biggest dream was to pursue dentistry and make it my lifetime career. However, in Syria there are career limitations. Now that I have this opportunity to be in the USA, a country that offers opportunity and safety, I can think more about what I can do on a more global scale. Also, the lack of technology usage in Syria was a big limitation for staying updated on its importance in daily life. I am currently working on a school personal project about the genetics of breast cancer, exploring the amazing science of genetics & epigenetic and it is motivating me to pursue genetics in college, participate in internships, conferences and gain experience as one of my main goals.

Besides my interest in science, I discovered an interest in technology when I attended Dreamforce 2017 in San Francisco. It was at this conference where I realized the widespread usage of technology, its importance, and got the chance to experience programming for the first time. I also learned about what CRM is and what Salesforce is and what they do. One of my important goals is to become certified by Salesforce and be one of the inspiring trailblazers from whom I met and learned. An average salary in Syria is 800 dollars a year making it difficult to live on a daily basis. However, as a trailblazer I will be able to encourage and guide people from Syria to become certified in Salesforce. If they are certified, their job opportunities with Salesforce are limitless and life changing, especially because Salesforce is aiming to employ two million more jobs by 2020. As technology and science go hand in hand, my certification from Salesforce will help me finance my studies at a top rated college. After finishing my degree, my dream as a global citizen is to use my knowledge in genetically predicting diseases that result from genetic inheritance or mutation.

I traveled for the first time out of Syria to Kenya during the summer of 2017 for an international summer camp. I had a full scholarship to attend this camp that was based on three pillars; leadership, service and culture. Working in service sites(schools and orphanages) strengthened my willingness to help people all over the world who have creative minds and amazing abilities but lack resources like Make A Difference Now does, the organization that is enabling me to be in the USA. It also reminded me of how important is to pay it forward. ”