Volunteers of MAD

Reflections from a Family Volunteering Together in Africa



We end our time in Africa in Zanzibar on the Indian Ocean coast. We have been talking to our children over the past few days to hear what their reflections have been from this experience. We thought you might like to hear their thoughts. Here is what they had to say:

The problems we are often facing many days are not nearly as difficult as the ones many of the friends we have made in Africa have faced.      

– Grace

We see a happiness amongst many people here, despite the lack of material goods. 

The world is so much bigger than the U.S.   

– Sean

We watched CNN International the other day and a number of U.S. politicians were calling each other names. This all seems so insignificant in light of the events of the world – poverty, infrastructure collapses, global economic trade issues, etc . We’ve been able to watch international news while here which lets us learn about and see the events that are taking place around the world.


I know we have been so fortunate to be blessed to be able to come on this trip. I’m thankful to God for allowing this trip to happen. It’s been a prayer for many years that we would be able to return to Africa and show our children what life is like in a place so different from where they live. We wanted to shape them into the people we hope they will be- ready to see the needs of others and ready to understand a broader worldview than simply what they see in front of them. We also wanted them to see the wildlife that’s here, because that is simply quite awesome! Thank you to those who have walked alongside of us, prayed for our safety and supported the work of Make A Difference Now at the beginning of our trip through your donations of books, shoes, underwear and school supplies. Please pray that we will remember the lessons we have learned going forward.


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