June 6th, 2014

I just got home from 3 months in Tanzania, and my time there flew by. My first trip to Moshi was in August 2012 with my university. I volunteered with MAD for a week, and began planning my next trip out here before I even made it home. To be honest, when I first got here for trip #2, I thought this would likely be my last trip to Tanzania. It is expensive, and there are so many parts of the world I want to see. However, in the last week I discovered I can’t imagine NOT coming back in the future. The 22 students that MAD helps are all incredible in their own way. Elliona’s a complete ham who can brighten any day, Peter gives the most amazing hugs, Revo is extremely curious about the world around him, Gift is immensely kind, I could go on and on about them all. Then there’s the staff and the friendships I’ve created with them. It may be a few years again before trip #3 due to grad school expenses, but I don’t know how I could not visit again.

Not many people have the desire to visit a developing country once in their lifetime and here I’ve been twice and want to come back again! Despite the power outages, cultural differences, lack of a washer and dryer…I love it here, and truly believe everyone needs to experience something like this. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in your daily life of work and keeping up with the latest trends. Coming to Tanzania, you are forced to take a step back and appreciate the life and opportunities you have been given.

Thank you to the Salesforce group for making me part of SF (it will be official in a couple years I’m sure!), the week you were volunteering was one of my best there and I can’t wait to visit you all in the Bay Area! Thank you SharonRose for your infectious vibrant personality and happiness every time I stepped into Unique Batik, and for all of the gorgeous things I bought there! Thank you Tim Scharks for introducing me to Make a Difference Now; Theresa for your hospitality and making this all possible; the students for welcoming me back; Erasmus for teaching me nearly all of the Kiswahili I know; and the rest of the MAD staff. You have all impacted my life in ways you cannot imagine. It was hard to leave, but I will be back! Until then, thank goodness for Skype and email!

-Courtney Hicks

May 22nd, 2014

We just wrapped up a truly amazing week here in Moshi with the kids. I have never encountered such warm, welcoming, and gracious people. We felt truly immersed in the village and school and like we were part of the community. On our last day, the school children performed a traditional dance for us and we were given special wraps with meaningful Swahili sayings on them. Mine says ‘Upendo’ which means love. The children at the orphanage prayed over us and gave us special hand written letters to thank us. It was a very special evening and perfect way to wrap up a wonderful week. I am truly grateful for this opportunity and will never forget this week and these kids.


May 19th, 2014

Jambo, rafiki! (Hello, friend!) Some of my favorite time spent at the MAD guest house has been spent with Pina and Mama Monica in the kitchen. To me, they are at the heart of the MAD guest house. While I was told that the food would be delicious, I had no idea that every single meal would be delicious! Here is my attempt at documenting the recipe for a traditional Tanzanian meal, Ugali with vegetables. Please note: all measurements are VERY rough estimates. Hakuna Matata! This is Africa. We make due with whatever we have on hand. 🙂 Perhaps MAD will one day have their own cookbook with more helpful and precise instructions!

Ugali ingredients: 2 small bowls of corn flower, 1 large bowl of water Vegetable sauce ingredients: ~3 tbsp olive oil 5 very small onions (diced or cubed) 5 tomatoes (chopped fine) 5 carrots (julienned) 5 tiny cloves off garlic (minced) ~2 tbsp sea salt (coarse) 1 very large bowl of shredded romaine lettuce ~2 tbsp peanut butter Ugali preparation: 1. Boil about 1/3 of a stock pot full of water 2. Add a small bowl of corn flour and stir in well 3. Let boil roughly 4-5 minutes 4. Add a coffee mug more of corn flour and stir stir stir until thick (the Ugali will get so thick that it is difficult to stir, pack it down like you are patting down a cake in the pot and allow it to sit on the burner for a little while longer) 5. After 4-5 minutes, put the Ugali on plate and pack it like a mound of clay. The consistency should be almost like play dough, easily malleable but holds its shape. Vegetable sauce ingredients: 1. In a large pot, sautée the onions “pole pole”, this means “slowly slowly” in Swahili, until they are golden brown 2. Add the carrots and stir 3. Stir in he tomatoes 4. Mash the garlic and sea salt together in a mortar and pestle, then stir into the rest of the ingredients in the pot 5. Add the large bowl of shredded lettuce on top and allow it to start to wilt and cook before stirring in 6. Add peanut butter and stir. 7. Let cook for 15 minutes or so until you have a nice thick sauce that almost looks like saag paneer Once your feast is prepared, leave your forks and spoons in the drawer. They will not be necessary because in Tanzania, we eat with our (right) hands! Take a small piece of Ugali in your right hand, roll it in your palm to make a ball. Press a thumb print into your ball of Ugali to create a space to hold your vegetable sauce. Scoop up your vegetable sauce and put the Ugali and sauce into your mouth.


Mm mmmm good!! Asante sana, Pina, for teaching us how to cook Ugali! We came to Tanzania to help make a difference and we have found that the children and the people we have met have already made a tremendous impact on our own lives– one of the great lessons learned in volunteering! We are so thankful for the many blessings that have led us to Tanzania and the incredible group of people assembled by and for MAD at this place and time!

-Megan & Kim

May 17th, 2014 After a fabulous breakfast of toast, scrambled eggs, cucumber, tomatoes, cheese and coffee made by the amazing Miss Pina, we had Mama Frida teach us some Swahili. We learned some of the basics that would help us start a conversation with the locals. It was very fun and useful; we all had a great time. Mama Frida was just a gem; we all loved her cheerful spirit and big heart – we were bummed to see her time with us come to an end. We were all practicing our Swahili with the villagers and each other, “jambo-ing” and “mambo-ing” our way along! It was a great morning getting acquainted with the culture and language. After our language lessons, we had Miss Pina teach us how to make a traditional Tanzanian meal, Ugali. Ugali is made of water and flour, much like polenta. It takes a lot of attention and mixing to get the right consistency. There is also is a veggie mixture that is accompanied with the Ugali and served warm. After all the hard work and labor, we got to eat!!!! One thing to mention is that we had to eat with our hands, no utensils, which everyone seemed to take to well (we were hungry!). It was delicious – a great success! Oversell a great morning of getting acquainted with Tanzanian food, language and culture.

-Sepand & Perrisa

May 16th 2014

Salesforce.com Foundation’s second Make A Difference team has arrived in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania to join us and MAD couldn’t be more HAPPY!  The team is fantastic! They have amazing attitudes, are eager to learn, and truly want to help us make a difference.  Yesterday they had a cultural day (we will let them tell you all about it in a post), and today they are having Swahili lessons with Mama Frida. Mama Frida is a very popular Swahili teacher in Tanzania. She often teaches diplomats, leaders of various companies, and staff from the Rwanda Tribunal conversational Swahili. Below are a few pics from this morning’s class. After language class the team will learn how to cook ugali (a traditional meal here in Tanzania) and then head to the children’s school for sports day, and a meeting to plan for our work projects (plastering and painting the technology center and library). Arriving at the Orphanage and Being Welcomed with Hugs IMG_7730 IMG_7739


The Incredible Mama Frida! Teacher of Many!

Perrisa and Jason first to standup with Mama's Swahili song, "Simama Kaa" (Standup Sit Down)

Perrisa and Jason first to standup with Mama’s Swahili song, “Simama Kaa”
(Standup Sit Down)



Jambo! What a phenomenal trip already. It is so incredible to finally make it to the MAD house after long travel and to be greeted by Omega, Neema, Revo, Deo and Kunda.  We met Courtney and Piña and relaxed with everyone for lunch and tea. Perfect to come ‘home’ to. Then we walked around before the afternoon tropical rain came and got a intro into daily life outside our landmark zebra gates. We waited anxiously for the rest of the group and played ‘last card’ like UNO kinda and hope to play with the kids soon. Our first morning we woke to a delicious pancake and fruit salad spread and got ready for the Chagga caves tour and meeting the Royal School kids who aren’t in boarding. All things were so remarkable its hard to put in words.  The kids are so lovely and I can’t wait for our days to continue. Back to the blog! Today (5/17) painting was pure bliss. Our view from the second floor library was picture perfect and provided enough of a breeze to where we could whistle while we worked. We took many o’ photo as no one wanted to forget the moments with the kids.  Before long we were all as painted as the walls and everyone was in a groove. How many kids and adults can you fit on a scaffolding?  Um, way more than you think and only we will know ;). Scaling walls by very brave boys and boys at heart was hilarious. Lunch was special due to chapati made by Mama Monica and everyone became rejuvenated. With a bit of peanut butter and crisps (maybe cookies) rolled up, its a new favorite. Days are flying by though never a moment not cherished.

~ with love Farrell

4/2/2013 – 4/5/2013 Volunteers Pat and Lyne came to join us for a few days. They helped out the kids with the letter writing program, the jewelry program, and the reading program, and made a huge impact in the kids lives with their positive attitudes, energy, and advice! Thanks again Pat and Lyne!

Pat reading with Shabani

Pat reading with Shabani


Lyne reading with Benny

Lyne reading with Benny


Pat showing off his dance moves with Subira!!

Pat showing off his dance moves with Subira!!

3/25/2013 – 3/30/2013 Charlie, and amazing 14 year old from Portland, Oregon, came with his mother, Andrea,  and father, Brian,  and brother, Spud, to play soccer with the kids. For his school project, Charlie put on a local soccer tournament for at least 75 other children in Oregon and was a coach and referee for soccer games to raise money for the kids of MAD. He was able to raise significant funds as well as get 20 soccer balls donated which he brought with him. The kids loved playing with Charlie (and Spud!). Everyone enjoyed each other and a good time was had by all! Thanks again Charlie!

Charlie and Spud meeting some of the kids of MAD and at the school and showing them the soccer balls they brought!

Charlie and Spud meeting some of the kids of MAD and at the school and showing them the soccer balls they brought!

From left: Bryan, Spud, Charlie, and Andrea, with the kids of MAD who played in the soccer game!

From left: Bryan, Spud, Charlie, and Andrea, with the kids of MAD who played in the soccer game!


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