Health Partners

Caring for Children


June 2017 IHP Update

Jesse Kitundu writing

Dear Friends to Children and Mothers of Tanzania.


The busy time continues for us receiving more volunteers from non-medical to medical teams.  Non-medical teams have been busy helping with construction and working together with our construction team by sharing their experiences in a friendly way that is really amazing.


Medical teams have brought us some blessings including attracting more patients, imparting their knowledge and sharing with us our knowledge in tropical diseases. This is exiting for both of us.  We have agreed to continue working together in the future exploring  the possibilities of research work  especially with regard to tropical skin diseases.


Not forgetting the elective students who really keep us busy. You could see their eagerness to learn but at the same time accepting how challenging it is to manage patients in a low-income setting.


I thank all the volunteers for their heart of commitment and courage to come and join us. What recognition to us!


You are a ALL welcomed to come, see and participate in improving the quality of care to our patients.

Paula Lofstrom writing

How can it be that some are so blessed and others so needy?  Who is the blessing to whom?  


A well-off person with no heart to give lives an unfulfilled life.  He or she is then blessed when sharing with others in need.  It gives their lives purpose and meaning and fulfillment.


And, those receiving food, education, and healthcare are blessed by those who care and give.


God’s world is in balance then, we all need each other.  He gave us EACH OTHER that we each may live a life that is blessed.  


Certainly Denny and I have been blessed to be doing this work and others have come to share in the giving, and thus the receiving.  


This has been a phenomenal month.  Please read the testimonies of some of the guests to see how it works.  


Below that is the speaking schedule for 2017-18 in the U.S.  There are plenty of open Sundays, so please help us to find those who would like to help, or be interested in reaching out to the world through IHP.  



For those who wish to help support this wonderful work, please send a check for $25.00 to buy some paint, or a check for $50 to buy rebar and nails and wood, or a check for $100 to pay the salary of one beginning worker for a month, or a check for check for $378.00 for a window for the birthing center, or whatever you feel moved to give, will go into providing quality health care for those we serve.  Please send a check to:


International Health Partners, U.S.

Joyce Zemel, Treasurer

1811 So. 39th St., #36

Mesa, AZ  85206


Or, go to our website, and click on Just Give!


Blessings and gratitude,

Paula and Denny

Selemani Shabani writing

Hello everyone!

It has been a busy month for us.  Every one of us here is busy.  A team from the U.S. came and installed a water purification system at Children’s Hospital, Zinga.  So, now we can get safe water for us and the people around here.  


A week later another team came and they kept us busy working on a new round house called The Banjo and Teresa House.  In only 10 days the building had a roof on it, plus the team worked on Round House #5 and the Eatery (dining area for volunteers/guests).  


The birthing center truss work is going very well.  Hopefully, in two weeks we are going to start lifting the trusses up (with a crane) and putting them on the building.  As soon as we finish with those trusses, then we can start working on the purlins and then attach the roofing  material, a very big step for The Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center.


Thank you very much for all of the donations you have been providing to IHP-JEMA-TZ.  Just so you know, your donations have kept us busy and bring a lot of changes to this place and not only changes, your donations also serve many lives, they help the people around Zinga.  


Without your donations there wouldn’t be anything here, and no one would have been served and people would be sick and some would have died without you.  Once again, thank you very much for doing what you are doing.

Stay blessed,


Paula Lofstrom writing

Here are some of the comments from the wonderful guests who are here now:

Hello,  (Jambo),

My name is Joan Oldroyd Smith and I am here in Tanzania with a group specifically to dispense kits and teach women to make feminine hygine  products.  I come here from Sandy, Utah, USA.  I am a retired school teacher and have 3 children and seven grandchildren.

I want to make a difference in this world and hope that my coming will serve the needs of the people here.  We have also built and planted a keyhole garden for the clinic in the hopes of raising awareness of good nutrition.  This country is beautiful as well as the people.  As I type this we are experiencing a downpour the likes I have never seen.  I have always lived in the high desert area and experiencing this climate and geology has really opened my eyes.  This is such a big beautiful world and I am grateful to be in it. 

Paula and Denny have been such gracious hosts and everyone here has been supper friendly and kind.  They are also very upbeat and happy.  It is a blessing to be able to come here.

Keyhole Garden


My name is Heidi Harmon. I am from Heber city, Utah USA. The trip had already been planned for some time. The “Days for Girls” kits were in full progress & near to reach their completion. I  am here because my sister felt prompted to ask if I could go on the trip. The answer was yes… so I am here:) This has been such a special experience for me. I feel my life is richer & brighter because of being exposed to this place. I get very emotional when I think about the work that is going on here. So many lives are being blessed & the future of Zinga, Tanzania is full of hope in living a healthier life. Thank you to Paula & Denny for their tireless work. We have been fed the most delicious food all 3 meals. The hospital has been full of patients being cared for. This will forever have an impact on my mind and heart. I want to get my nursing degree and come back to help further the work.


Jambo! My name is Erika Hulse. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I work at Primary Children’s Hospital as a medical assistant. I came to Tanzania to help distribute and help the community women make the feminine hygiene kits for Days For Girls. We had been preparing for this trip for several months. We made 200 feminine hygiene kits while we were in the United States. We also helped make a key hole garden, which was very fun. We spent the time dancing and offering help to each other. The gardeners we met are such hard workers and are so patient with their work. We visited the primary school in Zinga, which was such an incredible opportunity. The girls were so excited to see us and so attentive. I could tell they were so grateful for our time and the kits we provided to them. I do not think I could have had this experience without Paula and Denny. They kept us safe and really showed us the culture. I am amazed by this incredible experience. Everyone is so generous and full of joy. I will forever treasure the memories I have been so lucky to experience. 


My name is MaryEtta Chase and I am from Utah in the United States. I came to Tanzania with a group of women to create key hole gardens and to distribute feminine hygiene kits. This morning our group continued to build and create key gardens; and this afternoon we visited a school where we taught young girls about hygiene and then taught them how to use re-useable homemade feminine pads. A good majority of girls discontinue their school education once they start their menstruation because they do not have proper supplies. It is hard to imagine that we as humans can realistically change the world for the better, but today my mind was changed. One of the girls explained that now she will not miss school because she now has the feminine supplies she needs. Amazing. A life changed at 12 years old. Sixty kits were distributed today. Sixty lives that have the capability to change this world because of their education completion. Imagine the possibilities.  


I am Louise Bown, Team Leader for the trip to Zinga.  We spent the last year making 200 Days for Girls feminine hygiene kits to distribute to the girls of Zinga and Moshi, Tanzania.  Neema and other women in Bagamoyo asked us to teach them how to make the Days for Girls kits so that they could start a micro-business.  We also wrote a grant to fund three keyhole gardens at IHP, Zinga.  We worked with Sele, Ephraim and Joaquin to build the first keyhole garden.  They are such hard workers and so much fun to be around!  It was built of blocks made here at Zinga.  The second garden will be made of sticks and twine.  We planted carrots, spinach, beets, kale and broccoli in the first garden that is close to the Outpatient Clinic.  We are also buying a room in Paula and Denny’s house/hostel.  It will be the “Utah Friends of Tanzania” house.  When you visit, you might be able to stay in it before we do.  We plan to come again in two years.  We loved teaching the women in Bagamoyo how to make the kits.  They are so much fun to be with!  And the girls at Zinga Primary School are so polite, friendly, respectful, cute and fun!  


My name is Lisa Packer.  I am a full-time writing professor at Salt Lake Community College.  I came to Tanzania with a group of 7 other women (two students from SLCC, 3 teachers, my sister and 2 friends). We were able to build 1 full African keyhole garden with bricks and manure, with a compost pile in the middle.  I loved working with Efram and Joakim – two of the hardest working young men that I have ever met.  We worked alongside one another and really bonded as friends.  This experience in the gardens was when I started to feel I was a part of something amazing.  The dragonflies, birds, and butterflies were flying around our heads, welcoming us to our project.  I will never forget it.  When we gave out the Days For Girls hygiene kits to the girls at Zinga Primary School, I knew that what we were doing was going to change lives.  One of the girls spoke for the class and said, “We thank you for these kits and we will take good care of them.  We promise not to miss a day of school.”  My heart was full at that moment.  Miriam, the head nurse at the hospital here, said that it warmed her heart too.  I can’t end without commenting about the amazing hospitality here at International Health Partners.  Paula, Denny and Lucy are wonderful hosts.  The food was over the top and each meal was delicious.  I am inspired to cook and bake more when I return home.  I am filled with gratitude for this experience.  God bless!  Thank you for such a wonderful time.  I will be back with more friends and family!


Jambo from Alena Balmforth, visiting the Children’s Hospital from Salt Lake City, Utah. Our mission, while in Zinga, was to instruct girls about feminine hygiene, teach women to make hygiene kits to sell, and to construct and plant a keyhole garden on the hospital grounds. We accomplished all of our goals. Now that it is time to move on, how can I thank the people who have given us such incredible experiences. Everyone has been friendly, gracious, hospitable, and especially patient with a group of women from the U.S. Denny and Paula were perfect hosts, accommodating our wishes even if it meant changing plans. Lucy was an inspiration to all of us. Her kindness and help in cooking wonderful meals with Paula will be remembered forever. Neema and the other ladies we instructed were inquisitive, fast learners, and so kind. The guards, gardeners, and other staff members were always ready to help. Saying thank you is just not enough. I am taking so much more with me than I ever brought to this wonderful place.

Asante sana – until we meet again.


Hi, my name is Tenneal Spjut. I am visiting from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. While staying here in Zinga, our team worked on distributing washable reusable feminine hygiene kits that we worked on making and assembling ahead of time for about a year prior to coming. Some of the women in the local communities were also taught the steps to make their own feminine hygiene kits so that they could create micro-businesses to support their families and communities as well as to continue to replenish kits when needed. As we visited a local school the girls that received the kits were very excited as we gave them each their own personal kit to use. This was a touching an unforgettable experience that I will never forget and will keep close to my heart. 


Another part of our service we took part in was making keyhole gardens. These gardens are amazing! I loved the strategy behind them. Compost and water are distributed from the center while the outer circle of the garden is filled with topsoil, mulch and fertilizer. We planted seeds and the nutritious fruits and vegetables will provide nourishment with a small amount of water. I loved the idea of showing that keyhole gardens can be made with whatever resources are available. They will bless these beautiful people and I know that they will be used for years to come. 


I feel so full of gratitude and feel completely humbled as I have been able to have the opportunity to come and take part in just a small effort that I know will add up as each person does their part to help improve circumstances for all. 


Dr. Kanya Ferguson and Kari Wanat writing:


Karibu from Kanya Ferguson and Kari Wanat in Zinga, Tanzania. We came to Tanzania to work at the Children’s Hospital as dermatology consultants. We found that the experience far exceeded our expectations. We arrived as strangers to Tanzania and found that we were among family. The grace and poise of the patients and staff was humbling.  We found opportunities to teach and also to learn. This experience left us wanting for more. Dr. Kitundu told us that once you are in Tanzania it burns a scar in your brain. The scar has been burned in our brains and we know we will be back.  Asante Paula, Denny, Dr. Kitundu and Dr. Bon! 

Patients waiting Patiently


My name is Ron Hawley, Winona, MN

I came to finish the mission Banjo and Teresa Erickson of Houston, MN started.

I expected it to be hotter, I was pleasantly surprised. I expected good food and was very pleasantly surprised – excellent food – thank you!

I found the people happy to see us and wiling to teach us their way as well as learn from us. I found normal working environment, almost like home, within the hospital grounds. I found depressing conditions outside of the hospital grounds.

We have, for many years, sponsored children around the world. We intend to find a family to sponsor in Zinga.  That process has already started.


My name is June Hawley, Winona, MN

When I heard Banjo’s sister, Jeanne, was thinking of completing Banjo and Teresa’s dream of going on a mission trip to Tanzania, I was totally on board to go along. Teresa was my niece and I know how passionate she was about doing good and helping others less fortunate.  This is a way we could help her and her husband’s memories live on.  While on this trip, I learned we have so much in the United States but do not know how fortunate we are. When we go home, I will make my family and friend’s aware how blessed we are to live as we do and never to take it for granted. I want to do what I can to help the people of Zinga.  I think if we support the local churches here, it will help open peoples’ eyes to the Lord and His word.  Ron and I plan to stay in contact with the pastor at the Presbyterian Church we attended and support them directly, if possible.  Thank you to Paula, Denny, Lucy, Mrs. Bon for the work you do.  God Bless you for your compassion! I believe we are changed forever by seeing first-hand how much poverty exists here and we will do what we can to help our brothers and sisters in Zinga!  


My name is Lizzy Tippery and I am from Houston, MN. I came here to build a round house in honor of my aunt and uncle, Banjo and Teresa Erickson, who had started planning this trip before they passed away. This trip has been such an eye opener for me and I have realized I have so many things to be grateful for. Everyone here is so nice and so happy with the very limited quantity and quality of things they have. I have learned that I need to appreciate the little things more in life and I need to take more time to reflect on how blessed I truly am. I am so grateful for everyone I have met throughout this trip including Paula, Denny, Lucy and Mrs. Bon. They have always made sure that we were safe and comfortable, and also always kept our stomachs full of delicious food. This trip has made me want to go on more mission trips to help others who need it. 


My name is Anita Henderson and I am from Looney Valley Lutheran Church in Houston, MN.

I am 71 years old and wondered about coming on a mission trip.  This was my first mission trip and I am so glad I came.  I was able to help with painting, water, and hauling buckets of sand and rock.  I also grew so close to our team of 10 people as we were sort of strangers when we started.  We will have many memories.  Lucy, Mrs. Bon, and Paula worked so hard on delicious meals for us.  So many wonderful vegetables and fruits were prepared.  I also enjoyed meeting the African people as they were so friendly.  The visit to the church on Sunday morning was a highlight for me in seeing how much passion the pastor has for his people.  He praised God so much for all he was doing and emphasized how important school is for the little ones so they can learn to read and hear God’s word.  I hope I will be able to come back here and also do another mission trip.  


Annette Durhman from Rochester, MN 

I came on this trip to honor Teresa and Banjo. I was curious about Tanzania as many from my church have been here.  I found complete acceptance from all I met. I live in a paradise at home. These are God’s children. My heart goes out to them and want to make life better for them. It is sad to see the need. It makes me so grateful! However, God is saying “these are your brothers and sisters in Christ, do unto them as you would have them do onto you”. Don’t go home and forget what you have seen.  First I will pray for these people, next I will spread the word through my congregation and whoever will listen about the need. I plan to help financially through whatever avenue is available.


My time here has been a good experience! Hard work, balanced with great food, very loving friendly people. I like accomplishing some tasks more than others but these are tasks for all levels of skill. I have been so blessed in my life, I am truly grateful! So glad I got to serve Christ in this way.


Jeanne Tippery, Houston, MN

I came in honor of Banjo (my brother) and Teresa and to fulfill what they were planning to do.

I have learned that there is lots of poverty but people really are happy and thankful. This has affected me in that I now appreciate what we have, we have it so good!  In the next 6 months and after, I am going to pray and ask God to help me use my resources that I have to help those less fortunate in the best way I can.


I am so happy that this trip to Zinga in honor of Banjo and Teresa came true. God blessed us with money to pay for a large round house to help house volunteers who come to work. I will keep my heart and mind open for the Holy Spirit to lead me from here. After being in Zinga, I truly have many resources available to give to others less fortunate. May I never forget how blessed I am!

Banjo and Teresa Team



Greetings from Ellen and Iyad:  

We were so blessed to return to Tanzania and volunteer again with IHP – 9 years after my initial visit with a medical team at the Nyakato clinic. Iyad and I were invited to be a part of the Looney Valley team and help build a round house in honor of Teresa and Banjo. While we didn’t know this couple personally, we felt we knew them after the many stories of them that were shared while we worked.  While we worked hard on the construction project, we found time to spend reading God’s word and enjoying His creation in the beautiful Zinga area. We especially enjoyed waking up to the birds in the mornings!! Because our fields are medical (ER/OR nurse and anesthesia provider), we brought some surgical medical supplies for the hospital that we helped organize. We spent a couple afternoons visiting with Dr. Bon – learning of the anesthesia needs & what supplies and equipment are available. We hope to return in the future and use our medical skills at the children’s hospital. Iyad & Ellen Saleh


My name is Maxine Dybing.   I came to Zinga with the Looney Valley Church from Houston MN.

I have enjoyed the time here, working with the locals on the round house #6.  The Banjo and Theresa Erickson house.    It has been an eye opening experience, being here.   There are 10 of us that came over together.   Some of us knew each other, and some did not.  We have worked together as a team. The sunsets are gorgeous here.   Looking forward to more missions in the future.


My name is Joan Van Gundy.  I am 54 years old.  I am from Houston, MN.  This has been a wonderful experience.  Everyone here has been incredible.  They are all so friendly.  We took a few walks to Zinga with the Maasai to see what that was like and they are all so friendly too.  I hope to return in a couple of years to see how everything has progressed.  



My name is John Rosher and I am a Pre-Med and Economics major at the University of Kansas. I was shadowing at the Zinga Children's Hospital for three weeks. The patients we saw were always smiling no matter their complaint, and despite the limited tools for treating patients, the staff did everything in their power to treat these local patients. The care and compassion every member of the staff showed towards the patients is something every person or healthcare professional could take note of. The patient interactions and level of commitment shown by the entire staff is something that I hope one day to be able to show myself.


Hello IHP friends and supporters.


I was initially introduced to Denny, Paula, and IHP a couple of years ago through my late husband, Dr. Stephen Vanasco.  He was a friend and active supporter of the organization—he had provided anesthesia services on numerous occasions in Tanzania and was passionate about the amazing work being done by IHP.  He had fallen in love with the country and its people.  Having the personal connection to this group, my daughter (she just completed her first year of medical school) and I traveled to Zinga to participate in this mission.  It was SO much more than I had anticipated.  The clinic was lovely and the doctors, nurses, and ancillary staff were incredible.  Paula shared with me the larger vision for the mission and the clinic is just one small piece.  The plan is very well thought out and comprehensive.  When completed, this facility will provide much needed specialized care and service to a very underserved population.  To achieve this mission of service to the people of Tanzania, it is also a goal of IHP to spread awareness in other parts of the world that everyone can make a huge difference in the lives of these people, even if to us it seems small and insignificant.  IHP is very welcoming to students, clinicians, and all those willing to give of their time and talents.  We were here with a lovely group of students and friends.  It has been a truly unforgettable experience.  Thank you to Denny, Paula, and all those who made our visit very special.




Sandy Vanasco

Orlando, FL


Paula writing again:  Below is the speaking schedule.  Please think about how you can help us to expand the knowledge of how God is working through each of us here at Zinga.


Speaking Schedule, 2017-18


September 30, 2017, IHP-US Board Meeting, Newton, Iowa


October, 2017


1 – First Lutheran Church, Newton, Iowa

3-4  Nobel Conference, St. Peter, MN

8th – Albert Lea, MN

14-15 – Family Reunion, St. Mathias, MN

19, Downtown Rotary, LaCrosse, WI

22, North Presbyterian Church, LaCrosse, WI

23-24-25, Mayo Clinic Reviews, Rochester, MN

29 – Looney Valley Lutheran Church, Houston, MN


November, 2017


5 – Open  

11 - Family Wedding in Raleigh, NC

12 - Open

19 – ? Peach Tree Road Lutheran Church, Atlanta, GA ?

26 – Open


December, 2017


3 – ?Hillcrest Christian Church, Overland Park, KS?

10 – Open

17 – Open

24 – Open

25 – Christmas with family in Phoenix, AZ


January, 2018


7 - Trinity Lutheran, Simi Valley, CA

14 – Open

21 – Holy Shepherd, Lutheran Church, Orinda, CA

28 - ?Our Saviors Lutheran, Lafayette, CA?


February, 2018


4 – ?Good Shepherd, Sandy, UT ?

11 – Truckee Lutheran Presbyterian Church, Truckee, CA

18 – Immanuel Lutheran, Vancouver, WA

25 - ?Coeur D'Alene, ID ?


March, 2018


4 – Unity of Lynnwood, Lynnwood, WA

11 – Vancouver, B.C., Canada

18 – Anchorage, AK

25 – ? Fort Collins, CO


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