Health Partners

Caring for Children


July, 2017 Update from Zinga

Paula Lofstrom writing

Bulletin!  We’ve been offered at $10,000 matching grant!   The grant is for starting the NICU building with the operating rooms for women needing C-sections.  The birthing center has 14 rooms for labor and delivery, but for those with complicated deliveries, we need the operating rooms and the neonatal ICU. 


September 1st is the deadline!  So, if you can help us achieve this goal, please send checks to:


International Health Partners, U.S.

Joyce Zemel, Treasurer

1811 So. 39th St., #36

Mesa, AZ  85206




Go to our website, and click on Just Give!


Or call Joyce at:  480-540-9317 and she can charge it to your credit card.


We’ll update you weekly on the progress. 


Jesse Kitundu: President of IHP-JEMA-TZ writing:


Dear Friends to Children and Mothers to Tanzania.


It is exactly a year now since our President  of IHP JEMA TZ, Mary Ellen Kituncu, passed away. Hard to believe, as it seems as if it was only yesterday. Mary Ellen's dream  and vision remains unchanged. The project is still going on well. We thank you for your support in all aspects.  Below  you can see the trusses ready to be hoisted onto the Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center. 


We thank the teams that visited us for their contributions and moral support. You are welcome again to visit us and share with us in carrying this noble work of helping the children and mothers of Tanzania.


Your need to help those who need it is one of the strongest bridges in human nature of human kind that bonds us. 


Thank you again and Stay Blessed,


Jesse Kitundu,. MD



Charles Powell writing:


I look forward to the annual IHP Board meeting.  This will occur at the end of September this year.  After that, the plan is to go to Tanzania during the month of November to update the Tanzanian JEMA-IHP Board, review plans for future, and check on the progress of current projects.  I will be able to work on the expanding the campus wireless network we started last year, and to get started on a phone system for the facility.  As with all things, we will start small, but my hope is to get things in place for the future.


Preparation of several lessons is in progress, for presentation during my stay.  Ranging from basic to more advanced, it is always satisfying to work the staff. They are receptive and eager to learn.  But it would be nearly impossible to make meaningful presentations without the outstanding translation assistance of our Head Matron, Miriam Mugo, or  Dr. Bon.


It has been a great pleasure to follow the progress of the buildings, but especially to see the roof trusses lined up and ready to go on The Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center.  I sometimes find myself being impatient with the slow progress, and yet the progress is phenomenal.  There are many needs, and we all look forward to the day when we can begin to fulfill them.


One of the biggest challenges as we move forward is in maintaining adequate funding to continue our progress.  We have made amazing strides with the support of churches, individuals, and benefactors.  Still, our progress is slow because our funding limited.  I would like to appeal to all of our supporters to brainstorm for grants, corporate sponsorship, and other sources of funding.  This is not as easy as it might sound.  Requests to support “bricks and mortar” in a project such as this are generally very difficult to obtain.  Nonetheless, if anyone is aware of opportunities for support, please forward information either to Paula or to me.  If we do not ask, there is no chance that we will receive.  Grants will never replace people, nor will they replace your donations.  But we should explore as many avenues as we are able.


IHP continues to attract new followers, and I am hopeful we will gain an infusion of new ideas, avenues, and expertise as we grow in our commitment to serve the children of Tanzania. Children’s Hospital, Zinga, continues to move forward.



Charles W. Powell, M.D.

President, International Health Partners, US


Dennis Lofstrom writing:


It was four years ago that we began The Children’s Hospital at Zinga, breaking ground in 2013.  But Paula and I didn’t arrive on the scene until a year later.  We spent the last months of 2012 and all of 2013 and a little of 2014 fund raising all over North America including Canada, Alaska, and Hawaii.  Since then we’ve spent six months in Tanzania and six months touring and fund raising in the U.S.  Our speaking schedule for this season is below.


At Zinga the light rains generally come in October and November and the heavy rains in February and March.  But this last year the “light rainies” as they are sometimes called, or mango rains, didn’t happen and the heavy rains came later and continued much longer.  At least the farmers who had the money to replant could have a good crop. 


Some of our roads are still muddy and some were even under water even in June.  At this writing, July 20th, the roads are dry but not dusty but are deeply rutted from the mud, but the crops are being harvested.


Paula Lofstrom writing:


Bringing in the sheathes, bringing in the sheathes

We will go rejoicing

Bringing in the sheathes.


The fields of rice have turned from yellow to gold.  The farmers and their families cut and bundle the sheathes of grain then bring them into the shade under a mango tree, or sometimes just pick a spot out in the sun, lay a tarp, and beat the grains of rice from the stalks.  It sounds like a basketball bouncing.  How strong and willing the arms are to do this tedious, yet productive work.  It’s lovely sometimes to hear them singing while doing it; four people taking turns, keeping time with the rhythm of the song.  Makes you want to get out and help!


It’s a metaphor for life.  You plant and seeds (ideas, plans, dreams).  You tend them with care (nouish, water, transplant necessary when some plants wither from dry spots or insect invasion).  You scream and shout and wave away the hungry birds wanting part of your livelihood (taking what they can from your hard work), and you reap your crop, the bounty of your labor, supplemented by God’s blessings.  You store it away safely for the future, try to protect it from insects and rodents and other despoilers. 


You share what you can with those who have less and thank God for your good fortune, the land, the rains, the time for rest before starting the cycle again. 


Each of us has a part of life that could fit the above.  Our motto here at The Children’s Hospital at Zinga is to “Trust God and show up for work.”  We do.  We do God’s work here, we’re God’s assistants.  Each of us has a function.


This week we had a prayer service remembering the passing of our dear Mary Ellen Kitundu.  The pastor reminded us that her vision is the reality we’re keeping alive.  She’s with us every step of the way, obviously working “from the other side.”  Each of you who help sustain the work are part of that vision, and part of her legacy.  No one is more important or vital than another.  The cleaning staff keep the clinic beautiful and inviting.  The gardeners keep the flowers growing and keep the demonstration plots (keyhole gardens) producing to teach mothers that they can grow nourishing food for their children.  The Massai guards keep us and the property from harm of any kind, the clinical staff attend the patients with care and kindness.  We in management do our very best to make every dollar received do everything it can to continue building and maintaining The Children’s Hospital at Zinga, Mary Ellen’s vision, her dream. 


Thank you for being part of this rewarding, meaningful work. 


Paula Lofstrom



Hello, my name is Lara Gagliardi and I am going into my second year of medical school starting in the Fall. I have always been interested in medical mission work, and have volunteered abroad before. The clinic here in Tanzania is wonderful. You can tell the doctors love their jobs and care so much about their patients. The nurses are very sweet and welcoming, and the people of Zinga are kind and gracious. I wish I spoke more Swahili so I could have had more conversations with the local people!

The living quarters are very nice and spacious. The food is also delicious and home-cooked three times a day! If you bring some books to read in your down time you will be very pleased with your experience.


Hello, my name is Brie Hussey and I just graduated from high school and will be starting nursing school in the Fall. I have always loved mission work and traveling, so this was the perfect fit for me. If you come to Zinga in a medical position, the clinic is an absolutely amazing experience. All the staff are kind and phenomenal teachers. I spent three weeks in clinic and I would have stayed more if I had known how wonderful it was.

Living on the property is very nice. It is very secure with guards 24/7, amazing home cooked food, and plenty of room. Bring activities to do in your downtime in the evening and it is the perfect set up. This was an amazing experience and very worth pursuing.


Spencer Treu writing:  Here I sit, enjoying yet another beautiful Tanzanian morning, taking my last few breaths of fresh African air. My last few breaths for now anyway, I will without a doubt be returning in the future, my farewells this morning will be a “see you later” not a “goodbye”. As I type, it’s difficult to stop looking up and smiling as I see Mrs. Bon and Lucy busy in the kitchen after a wonderful breakfast, Paula cleaning and organizing, Denny writing, and my new friends enjoying coffee and tea on the porch. As Denny would say, I don’t think I finished sleeping last night, I spent much of the night lying by the swimming pool looking into the stars, digesting everything I have experienced here the past two months.


I am an avid traveler, student, and aspiring physician. I am going into my fifth year of my undergraduate career, some may call me a super senior, but I like to think of it as taking a victory lap. As I sat in the van with Paula on my way here, my mind began to run wild with curiosity for the adventure I signed up for. I spent a month with a group from WSU (Winona, MN State Univ.) near Arusha before coming down to Zinga. A few hours before I sat down in the van with Paula, I watched all of my new friends from WSU get on a plane and fly home. It was tough to see them go, I thought about them being home as I sat in Dar traffic at 11:00 pm hungry and thirsty. I thought to myself “what have I gotten myself into?” Looking back now, I can genuinely say I wouldn’t trade my time here for anything. My clinical experience here in Zinga was phenomenal and exceeded my expectations. I’m most amazed by the perspective and attitude the patients and staff have. All of the employees are so grateful for this institution and it’s easy to see they love working here. All of the patients that come in are so grateful for the resources this clinic offers and the physician’s knowledge. The clinic has been an excellent environment for a student, I feel that whomever I work with takes me in under their wing and truly wants me to learn. As I step onto my flight this afternoon, I will not be going home the same person. I will not say goodbye so “See you later Tanzania”.   


Meredith Quinlan:  During this past week I have had the opportunity to volunteer for IHP.  Throughout this week I have learned so much. I had never left the country before so during this trip I was able to take in a different culture.  In America we get so caught up in our own busy lives we forget about the others who need our help.  During my trip I was able to paint five huts and spend a day in the clinic seeing the flow of things.  I feel very blessed that I was fortunate enough to come on this trip and can’t wait to come back some day! Great things are getting accomplished here in Zinga!


Jerod Beaderstadt:  This week I have got to experience many new things here in Zinga! I was able to see a different culture and many different types of wildlife.  During the week I have helped paint buildings and was able to go to the clinic for a day.  My help may be needed in building a door for the x-ray machine.  I am glad that I have been able to make a difference here in Africa.  Once I get home I am going to spread the word about IHP so the building can continue!


Janet Findlater:  I am from Iowa. I helped paint the round huts where the volunteers stay when here.  It has been an amazing experience!  Paula, Denny, Lucy, and Mrs. Bon made us feel so welcomed and safe.  From the time they picked us up at the airport until our departure, we were in very good hands.  And we were certainly well-fed.  Spending a morning in the clinic with Dr. Bon was a highlight.  He treated everyone with care, a smile, and respect.  We learned a lot about malaria.  Going to church with Dr. Bon was also something I will remember.  While we accomplished quite a bit, there is so much more on the to-do list.  We hope to return soon to continue our work. 


Mary Pace from Zinga again.  I am sure that many of you expect to hear from me in the summer every year because this is my 8th trip to this country.  Wow has time gone by quickly.  The first time I arrived here in 2009, I wanted to do something to be productive and help with providing medical care to the people of Tanzania.  I did not have a medical background but tried to help as much as I could.  This was always a bit of let-down though because people would say what do you do to help the clinic and I would say laundry, cooking, or small jobs like staining.  I always felt a little left down with my own answer because it seemed it was nothing that really helped the health and well-being of the patients in Tanzania. 


This year God opened up a new world for me by providing a purpose and the reason that I had been cooking, etc. to support those people in the medical field and construction.  I guess first of all I need to explain what I do in my everyday life.  I am a Special Education teacher for severe and profound children.  How could this help me in the medical field you might ask.  I’ve been coming here for quite a while, clueless about what I could be doing just because I didn’t think outside the box as we say at school.


I went to church one Sunday with our amazing Dr. Bonn.  We were talking about how I needed to get back to the states because I have two jobs to help fund the work I do here every year.  We talked about what I do with my kids at school, and therapy came into the conversation.  I have been trained by some of the best therapists in Kansas City to provide those services for my kids.  That is when the lightbulb came on!!!!!  God has a purpose for me here.  He just made me figure it out by myself.  I could provide physical, occupational, and language therapy to patients. 


There are two amazing little boys here in Zinga who had the privilege of benefiting from some donated adaptive equipment.  I saw pictures of those boys in the equipment, and my mind started working.  Since I have been here, I have made more adaptive equipment to compliment what the boys had already received.  I made them out of anything I could get my hands on.  It was quite challenging and sometimes frustrating, but the items are made and are being used.  These two boys now have adaptive straps, adaptive markers/spoons, ankle-foot supports, back supports, and neck supports made from Agua Jogger equipment that Lew and Kathy Thorne ahd given to Paula and Denny.  We have a regular routine of stretching and range of motion that will be continued by the staff in the clinic weekly.  I plan keeping on the lookout for used and outgrown equipment to bring back with me next year.  I have spent weeks watching these boys color in a coloring book with an amazing grin on their faces.  This warms might heart every time we do it.  The experience of helping in a new way has lightened up my world even brighter than it was before I can now make a difference in a new realm here along with what I have always done.  It took coming here year after year, for this amazing experience to occur. 


I have always said that you don’t have to have a specific skill to come and volunteer.  You just need to come and the work will find you.  I can now also say that you might not know what your contribution will be right away.  You might have to come here and let God develop it for you in his time frame not yours.  I can only hope that it doesn’t take 8 trips to figure out that gift like it did me.  (Although I am sure that IHP would be thrilled if you came that many consecutive years) 


But SERIOUSLY, you might not know sitting at home reading this right now what your gift to give is.  God will do the same thing with you he has done with me.  Specific skills have never been required.  There are an abundant jobs that can be done here every day.  Come find out what you were meant to accomplish here.  When your path is revealed, it will be one of the best moments in your life.


Until next year,

Mary Pace


Katie and Brady here, two medical students from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. For the past 2 months, we have been working mostly with Dr. Bon and Dr. Eric since Dr. Kitundu has had to take care of a lot of administrative issues during our time. However, we were still lucky enough to hear and experience many of his famed teaching moments.

A typical day for us starts with a homemade breakfast from Paula and Lucy before all of the students walk half a mile along the dirt road to the clinic for work. Although all of the interactions between the doctors and patients are in Swahili, we get to work as scribes, which means the entire history is translated to English while the patient is talking. This has not only helped to clarify our medical understanding of each patient visit, but has also enabled us to learn some clinical Swahili. As first year medical students, we were able to hone our physical exam and medical interview skills, as well as assist with ultrasounds and minor procedures.

After a year of medical school in the United States, it has been enlightening to compare “general medicine” here to that in our home country. We have been amazed by the variety of cases seen here each day, ranging from the diabetes and hypertension we are accustomed to seeing in the U.S. to numerous cases of malaria, typhoid fever, parasitic infestations, sickle cell anemia, dental filings, and malnutrition. Seeing malaria parasites under microscopy became a right of passage for all of the students. Even more incredible is the fact that one generalist and one pediatrician see all of these cases that would, in America, typically be referred to specialists (especially dental fillings!). That all of these patients have the opportunity to be seen here, even with limited resources, begs the question of what elements of clinical practice are truly vital in providing comprehensive care. Despite the differences we have observed between the The Children’s Hospital at Zinga and well-established healthcare facilities in the U.S., it has become increasingly apparent that the fundamental needs of all patients are very much the same – to be treated with compassion, respect, and the reassurance that they are receiving the best care possible. When Dr. Kitundu takes the time to explain to a 3 year-old how his stethoscope is, in fact, very different from a vaccination syringe, or when Dr. Bon spends an extra 15 minutes ensuring his 80 year-old patient understands that hypertension medication should be taken every day, even when they are not feeling sick. I am certain that IHP is building a hospital that already has and will continue to raise the standard of care for Tanzania. I hope that I will one day have the opportunity to return when the clinic is admitting patients and contribute as a physician to this organization’s honorable mission.

Thank you so much to the clinic staff who became not only our mentors and work colleagues but more importantly, friends. We will miss you all, asante sana. 

Hello, my name is Lilly Hennessey and I'm a pre-medical student at Davidson College. I came here simply because I couldn't turn down the opportunity and wanted to learn while trying to make a difference, but I am here for the patients. Paula and Denny spoke at my school in North Carolina several months ago. After meeting them, I wanted nothing more than to be able to make it to Zinga and thankfully, I found a way. I spent most of my time here observing pediatricians Dr. Kitundu and Dr. Eric as they saw patients. I also spent some time observing work in the lab and auditing the pharmacy. 


I say I am here for the patients because they are the real reason I'm doing what I'm doing. I know how pivotal health difficulties can be in a child's life and how dramatically experiences in a hospital can alter them. Because of that, I plan on majoring in global health and becoming a pediatrician. Now, my drive and passion to help children is stronger than ever, thanks to IHPand the patients and staff at Zinga.


What I did not anticipate, however, was how much I would personally learn and gain from coming here. Dr. Bon, Dr. Eric, Dr. Kitundu, and a lab technician Anura taught me so much more than I hoped and demonstrated how to be a caring, yet effective medical professional. Paula was spot-on when she said the focus is on relationships in Tanzania, a lesson from which I think we can all learn. I loved getting to know the incredible staff members at the clinic who all care so much about the patients and each other. I know now that pediatrics is truly my passion and that one day, I'll make it back out here, hopefully as a doctor. My month in Tanzania has been everything I hoped for and definitely an unforgettable experience. And let me just say, you can tell Paula and Denny owned a bed and breakfast.  

Hi, my name is Aiko Chamby and I am a fourth-year student at Davidson College in North Carolina. I am keenly interested in pursuing a career in medicine upon graduation and I am grateful to have been afforded this educational and humbling experience.

I have spent the past six weeks at the outpatient clinic shadowing and scribing for the widely-trained physicians, assisting in procedures, as well as helping to run tests in the lab. I have gained so much, from learning how to perform an ultrasound, to identifying malaria parasites under the microscope, remembering how to spell “cephalexin,” to learning what patient care truly entails. Despite the language barrier, from the first day I could see how comfortable Dr. Bon made his patients feel, taking the time to answer their questions, and watched how Dr. Kitundu made the children laugh with ease and let him examine them. The compassion and the dedication of the clinical staff is palpable, and make it clear as to why patients come far and wide to be treated here.

Despite the challenges and limitations that come with a low income and third world setting, The Children’s Hospital at Zinga holds itself to a high standard of care and works so that one’s health and survival is not determined by where he or she is born. I look forward to returning in the future and seeing the progress the hospital has made and how it has continued to help this underserved community in so many ways. Until then, I will miss this beautiful place and the family and friends I have met here. Asante sana and tutaonana baadaye! (See you later!)

Below is the speaking schedule so far for 2017-18.  Those in green have not been confirmed yet.  There are lots of midweek dates that could be filled in people’s living rooms, Rotary clubs, schools, etc. 

Blessings and gratitude,

Paula and Denny