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July 2019 Update from Zinga

Jesse Kitundu writing:

The weather is just perfect not as hot as during the rainy season. Of course, for those who want to visit Zinga, this is the right time. 

If we look at our clinical data from January up to April the number of patients attended per month is above 400 mainly for infectious diseases.  We had fewer infectious disease patients in May and June because it’s dryer and cooler.

Dear Friends of Mothers and Children of Tanzania. The project is progressing steadily. We are completing the interior of Birthing Centre, which means that a few things are still needed in addition to the sewage system. The area where we are has a high water table, therefore, it requires special sewage costing Tsh 55million (USD $25,000.00).

We thank you and appreciate your support.  We are almost there, as always, some funds are still needed. 

Jesse Kitundu, President, IHP-JEMA-TZ

Charles Powell writing:

Lynne and I are excited to be able to return to Zinga about one month from now.  I’m sure we will see progress far beyond the photos and descriptions that have been issued.  I am also very excited to announce that we will have David Holdt, MD, a retired OB/GYN, and hospital department manager, along with his wife Sylvera, a retired registered OB nurse, who will accompany us this trip.  I met Dr. Holdt and his wife in Scottsbluff NE, during the three years I was working there on a steady basis.  I know the information and insights provided by them will be valuable to the hospital project.  Planning and more planning is the business at hand.  We start with a meeting of the Tanzanian board, then hammer out details during the rest of the visit.  Of course, it will also be an opportunity to visit with the many friends we have at Zinga.  To this, I always look forward!

I do not think we can say enough how much we appreciate the generous support and donations that make the project at Zinga possible.  Once again thank you! Your donations and support have made a miracle happen and your continued support makes great things not only possible, but it also makes them happen.

Charles W. Powell, MD

President - International Health Partners US

Paula Lofstrom writing:

In this picture you see our neighbors “reaping what they sow.”  The rice crop was diminished this year because of lack of rain when they were needed and then when they came it was at the wrong time.  Therefore, every grain of rice is important.

It has been three years since we lost our beloved Mary Ellen Kitundu.  She sowed the seeds of faith, hope, insight, and trust that led to the partnership she and Denny and I formed that became International Health Partners, U.S., Inc.  Her final admonition to us (all of us, not just Denny and me) was, “You must continue” and we have.  We have almost completed The Mary Ellen Kitundu Memorial Birthing Center.  We are almost ready to reap what she sowed.  

Mary Ellen was the visionary for International Health Partners.  She saw what was missing and needed to be.  She was a strong woman with strong faith and strong determination.  She wanted to build a hospital for the children of Tanzania where they would get first-rate care.  She could see what needed to be, and she was determined to make it happen.  

Mary Ellen wanted to serve the poorest of the poor.  We even talked one time about never having to send a bill.  Without major backing, that won’t happen, but we can do the very best we can to deliver the finest services possible with as low a cost as we can manage.  Your donations help to make that possible.  Thank you.  

The $15,000 challenge grant to help to buy the “sanitaries” as we call them here for the bathrooms in the birthing center is about 2/3 of the way there.  Please, help us to make that happen.  Help this fabulous building to achieve Mary Ellen’s view of how a pregnant woman should be served when delivering their babies.  She designed this building along with Denny and together they came up with a model for creating a safe place for women and their newborns to survive.  

Denny talked about the preparations for our upcoming move to the house/hostel just 100 yards away from this house.  I’ll be 77 next month and this is the first house I’ve ever had designed for me (and only 16 other folks).  We thank the Powells for letting us be squatters in their house for these past 5 years.  

In 2020 we’ll have two teams a month from the middle of May until the middle of September.  We’re going to need every bed we can manage to accommodate the folks coming to help make Mary Ellen’s vision come true.  It is a blessing beyond measure that people send the money for the building and people come to help with the building.  It is a blessing beyond measure that medical folks come to volunteer their time and expertise to learn and to share with our clinicians.  God is at work within and through each one of us and bestows his blessings upon those we serve through our efforts.  Thank you, and thank you, God.

When the birthing center is completed, we’ll be striving to finish the O.R./NICU building (Neonatal Intensive Care Units), and then the PICU building (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and acute care for very sick children).  The NICU building has the roof on it but the interior is rough yet.  The PICU building is just a foundation.  Lots of work for volunteers to do.  Our construction team loves interacting with the volunteers and the people in the community are amazed when people come all the way from America to help them have better access to quality healthcare.  It is a wonderful way to serve God by serving each other!

Of course, all of the building costs money.  Additionally, because our prices are so very low, IHP must assist with the salaries of the employees.  If the clinic charged enough to cover all of the salaries, the prices for the patients would be beyond their reach.  It is your generosity that makes up the difference.  Thank you.  

If you have the heart to give and the money to share, send love to children you will probably never meet, and make life better for families in Tanzania, please send a check for whatever you’re comfortable with to:

IHP – Matt West, Treasurer

8016 No. Everton Ave.

Kansas City, MO  64152

Because our website is being updated, Dr. Petersen has extended the Christmas In July $15,000 grant challenge another two weeks.  Please call Matt at 816-985-4406 or Joyce at 480-540-9317 to have your donation put on your credit card.  

Below is our speaking schedule for the upcoming season in the U.S.  Please peruse it and see if there is a time when we’re close to you.  We’d love to meet you, greet you, and share the story of IHP with you and your friends.

Blessings and gratitude,


Dennis Lofstrom writing:

There has been some progress made, if only in the talking stage at the moment, for our move from the Powell’s house where we have been “camping out” for five years.  Our house/hostel is now in the “almost habitable” condition where we’re thinking of getting boxes and starting to sort and packing up.  We have to be moved in four weeks.  The house doesn’t have all the floors in yet, it does have most of the electricity done, none of the “sanitaries” as bathroom fixtures are called here yet.  Some of the bathrooms have tile, some not.  The house/hostel will accommodate 16 besides us, and possibly more than that when necessary.  

The basic structure, foundations, walls, roof, a deck are completed and the floors re being poured using a light gray colored cement mixture to lighten up the interior of the house.  Tile is too expensive.  The wide porches all around make the interior of the house dark and shadowed, but the porches are wonderful living space in this beautiful tropical climate and setting.  

We will be packing our belongings into boxes and moving them into our house as soon as the floors are hardened and dry.  We’ll move our furniture from this house to the new house and just stack it in the middle of the rooms until the team coming from Vancouver, WA can paint the walls for us.  Then we’ll complete the “moving in” process as much as possible.  Things like railings, cutting a door and windows into the basement under the porch entrance, etc., will have to wait until next year.  

I walk with a rolling walker and Sele has made all of the doors easy for me to negotiate.  At 91, I’m looking forward to our move to a new home here at Zinga.  You’re invited to come to enjoy it, too!  By the way, we think I am now the oldest practicing physician in Tanzania.  

Blessings and gratitude,


Selemani Shabani writing (Sele)


I hope all is well with you. 

I am glad to share with you the July 2019's update here in Zinga Bagamoyo. 

This big house is more like a hostel. We call it a big house or hostel. When this is completed it will be able to accommodate 18 people. 

We are done smoothing the walls, the ceiling is hung, the wiring is completed, and power is connected to the house. The plumbing is done, except the water is not yet connected to the house and the sinks, toilets, and showers have not been purchased or installed yet.  We are working on the floor for the time being. 

After the floor is poured and cured we will be hanging the doors, installing the mosquito screens, sanitary fittings, connecting the water to the house, and painting.  We have a team coming to assist with the painting.  

After all of these things then the house will be done and the team can help the Lofstroms move into the new house. The house must be completed within three (3) weeks! 

Thank you so much for being an IHP donor. 

Thank you so much for your donations.

I am still asking for your help again and again so that we can proceed with doing this work here. 

For all of those who have not come to Zinga, I’m inviting you to come to see how your donations are being used and to meet the people whose lives have been transformed by the care received at The Children’s Hospital at Zinga.  You are truly doing the work of Jesus Christ in the world today.

It's true you have touched a lot of lives through your help and support. 

Thank you, 

Thank you, 

Thank you,

Let’s continue to make this world a better place. 

Best Regards;

Selemani Shabani

Contractor, IHP

Hello, my name is Sami and I'm a fourth-year medical student at the University of Sheffield, UK. I came to Zinga for 3 weeks last month and loved every minute of it. All of the doctors are so keen to teach and the patients and staff are so welcoming. I experienced tropical medicine in a way that I never thought I would and saw everything that I wanted to and more. I am so grateful to everyone for making this an experience that I will never forget. 

Hi!  Mary Pace again.  Let me start by saying that I am a Special Education Teacher in the states.  I have learned some very valuable therapies from very knowledgeable therapists in my school.  When this was discussed with Dr. Bon three years ago, he realized that I could perform physical, occupational and language therapy with the children of Zinga.  Three years ago, I started with 2 patients.  In the second year, we started with those 2 and added 5 more by the end of my time here.  This year I have provided services to 6 of the 7 children.  One was on safari while I was here.  We also added 4 new patients. 

Two of those new patients that have made amazing progress during my time with them.  One little boy is five, and has Attention Deficit Disorder and has some characteristics of Autism.  When he began coming, he had many areas that were difficult for him.  He had trouble with transitions, staying on task, playing with other peers, interacting with others, and managing his behaviors.  As of the end of this week, the mother is amazed at what this young man has accomplished.  He is able to understand and negotiate transitions with picture icons and sign language.  He is able to sit and work without being distracted. He will even go to the chair and table and start doing work during his free time.  He has learned how to play with his peers and shows affection to adults in his world.  His teachers have asked the mom what has changed in his world to bring about all of this startling progress.

The other young man, age 12, came without an official diagnosis but has symptoms related to Cerebral Palsy.  The first day the patient came, he was not interacting with anyone.  He would not stand or make any eye contact with others.  By the end of my time with him, he has acquired many useful skills.  He is able to hold an adaptive spoon and bring up to his face.  He is able to take a 5-inch and 3-inch ball and move them from hand to hand.  These skills show improvement in fine motor and eye-hand coordination.  He laughs and gets excited during therapy.  He has even been known to get up and dance.  His mother says he is always smiling and happy when he realizes he is at the clinic.  He smiles and laughs during therapy, and these are things he does not do at home.  When others come into the room he smiles and makes eye-contact whether he knows them or not.

I feel like I have accomplished so much this year with these patients.  It is hard to believe the first time I came here, I thought I was coming without skills.  I have come to this amazing country 11 times. Some of my tasks were washing dishes, doing laundry, typing, computer work, ironing, and construction.  Those jobs were as important as my therapy, and I still do them along with the therapy.  I have felt like I contribute every time I am here no matter what I do.  This is a place where every skill or task completed is appreciated and needed.  I have become a more confident and appreciative person because of my experiences here.  I urge you to come and live the experience.  I promise you will not be sorry. 

Hello, my name is Janet Foglesong.  When I was fourteen years old and attending a summer camp sponsored by my church, I made a promise to God and to myself that I would someday be a nurse missionary to Africa. Other than service to God and man, my inspiration for this endeavor came from a Christian missionary named Rod Cameron, who was serving in Southern Rhodesia. He and his wife were speaking at our camp about their work and I knew then that I wanted to do the same.

Since that time, many, many years have passed and I have now worked in the health care field for over 50 years. I have been a registered nurse since 1967 and a certified Women's Health Nurse Practitioner since 1993. I began annually serving as a medical missionary in Guatemala in 2011, working with the under-served village people there. It is now time that I fulfill my promise to God and myself and come to Africa.

Southern Rhodesia no longer exists; it is now Zimbabwe, so Tanzania and International Health Partners have become my mission. I am so impressed with the facilities and the work being done here. In 1960, I pictured myself living in a grass hut of some sort; in 2019, I am living in a modern house with modern facilities and working in a very modern clinic with a great computer system. How things have changed! And how they have not! We are still seeing people in the clinic with malaria, dental caries, hypertension, diabetes, poor self-care, and many who have been 'treated' by a 'witch doctor'. Such a need that IHP is filling! I am so glad to be here and see the work they are doing!

Ron and Jan Overmyer came for a second visit this year.  They made a listing of the changes they noted.  It’s a GREAT way to see how your money has been spent.

Children’s Hospital at Zinga - List of Changes from September 2017 to July 2019


We were volunteers at the hospital in August/September 2017 and in June/July 2019. Ron assisted with maintenance and construction. He also assisted in writing the original business plan for the hospital project.

Jan assisted as a nurse and instructor for staff at the outpatient clinic. We were asked to share our observations about the hospital complex changes between the time of our first visit and of our second visit. Following are the changes that we have observed;

Birthing Center

2017 – Walls up and rafters being installed.

2019 – Almost complete. Doors have been installed but handles and locks need to be installed. Painting is in progress. Equipment and fixtures need to be installed.


2017 – Twin lines for the foundation were just being strung.

2019 – Foundation, walls, floors, and ceiling have been built.


2017 – Non-Existent.

2019 – Foundation built.

X-Ray Unit

2017 – Completed but not approved for use by the Atomic Energy Commission.

2019 – Fully functioning.


2017 – Non-existent.

2019 – Structure is built but equipment needs to be installed before it is functioning.

Counseling Clinic Offices

2017 – Non-existent.

2019 – Foundation and walls are built.

Outpatient Clinic

2017 – Original outpatient clinic since inception

2019 – Additional room added to the laboratory. Divided one doctor exam room two doctor exam rooms. Added phone intercom system among all departments.

Mechanics Garage

2017 – Non-existent

2019 – Foundation and walls are built.

The Eatery

2017 – The eatery was built and was in the process of inside painting. No equipment was installed. No items were in the gift shop attached to the eatery.

2019 – The eatery is finished. Equipment is installed. It is being used to feed volunteer teams at the hospital. The gift shop is stocked with local artisan items.


2017 – No ambulance and no large transportation bus.

2019 – Ambulance and large transportation bus. Ambulance still needs to be stocked with supplies and equipment.

Outpatient Clinic Staff

2017 – Staffing level was understaffed. Pharmacist had to be replaced. Head nurse was on a one-month vacation.

2019 – Clinic staff positions filled. An additional doctor has been added to the medical staff. Staff wear identification name tags.

Guest Houses

2017 – Foundation for number 6 guest house.

2019 – Guesthouses numbers 6 and 7 completed.

Main House

2017 – Final finishing of house not completed.

2019 – Ceiling installed. Outside painted. New washing machine.

Lofstrom House/Hostel

2017 – Foundation built.

2019 – Fully enclosed with walls and roof. Electricity and plumbing service installed. Floors, lighting, plumbing fixtures, ceiling, windows, painting and other finishing work still needs to be done.


2017 – Landscaping was minimal around main house, guest houses and the outpatient clinic. Pavers were just being installed in the walkway near the eatery.

2019 – Increased planting of hedges, plantings and flowers planted in main house, guest houses and outpatient clinic area. Paver walkways completed at the eatery and along the outpatient clinic to the water purification and X-Ray unit.

Zinga Community

The community has changed since the start of the hospital initiative in 2013. Industry is moving into the area. The population of Zinga has increased from about 4,000 people to 7,000 people. The industries are bringing additional wealth to the area. Other villages and towns outside of Zinga are also industrializing, increasing in population and increasing in wealth. This should increase the number of potential clientele for the Hospital.

Prepared by;

Ron and Jan Overmyer

Oak Harbor, Ohio

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