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May 2019 Update from Zinga

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

Jesse Kitundu writing:

What a blessed Month!

Let me start by thanking all those who visited us and yet every one of them volunteered to do some activity that added a certain value to our facility and as well as to the community surrounding us.

It will nice to hear from them of their feelings, contributions and suggestions.

Once again, I thank our guests for their contributions, moral support and to stay with us.

God bless you all.


Jesse A.Kitundu, MD

President ,IHP-JEMA TZ 

Dennis Lofstrom writing:

The rainy season (late this year) has finally started and the roads are flooded (cutting down the number of patients seen in the OPD (out-patient department) which is unfortunate.  It is also Ramadan and many people here are Muslim and they cannot eat or drink (consequently, take medicine) during the day time, so therefore no reason to come to the clinic if ill.  

The visiting medical teams have many projects to work on, and those that have been here so far have been so helpful with the inventory of the medical containers.  Now, we’ll move on to inventory of the other containers holding furniture for the buildings, more medical supplies, and building supplies.  Organization is such a HUGE job, and having the help to do it is quite a blessing.

Construction on the birthing center, neonatal ICU building is moving along as well as our house/hostel that will sleep 16 besides Paula and me.  This must be finished at the same time as the birthing center as Charles and Lynne Powell will be moving here when we are delivering babies and will need their house where we have been living for five years.  

Thank you to ALL of you who have contributed to these projects.

Blessings to all,


Paula Lofstrom writing:

What a joy to have had such wonderful volunteers and medical residents here these past few weeks.  We get to see things through new eyes and listen to their good suggestions on how to make things even better.  Yay!  Count on God to send you the help you need when you need it.  Thank you, God.

Thank you to those generous souls who sent donations for the Special Needs Fund!  Then I know at least a few people are reading this Update.  If you’d like to be deleted from this list, please just ask me and I’ll remove your name.  I don’t know how to do that “unsubscribe” thing I see on other newsletters.

Our bus is up and running!  Thank you to all of those who contributed to the Bus Fund last year!  Finally, we have a bus to transport staff and visitors.  It isn’t new, it has some old age issues, but we’re working on those and we’re so happy to have it.

Each and every person who comes out has something to contribute.  My honest belief is that they take away far more than they bring when it comes to being spiritually “fed” by their experiences here.  Beware!  When you come, you may get Tanzaphilia and have to keep returning.  

To help this project continue going forward and to help pay for the wastewater project ($24,000), please send what you feel comfortable doing to:

IHP, Matt West, Treasurer

8016 N. Everton Ave.

Kansas City, MO  64152

or go to our website, www.ihptz.organd click on PayPal

or call Joyce Zemel at 480-540-9317 and she’ll put it on your credit card.

For those who have your banks mail us monthly payments, please call and change the address from Joyce’s in Mesa, AZ to Matt’s, as above.

Our speaking schedule is below.  There are lots of open Sundays and mid-week days open for presentations.  Please look and see when we’ll be in your region and let us know if you, your church, your quilting group, your book club, your Rotary, Lions, or Kiwanis would like to hear the story of IHP.

Blessings and gratitude,


My name is Phoebe Jensen and I am an internal medicine resident from Tulane University. I came to Zinga to learn more about the practice of medicine in a low-resource setting. 

From the moment I set foot on campus, I have been impressed with the program and those involved. The physicians are thoughtful, intelligent, and are experts at incorporating a patient’s social situation into a treatment plan. I am grateful for the opportunity to train here and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a global health elective. I hope to utilize the skills I have learned here and incorporate them into my training when I return to New Orleans.

Hello all! My name is Ana Norell, a 3rd year Family Medicine resident at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, WI. I am in the middle of my 4th week here in Zinga, and what an amazing experience it has been! Going into residency, I knew that I wanted some sort of global health experience, and after reading about several places that Mayo Clinic had connections with, I chose IHP in Tanzania. I really had no idea what to expect, other than I would be in Africa and likely would be dealing with a lot of tropical medical concerns that obviously I had not had much experience within the Midwest.

From my first moment at IHP, I was welcomed warmly and jumped right in. This month has been a little lighter as far as patient load goes, simply because it is Ramadan and also the rains were a month later this year than normal (I think there have only been 3 days that it hasn't rained since I've been here). As the clinic is in quite a rural setting, it is difficult for patients to get to us when there is a lot of water on the roads. Despite this, those that needed us were still able to find us. 

I've seen everything from malaria, typhoid, dengue fever, tropical ulcer, peptic ulcer disease, amoebiasis, rashes, infertility, pregnancy and so much more. It has been incredible to see the interactions between Drs. Kitundu, Bon, Kenny, and their patients. The physicians' and clinic staff's ability to provide excellent care with vastly different resources than I am used to is something that will follow me throughout my career. Being able to meet the patients, build a relationship, listen to their concerns, perform tests, and provide treatment in a stand-alone clinic in just a short amount of clinic time has been such an incredible experience. We've even started a research project to determine the prevalence of hypertension and diabetes in the local community to help provide better care for them! I have definitely learned a little more about using resources wisely, being cognizant of cost, and going with the flow, all things that these providers do without batting an eye. I am excited to see the amazing things that Children's Hospital, Zinga will do once they have their Maternal-Child Health center, NICU, and PICU up and running. I feel very blessed to have gotten this opportunity.

Pastor James Wakefield, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Sandy, Utah

This is my fifth trip to the Children’s Hospital in Zinga. I love it here and I love the people we get to serve with. Monday I played computer tech. I served as the photographer on Tuesday and Friday, did some writing on Wednesday and Thursday, and filled in my time with prayer, reading, and lots and lots of conversations. This is the real deal. I will continue to visit, support, and fund-raise for this wonderful place. Next year, we will bring two teams in July. Call or write if you want to join Lutherans from Utah in our mission to Tanzania!

Jambo! From the Children’s Hospital at Zinga. My name is Dawn Wakefield.

I am a pediatric physical therapist, and this was my third trip to the hospital. My husband and I are strong supporters of the work that Denny, Paula, Mary Ellen, and Dr. Jesse envisioned so many years ago, and are now joyfully watching come alive. The progress on the project is astounding when you consider that everything is made by hand (yes, even the bed frame and headboard in our round house), refurbished or re-purposed (Tanzanian ingenuity turned old car parts into a concrete mixing machine), or donated.

I used old ankle braces to make elbow splints for 9-month old twin boys, and I was able to bless a family with a wheelchair I rescued from the junk heap (mama still carries her 10-year old girl on her back when she has to take a piki-piki (local motorcycle used as a taxi). 

I am in constant awe of how much can be done with so little.  The physicians and nurses have outstanding knowledge and work miracles for families every day with few resources. Paula and Denny demonstrate remarkable hospitality, opening their home to countless residents, volunteers, and students. The volunteers I’ve met all have given joyfully of their talents and energy.  I feel ever so grateful that God has called me to be part of this amazing project!

My name is Jas Sara and I am a second-year Internal Medicine resident at Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN.

I completed medical school at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, where I was born and raised prior to choosing to come to the United States to undertake research initially and then to pursue post-graduate medical training.  As part of my clinical elective this year I chose to participate in the Mayo International Health Program, and amongst a range of sites with which Mayo has established connections, I elected to come to the Children’s Hospital in Zinga, Tanzania.  This represented my first trip to Africa, though it became clear to me shortly after I arrived that it would not be my last!

I had no clear expectations prior to arriving but thought that this trip would provide a nice opportunity to see some of the inner workings of a charitable medical organization in a resource-poor setting, whilst allowing me to see diseases and a patient population that I had never been exposed to before in my medical training.  The single greatest lesson that I have learnt during this experience is that a great deal can be achieved with not very much - a principle borne out of not only being in a position in which you do not have many options but also of a conscious decision to be resourceful and to make the most of whatever you do have. This applies to the impressive yet nonetheless humble clinicians that I have worked with here who underpin their clinical assessments with highly refined history taking and physical exams whilst sparingly making use of only the most essential investigations, conscious of cost limitations imposed on a patient group in whom testing for a full blood count could mean no dinner!  It equally applies to the indomitable pursuits of Paula and Denny for whom the seamlessly well-run outpatient department, where the wonders of good teamwork are on display for all to see, is just the beginning.  With the prospective opening of the birthing center this summer not to mention the construction of operating theaters, neonatal and pediatric intensive care units and emergency medical facilities, one cannot help be taken aback and be inspired with how a once singular vision has evolved into such astonishing results – and all through donations!  

A simple idea combined with a tireless work ethic, not forgetting a generous helping of breakfasts comprising French toast and Lucy’s famous home-cooking, can clearly achieve a great deal! Paula and Denny mean business, and if you spend enough time listening to them, you begin believing that you could too!   As I leave, we are implementing an epidemiologic study based on data that we are obtaining from patient surveys.  Having never before compiled a village announcement in Swahili that will be delivered using a megaphone and used DJ equipment, I was greatly appreciative of the enthusiastic assistance of Dr. Kenny, Dr. Bon and Dr. Kitundu, who along with Drs. Anna Norrell and Phoebe Jensen, we will be collaborating within this project going forward.  The prospects of what could arise from this study are as exciting as our week on Safari and snorkeling in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Zanzibar - from specialized hypertension clinics to a framework for undertaking independent research in this region and even Tanzania as a whole.  Further testimony to what can be achieved if one is brave enough to imagine it, determined enough to work for it, and resourceful enough to make the most of what is available!

This is Tom Gilbertson...Juanita and I are here in Tanzania. We’re a couple of broken down Lutherans from Moraga, CA....and are having more than a wonderful time! We are able to see close up all of the wonderful work that you are doing, AND what you are have accomplished! The building program is astounding!

My name is Diana Yorgan. My church (Holy Shepherd Lutheran Church) in Orinda Ca that was introduced to Denny & Paula Loftstrum by Lois Okerstrum, a member of our church who had been a missionary in Tanzania. At that time Denny and Paula were in Iambi, Tanzania refurbishing a hospital there. This was the start of a long relationship between the Lofstroms and our church. 

A few years ago I was approached by another church to help raise money for a children’s clinic for another project they were working on in Mwanza. As a retired travel agent, I used my background in travel to come up with a plan to raise funds for their project.

Over the last 7 years, I have organized five trips for small groups to raise money for IHP. In September 2020 our church will be going on a Reformation Tour of Germany which will be another fundraiser for IHP.

I wanted to come to IHP to see Denny and Paula’s project here in Zinga. I was leery that I did not have the skills to be of any help, but as Paula points out, there is always something that can be done that doesn’t require a medical background. We were kept busy setting up Paula’s store which features Tanzanian arts and crafts. We also worked on taking inventory of the medical supplies sent to the hospital by the many people and organizations that support IHP. The generous amount of donations kept us busy.

I was touched by the love Denny and Paula have for their Tanzanian staff and patients. Their dream of providing quality health care in a place that had none is a remarkable accomplishment. They have come so far in the 6 years since they broke ground in what was an empty field. Their dream to add more facilities is inspiring and encourages me, that although I have no medical talents I can be one small pixel in a vast picture that is bringing health and hope to the beautiful people of Tanzania. 

Hello! My name is Joan Birke. Four friends from our church in Orinda, CA and I have just completed several days of clearing out and organizing a shipping container and doing an inventory of two clinic rooms.  Paula gave us a tour of the amazing entire facility and told us the history of her and Dr. Denny’s awesome, inspirational journey that brought them to this little corner of heaven on earth.

My name is Elaine Nielsen from Moraga, CA.  Several of us from HSLC in Orinda decided it was time to make the big trip to Zinga.  Thanks be to God for the incredible blessing of sharing Paula & Denny’s beautiful world of sharing, caring & being HIS hands & feet helping His beautiful children in Tanzania!!!  Many people at home seemed shocked that this 81-year-old, retired dental hygienist was making the journey!!!

From Mother Theresa’s Meditations from A Simple Path:

“I see God in the eyes of every child…Every life is precious to God, whatever the circumstances.”

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