Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday and believers around the world will be showing a sign of their faith on their foreheads today.

Our Tanzania Team meeting is tonight at 5:00pm.

Monday, February 23, 2009

This Week's Important Dates

Click on the image for a larger view.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The latest from the Lofstrom's in Tanzania

Nurse Sally with an adorable patient.

Paula writing:

Dear IHP supporters and followers,
Hello from Nyakato, Tanzania! We are so, so happy to be home again. We love being in the U.S. We love seeing all of our friends and making new ones. We love being enfolded in the love of the churches and groups where we speak, but there is no place, no place like home. And for us, home is Nyakato. Our own bed, and our own closets. My own kitchen!

Den writing:
We are enjoying the sunshine and the rainy weather. That may seem a contradiction, but you who have visited us here at Nyakato, near the southern shores of Lake Victoria, know that it seldom rains all day long. There may be a serious downpour for 2-3 hours, but then the clouds break up and a blue and sunny sky appears for the remainder of the day. Beautiful weather this rainy season and crops in this area are flourishing.

Selemani Shabani (“sele” to you who have met him) our Tanzanian project manager and long-time friend, has kept the progress of the hospital moving forward while we were in the U.S. fund raising. The patricia Ward (shown above), with its new stone facing front and back to match that of the main clinic building is very impressive.

Not quite as impressive, but very essential to the operation of the Patricia Ward has been the completion of outside plumbing and stations for the septic-leeching system. There remains only the interior plumbing for about half of the sinks. As I write this, Sele has just departed with Paula to go into town to purchase the additional 1 ½” PVC pipe and fittings required. Our standard American PVC 1 ½” doesn’t quite coincide with the Tanzanian 1 ½” PVC, we discovered after we had installed some of the sinks from the U.S.A. We are always prepared for surprises.

This morning Sele and I measured and laid out the few remaining interior walls of the Bogumil Birthing Center. This essential unit of the hospital has truly been an amazing cooperative venture. When the BBC’s container was held up by a change in legislated rules and regulations in Dar es Salaam, the St. Matthew’s crew from Walnut Creek did a tremendous job during the remaining 3-4 days of their stay in erecting the exterior walls and laying out the 3 big main support trusses. When the group from First Lutheran in Newton, Iowa’s container was held up in a dock strike in Mombasa, they stepped in, as we have written before, and made great progress on the birthing center. Now our Tanzanian workers are completing the interior walls in anticipation of the Christ Church Unity of Kansas City’s arrival this coming June to finish up.

A hearty thank you and God bless you all for your hard work and support.

Paula Writing again:
We had visitors from Gunderson Lutheran in Wisconsin. Two had been here before, Dr. Jeff and Sally Hillsland. She’s a nurse and, as you can see from the photo (at the top of this post), she can’t keep her hands off of one of the adorable patients presenting daily. Joining the Hillslands was Rose Nexter and her son, Ned.

We met with the new bishop, Andrew Gulle, and the new assistant, Emmanuel Makala and their wives. Pastor Gunda and his wife also joined us. Den went over the plans with them for the whole project; reviewed what has been done and how we do it, and showed them the master plan for the whole hospital.

This week will see the beginning of the building of the eye center. Sele and Denny are marking out where the walls will go on the slab. The crew is starting to finish the inside walls of the birthing center with the rough concrete. Plastering will come next, and then finishing when the team from One Community Spiritual Center (formerly Christ Church Unity) in Kansas City is here in June. There will be a LOT of “finishing” to do

Dr. Christine Petersen is here on her annual visit helping with the medical administrative side of things. We have three full-time clinicians on staff now seeing 70-100 patients a day. Dr. Denise Webb will be joining us tomorrow from Mayo Clinic for a month. Michael Goetting, a German medical student is with us for a month.

Michael's comments:
My name is Michael Goetting, I am 24 years old and a fourth-year medical student at the Charite University of Berlin in Germany. I came to Nyakato for one month to learn more about medicine in the tropics, health care projects in third world countries and especially the African culture.

When I arrived here some days ago Paula and Denny welcomed me with open arms and really made me feel that I am at the right place. My first days at the clinic have been from a medical point of view very interesting and instructive for me that was supported by Dr. Christine and Dr. Bon who are very engaged physicians and the friendly staff here.

In addition, I am deeply impressed by the efforts of Paula and Denny who are getting things done here although the prerequisites are anything but easy- but it is really something growing here. I think that this project actually can be sustainable and strongly help to improve the healthcare in this area.

Tanzania gives me the impression from a beautiful country with People who get along with very little but nevertheless keep a warm and friendly attitude of living. I am looking forward to getting to know the country and the people who are running this project better.

Paula writing again:
It has been a busy week since we returned, guests coming and going and visiting with our staff and colleagues as well as friends in the community. Everything takes more time than we allot. But there have been those precious moments snatched from a busy day of finding peace, like in my prayer garden, and even in a delicious dip or two in my tiny little pool. There is much, so much, to be thankful for.

When we left for the U.S. and listened to the high cost of gasoline and the dire financial reports, we wondered what God had in mind. We persevered. God has spoken to so many who have given their support. Surely, this project comes from God, and God is directing those who can to help us. We say thank you. Thank you.

As always, if you’d like to help or help some more, please send contributions to:
International Health Partners US & Tz
Joyce Zemel, Treasurer
1811 S. 39th St., #36
Mesa, AZ 85206

As is often heard here,
Be blessed,
Paula and Denny

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

If you are helping out at the TZ Table this weekend, please make sure that you display the TANZANIA GAME NIGHT sign-up sheet and have the tickets available for purchase. This is the last Sat/Sun that we will be able to get the worship crowd.

For those of you on the TZ Game Night Task Team, you have a meeting at 7pm on Tuesday, February 24th.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Walking to Tanzania Update

As of February 16, 2009 we have 32 walkers with 1511 recorded miles That leaves 7813 miles left for us to walk to Tanzania (the total is 9324 miles).

There was $1,100 that was turned in this past weekend designated specifically for the walk!

Keep Walking!

Monday, February 16, 2009


If you have not already done so, please send an email to Brooke with the FULL NAME (as on your passport) of each traveler in your party for flight bookings.

Our next TANZANIA MEETING is taking place on Wednesday, February 25th at 5pm in the Gathering Place. We will have a Pastor give us a brief lesson on Swahili & take care of business.

Hep A/B, polio & pneumovax VACCINATIONS will be given - taking place immediately following our Tanzania meeting. Please direct questions related to vaccinations to Dr. Powell at

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Kanga Fabrics

What is a kanga?
A kanga is a rectangular piece of fabric of thin East African cotton. The kanga is designed with a border, a central pattern, and a saying, usually in Swahili. It can be a proverb, such as “a ripe mango should be eaten slowly”, or a message “don’t gossip about me”.

What can you do with a kanga?
Kangas can be used in many different ways: as a wrap skirt, a shoulder wrap, head or neck scarf; as table cloth, comforter cover, or as a decoration on a couch or wall.
Kangas are also handy during travel, as a dress, sheet, towel, or to carry your belongings – and on the beach.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Divine Chocolate Valentines

Valentine's Day is this Saturday. Divine Chocolates would make a wonderful gift for your valentine and or loved ones - and you would also be supporting the Fair Trade Chocolate farmers and producers in Africa.

The chocolates are available at the Tanzania table during the weekend services - if you stop by the church during the week ask at the office about the Fair Trade cart and the Divine Chocolates.

There are an assortment of sizes and varieties of the Divine Chocolates including the small boxed chocolates shown above. These cute little handmade boxes contain 3 bite size Divine Dark Chocolates and are $1 each (or 6 for $5). They are available at the Fair Trade cart and are also available by making your request in a comment below this post or by sending an email to

Click on the name Divine Chocolate to visit their website. The mission of the company is to improve the livelihood of smallholder cocoa producers in West Africa by establishing their own dynamic chocolate brand.

The Divine Chocolate company strives to:

Make a quality and affordable range of Fair Trade chocolate bars accessible to chocolate lovers everywhere.

Raise awareness of Fair Trade issues among retailers and consumers of all age groups.

Be highly visible and vocal in the chocolate sector and thereby act as a catalyst for change.

What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade aims to build dignified trading relationships between consumers in the North and producers in developing countries. This involves changing the way that conventional international trade works, so that:

Producers receive a guaranteed price for their goods, and the security of long-term trading contracts

Producers benefit from guaranteed minimum health and safety conditions.

Producers, their workplace and the environment are not exploited.

Strong democratic businesses with real participation develop.

Leadership development with gender equity is fostered.

Education and training opportunities for producers, especially women, are actively promoted.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fun Facts about Tanzania

Tanzania has practically everything to offer: superior nature and wild life reserves, beautiful coast, coral reefs, the snow capped Kilimanjaro, Lake Victoria and spectacular topography like the Great Rift Valley.

Culturally Tanzania is a blend of African, Arab, Indian and European influences and is home to more than 100 different ethnic groups. Nearby a church you'll hear the mosque call while you watch the proud and colourful Masaai pass by on a bike. This resembles the remarkable contrast of Tanzania.

The country also has a fascinating history. Some of the world's oldest hominid fossils are found here and the country has been a main point for trading, including slave trade.

Many travellers and foreigners claim it to be one of Africa's most low-key and friendly destinations - an ideal choice if you're a first-time visitor to the continent.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Walking to Tanzania Update

Just from this past weekend's collection, $255 was collected in sponsor donations for the Walking to Tanzania Fundraiser!

If you have not utilized this to your advantage and sent out letters-do so! What a simple way to raise awareness and money. Brooke sent out an email with the letter in an attachment.

How to Participate:
1.) Sign up by putting your name on the chart in the Gathering Place.
2.) Get a sponsor each week (simply a donation). Seek sponsors beyond Atonement. If you don’t find a sponsor, pay $1 and keep walking.
3.) Put the donations you receive in the envelopes designated, “Walking to Tanzania” and place in the offering plate. Envelopes will be found on Tanzania table. Record your miles each week on the chart in the Gathering Place. Children can collect pennies and deposit them at in the clear jar at the Tanzania table.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tanzania Travel Immunizations

Our trip to Tanzania is exactly 6 months away and some of the recommended shots need to be given six months out.

There are no absolute immunization requirements for travel to Tanzania, however, there are definite recommendations. These include:

1. Yellow Fever vaccine. This vaccine is available ONLY at Authorized Yellow Fever Vaccination Clinics.
A list of Kansas City area clinics is here:

2. Polio booster, even for those who have received the primary series.

3. Hepatitis A vaccine. This is a two shot series that should be give at least 6 months apart. One shot is reported to offer between 90% and 95% protection.

4. Hepatitis B vaccine. This is a THREE shot series generally, given at 0 months, 1 month, and 6 months.

In addition to those listed, recommendations include up-to-date routine immunizations. These are age dependent.

MMR - Young people who have not had a second booster of Measles-Mumps-Rubella, (those born after 1956) or anyone who has not had these diseases should consult with his physician regarding this vaccine.

A current Tetanus-diphtheria should be obtained. For those within the correct age group (between 10 years and 65 years of age) should receive ONE booster that includes the pertussis component (Tdap). This can be given as soon as two years after a current Td booster.

All those 50 and older should receive a Pneumococcal vaccine.

Everyone should consider a Meningococcal vaccine (Menactra).

Typhoid and Rabies vaccine are listed on the CDC data page, but would consider these only if they are recommended by the local facility in Tanzania. Typhoid is passed mainly by tainted water, and rabies is transmitted exclusively by direct contact with rabid animals.

PREVENTATIVE MEDICATION IS NEEDED AGAINST MALARIA. DO NOT TRAVEL TO AFRICA WITHOUT PROPHYLAXIS (PROTECTION) AGAINST MALARIA. Acceptable medications include Doxycycline, Malarone, and Mefloquin (Mefloquin is not recommended by Dr Powell). Doxycycline is by far the least expensive medication, but some patients have difficulties with stomach upset when taking this medication.

Please consult with your personal physician or a specialist in travel medicine to finalize your travel regimen and immunization schedule.

Thank you to Dr. Charles Powell for sharing this information.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bizmarck's Rock: About Mwanza

The famous Mwanza landmark shown above is the Bismarck's Rock. The granite rock formations adorn Lake Victoria on the lake’s southeast shore. At 69,490 square kilometres (26,830 square miles), Lake Victoria is the world’s second largest body of fresh water (behind Lake Superior).

Mwanza is the place where the earliest 18th century's explorers visited in their quest to find the source of the River Nile. it is believed that the rock is named for Otto Von Bizmarck of Germany, as Tanzania had formerly been a German Colony from the 1880s through 1919.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kitenge: Fun Facts about Tanzania

Kitenge (or chitenge) is an African garment similar to sarong, often worn by women wrapped around the chest or waist, over the head as a headscarf, or as a baby sling. They are also sometimes worn by men around the waist in hot weather.

Kitenges serve as an inexpensive, informal piece of clothing that, often decorated with a huge variety of colors, patterns and even political slogans. Kitenge fabrics are similar to kangas and kikoy, but are of a thicker cloth, and have an edging only on a long side.

The image above is a collection of Kitenge fabric patterns and below is a closer view of one of them.

Thanks to for the images - visit their site for more info and to see more beautiful Kitenges.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The group from Newton that traveled to Tanzania last year recommended that we pick up a Swahili phrasebook.

This one from Lonely Planet is available on for $8.99.

Click on the "" (in the green type above) for the link for this book on

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Walking to Tanzania Fundraiser

It is 9324 miles to Tanzania and together we can walk, jog, bike swim, or whatever you do best to tally up miles to Tanzania.

Keep a count of your miles each week and enter them on the tally sheet found in the Gathering Place on the bulletin board shown in the picture above.

We have six months to get there. Find someone to sponsor you each week. Go beyond the church, seek out family, co-workers, friends, relatives, neighbors, the friendly clerk in the store and anyone else you can think of.

Put the donations you receive in the Walking to Tanzania envelopes and place them in the offering plates. Envelopes can be found at the Tanzania table in the narthex.

You may get fifty cents one week and fifty dollars the next. If you don’t get a sponsor one week just drop $1 in the big jar at the Tanzania table and keep walking. Just remember to make it fun!

Even the children can help – they can save pennies and bring them to church and put them in the jar at the Tanzania table.

We will see how long it takes us to fill that jar and get to Tanzania!

Make it fun – form a group - involve your clubs- use your imagination.
You will be the one who ultimately benefits.

Be a healthier you - Walk to Tanzania - 9324 Miles - CAN YOU DO IT?


Our next monetary deadline is February 2nd for $140. The check is to be made to Atonement with “Mwanza room & board” in the subject line. Please give these to Brooke or put them in her box at the church.