Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

postheadericon Hope for the Future

Last week we visited the MaaSAE Lutheran Girls School sponsored by Operation Bootstrap Africa (   We have provided and set up used laptops in the past and had some additional laptops for the school that arrived on the container.

This school is critical for MaaSAE girls as the Headmaster Dr. Smsinjili explained because it gives them economic independence in a culture where the biggest challenge is forced marriages and a life of servitude.  Girls are legally protected for primary school but secondary school is usually not an option as parents do not want to waste their resources when she will be leaving the family anyway and they will receive a dowry of cattle as soon as she is married off.

Dr. Smsinjili shared stores of how many of girls end up in the school.   Most are on scholarship or sponsored by a specific donor.  The girls come directly from primary school immediately after their final exam. The school does not tell the parents because they don’t want them to be able to stop them from coming and many times the girls don’t know even though most have a dream of going to secondary school.   In some cases, the girls have gone home after their exam and are married within a day at the age of 13 or 14.   If the parents come to the girls school the police are called because the girls are protected as soon as they start.  Parents used to send warriors to take the girls out by force but this practice has stopped with the involvement of the police.

The girls are able to go home after they are assured of their safety.  They work closely with the family and the village to help them understand why they are in school and why it is important.  They do not dream of completely converting the family but hope for the conversion of the next generation.

The girls we met dream of becoming doctors, chemists, and teachers.  They are the hope for the future!


postheadericon Improving and waiting and watching

In preparing to install the medical air compressor, the SCL Health Biomed team laid the system out and determined what fittings were needed.  Kevin Deitsch and I then went shopping for fittings.  If you were to need threaded pipe nipples for a project in the US, you would determine what sizes you need and then go to the hardware store to purchase them.  It works a bit different in Tanzania where you have to go to a pipe store and the proprietor will take a piece of galvanized pipe, thread one end and then cut it off at the length you want and then thread the other end ….. and then continue this process for each individual fitting…..all while you wait and watch….very patiently….   Part of the challenge of completing projects in Tanzania is that many of the parts that are readily available in the US are not available here and it requires a lot of improving!  However, even with the challenges this project has, when completed it will make a huge impact to healthcare in Tanzania.  It will allow them to perform life sustaining procedures such as the use of mixed gas therapy on infants and ventilation therapy on both adults and infants.  That is well worth a bit of running around and waiting patiently (like Tanzanians) for parts to be made!

By Dan Ritter

postheadericon Day-O for Deo


postheadericon Morning Praise, Worship, and Prayers for the Patients


postheadericon Faces of Hope and Hospice

postheadericon Connor’s Craft Project and IT’s Captivating Work

Connor wins the excellence in innovation award today (well the day is not over… so he wins as of 1:00 pm anyway).  Tim Nock, a RT who was a volunteer on a past trip, shared that there is a significant problem with dust in the filters of the ventilators which causes them to overheat and stop working.  Connor was determined to solve this problem by visiting his local craft store.  This is true, but it was after a lot of research, contacting the manufacturer, and figuring out possible solutions to a pretty serious problem.  Here is Connor working on cutting his felt squares to improvise a ventilator filter. Zach is wondering if he will start gluing on macaroni later today.

In other exciting news, the files are downloading! Ryan and Richard (from ALMC), are watching them download. Yep, they really are, and you can see how happy they are by the smiles on their faces.  Edit by Ryan:  We were testing failover configurations on our storage system to verify redundancy of the RAID controllers with the equipment we installed.


postheadericon The Most Impactful Trip Yet!

This is what has been said of this trip and what the team will be able to achieve because of the incredible amount of groundwork the previous teams have laid.

As we have looked over the past projects and performed the assessment of what needed to be done in partnership with the leadership of Arusha Lutheran Medical Center and Selian Hospital, we are all justifiably proud to be part of this organization that has been able to significantly improve the health and overall well being of so many people and families in Tanzania.  We are so grateful to Joel Sigdestad, who has been leading this mission since its inception, whom is not able to attend this year but has coached, guided us, and shared his knowledge and passion!

We are in our final stages of preparation with calls, texts and emails of who has items for last minute additions to training,  extra convertors, and who may even have a bit of space left in their bag for another team member to use.

The team has spent months discussing the focus of this trip and ensuring that the projects and training that we will complete are aligned with the capabilities of the hospitals, that all the projects are sustainable so the impact will be carried long into the future, and that we are building capacity in Tanzania (teaching people to fish!)

Past participants have joined us to share their experiences, best practices and key learning.  They have shared how their participation has had a life changing impact on the way they think, work, and for those involved in clinical care – the way they interact with patients.  We had a Tanzanian Priest come spend time with our group to build our cultural competency and teach us techniques and best practices to help us build relationships and be effective  (including the practice of shaking hands with every person when a meeting starts and if anyone joins late, then we have to shake hands with every person yet again!)

We have spent time in discernment about what we can and cannot do but sometimes want to do!   We have worked closely with CHA to ensure we are adhering to the Guiding Principles for Conducting International Health Activities.    We have very lofty project goals that will have significant impact and long lasting benefit.

Our Guiding Principles:

Prudence – Don’t just do it

Authenticity – Know thyself, know thy partner

Honesty – Trust is earned and learned

Patience – Build capacity, not dependency

Excellence – Best intentions do not equal best practices

Humility – We all have something to learn


We are excited to share our stories with you throughout the next couple weeks!