Engalaoni is a village of about 750 Masai people located high atop a hill outside of the city of Arusha. The one hour trip to the village takes us along difficult bumpy dirt roads and, at certain times of the year, the roads may be impassable, except by donkey. The only clean water source is one water tap located 7 miles from the center of the village. The Masai people are farmers and herders and depend upon rainfall to sustain them. Often though, they are left destitute because of drought or the fact that, even during the rainy season in November and December, the rain just runs off the impermeable red clay.
In 2013 the people of the village asked us to help them build a worship space. The church was officially opened by His Grace Josephat LeBulue, Archbishop of Arusha on Sunday August 6th, 2017 beginning with a blessing of the church and mass. This church building project was made possible by the generosity of Frank and James Barker and their families and the parishioners of St. Lawrence Church in Shelburn, Connecticut.
One of the main reasons that we began this church project was because of the need for water in this area. In 2018 we began drilling the well that we thought would be done by the onset of the rainy season. Unfortunately the project hit a snag. World Serve International, the company building our well, dug to 300 feet hoping to hit a reliable aquifer. That did not happen. We were told that this is the case for 30% of the wells drilled in Tanzania. That doesn't mean we will give up! Our hope is that technology will improve and our chances to drill a successful well will improve, too!
Our plan to set up a "catch system" for the collection of rainwater was completed in 2019. We purchased 4 10,000 liter tanks and set them up with a gutter system attached to St. Joseph's Church, which has been a lifeline, spiritually and physically for the more than 750 people that live in and around the village. It will help during the dry season, especially in the months of July and August to provide water for the people of the village.
Needs and dreams of the Village of Engalaoni: SUSTAINABILITY!!
Deep Well Project with solar pump and filtration system $12,700. (Drilling in progress, funds needed for the solar pump and filtration system)
One girl enjoying her new coat! They LOVED the coats with the fur collars! LOL! that's because Canaan Center is located at a high elevation and the winds can be fierce and so it can get cold. Lowest temperature is about 57 degrees.
Volunteer with the Heart of a Lion
Thank you Jim for your help in completing the Sisters' House
St. Rose of Lima Academy Pre School and Kindergarten
On our last visit the children met us singing! We took a tour of the classrooms, teachers' offices and workrooms and the new bathrooms! The people of the village are very proud of their new school. This year we completed the third classroom and registered the school with the government of Tanzania. We are official! Now we are a registered Kindergarten. In Tanzania the early childhood program includes nursery, preschool and Kindergarten; a 3 year long educational pre primary program. The school was in need of a kitchen and store room for food. By government law, each full time school must have a kitchen to provide lunch for the children. For most of the children who attend our school, these meals will be their only food of the day. We were blessed when Therese Bodenstein donated funds for our kitchen. We are so grateful for her generosity!
This year we had some BIG wins!! We completed the third classroom and finished the Sisters' House where we hope Little Sisters of St. Francis will join us and run the school. Electricity was run to the school and we have started a well project there. The idea of the school' was made possible by the extraordinary efforts of Eastport Elementary's Third Grade Students, parents and teachers (years 2014-2017) who came together to raise a village by building the first 2 classrooms.
Needs and expenses for St. Rose Academy Well pump and generator for the new well
Sponsorship of more students *$16 per month Fence for the property for safety of children
3 Teacher salaries and cook $350 per month
The Village of Engalaoni- Our Masai Friends
St. Rose of Lima Academy
Our third classroom is complete and so is the Sisters house. Here are photos of The Little Sisters of St. Francis with Father Festus and team members of Seeds of Hope touring the new classroom and sisters' house.
Our friends in Tanzania warmly refer to Jim as "Tembo" or Lion.
Caritas showing our volunteers Barbara and Jim the mushroom project we supported.
Each year when we visit, we bring school supplies to the center. Here are the teachers accepting the gifts.
Jim has a soft heart for St. Rose Academy and the children there. Our dream was to build a convent near the school so that we could invite sisters to help run the school efficiently. Having people on the ground in Tanzania is essential to any project's success. The people of the village of Olkokola have worked tirelessly to complete the house but in the present global situation they could not see the project through to completion. Jim's donation of $8000 is a dream come true! Our dream to finish the project by the summer of 2021 was realized and now we are waiting for Little Sisters of St. Francis to join us. They will oversee St. Rose Academy and the spiritual, physical and educational needs of our students.
Drilling of the new well began in December 2020 but problems continue to plague the project. We need to find a way to get larger drilling equipment to the site, but that will mean we need to improve the road. Father Festus is continuing to work with local authorities so that a successful well can be drilled. God please bless this project!
some of the students at ESM who came together to help raise up St. Rose Academy. Third graders - world changers!
Cannan Children's Center
Our volunteers hard at work bottling honey, another project we supported at Cannan.
The sustainable garden we helped begin.
The new kitchen at St. Rose Academy. Grateful thanks to Therese Bodenstein
Jim Linden has been supporting Seeds of Hope since his very first trip as a volunteer in 2010. He has helped us build a playground, plant trees, set up a sustainable garden and lay a cement floor at St. Rose Academy. He has painted walls and playground equipment at The Rehabilitation Center in Monduli, and the Canaan Center, home to 37 orphaned children. He created a grinding mill project to grind corn flour and paid for electricity to be run to the building so people living with HIV and AIDS could work and make a living, without stigma or shame. On every trip he brings hundreds of "Beanie Babies" to give to the precious children he meets each day in Tanzania. He collects the toys from his friends at St. Lawrence Church in Shelton, CT, where he is a eucharistic minister. On several trips he has volunteered to be a Eucharistic minister as we visit the outreach areas in Tanzania commonly known as "the bush". He has dedicated countless hours both here in the US and in Tanzania to help make a difference. Because of Jim and his fellow parishioners, who partnered with Seeds of Hope and other sponsors, we were able to complete the building of St. Joseph's Church, a haven for the poorest of the poor in the village of Engalaoni.
These photos show the completed water tanks which help the village in time of drought. We are currently drilling for a more permanent solution of a deep water well, which will provide sustainability for villagers. This village still has no electricity so once we dig the well, our well pump will be solar powered.
OUR PROJECTS AND PROGRESS
One of our favorite projects we support is the Cannan Center. Here 46 orphaned children find shelter and a loving home. Half of the children
are HIV positive and require special diets and special care.
On our most recent visit we were met with hugs and joy . Thanks to so many of our amazing supporters we donated more than 60 coats to the children, teachers and house moms living here at the center. Here vulnerable children, receive excellent care and nurturing under the loving care of directors Alex and Caritas Lengeju. In the past we have supported them by funding a chicken project, bee hive project, mushroom project, and a reforesting project all aimed at making the center fully self sustaining. On this visit we were introduced to the pig project, their newest project to help the center’s sustainability and we watched as 15 piglets were born ! This project holds great promise and we hope you can help us support it. On our recent trip we bottled honey from the bee hives to sell at local markets. We love the work being done at this beautiful center on behalf of these nearly 50 children.
Needs and expenses for Cannan Center-
Pig project New barn needed
Health Insurance for the children: $30 per child per year- Friends of Mike Duerksen have helped tremendously with this project. It is an ongoing need for the center to insure good health care for the children.
Here is Nessi before....... during .......... and after surgery
Monduli Rehabilitation Center
Things at the center continue to improve. The 5 water cisterns that we built have certainly helped with the need for water. The garden we helped to improve on our trip now provides the center with the food they need. Drip irrigation systems were purchased and installed to provide irrigation to improve the yield of the garden.
In August of 2019, Our generous supporters sent us off with 2 suitcases filled with PT equipment to help refurbish the physiotherapy room where so many children receive post surgical therapy and PT for children with cerebral palsy. Special thanks to the The Dallesander Family, Chrissy and Jon Mazura for their donations to help improve the lives of these children. People come from near and far to be treated at the center.
John Paul I Rehabilitaion Center, as it is known today , is directed by Mirele Kapilima, who once ran the physiotherapy program there. On our last trip she and the children helped us brighten up the PT treatment rooms and the dining hall by painting and “putting their mark” on this place they call home during their recovery. Grateful thanks to Kelly DeChene and Barefoot Theater for providing the funding for all the art supplies used for the project.
When we visited the center we met Nessi, a 5 year old girl who needed assessment for a growth and development problem, We funded Nessi's medical treatment, surgery and PT after surgery.
We also met two blind brothers, who often stay at the center when their school, Longidido , is closed for long holidays. Here they find comfort, food and care. We help to supply this center with water and money for surgeries throughout the year. On our last trip we donated a 2 month supply of food. The severe drought left their 4 acres of maize regrettably unharvestable.
Blind brothers , Minyali and Jonas, sang us a song which translates:
“The world is full of difficulties ,
May people have pity on those
who are victims of difficulties,
We pray that people may provide food
for those who are starving,
May provide shelter
for those who are homeless,
We pray that people may provide clothing to those who are without.”
Needs for the center: hospital care and surgeries for children in need
Water and food
On our last trip before COVID Jim Linden, Barbara Benedict and Seeds of Hope purchased food for the people in the village because of the desperate situation caused by the drought.
Breaking ground in August 2019 for the third classroom.
Thank you to Kelly DeChene and Barefoot Theater for donating $400 to repaint the dining hall and buy all the paints to brighten up the physical therapy room and the dining hall at the center!
This photo shows the villagers of Engalaoni standing in front of the new church on dedication day. We were able to build a cache system to catch rainwater and store it in sim tanks (photo inset) we provided in the spring of 2019. We hired a drilling company to begin the water project for this village of more than 750. Our prayer is that the well project will prove fruitful and provide years of continuous and dependable water!
In August 2021 our students all received new uniforms and shoes!
On a past trip volunteers worked on a tree planting project (one of our favorites!) with the children. We read a book together titled “Planting the Trees of Kenya”, a book about the importance of replanting trees. We got to work planting 50 trees on the grounds with the help of William from FOSECU and our SOH sojourners Mary Rose Rodriguez, Jim Linden, Melissa Battaglia, RaeAnn Mariella and Mary Rodriguez. We also helped beautify the play area by painting murals with the children.
St. John Paul Rehabilitation Centre * The Monduli Center
A letter of thanks and photos from this past year
St. Rose Academy Pre Primary School completed!. The three classrooms, bathrooms and teachers' workroom got a new coat of paint. Little Sisters of St. Francis came to visit in August 2021.