Engalaoni- Our Masai Friends

Volunteer with the Heart of a Lion

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!

On our recent trip 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.

One girl enjoying her new coat! They LOVED the coats with the fuur 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.

St. Rose of Lima Academy Pre School and Kindergarten
The children were so excited to show off their new school, teachers and their new knowledge! when we arrived for our visit the children met us singing and showing us all they had learned. 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 and are hoping to add a new classroom each year so that as the children grow, so will the school! It is our sincere hope to help with this project in the years to come. 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, this  meal will be their only meal of the day. We were blessed when Therese Bodenstein donated funds for our kitchen. We are so grateful for her generosity!

During our visit we broke ground for the third classroom which is set to be finished in March 2021. 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

Sponsorship of  more students *$16 per month

​3 Teacher salaries and cook $350 per month        

​COVID19 impacts our friends.


                  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 in 2010 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 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 DeCchene and Barefoot Theater for providing the funding for all the art supplies used for the project.

This year when we visited the center we met Nessi, a 5 year old girl who needs assessment for a growth and development problem, and a boy who needs leg surgery due to a flouritis, a condition that leaves bones pliable due to excessive fluoride in the water. 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 this trip we donated a 2 month supply of food. The severe drought this year left their 4 acres of maize regrettably unharvestable.
Blind brothers , Minyali and Jonas, singing 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

 Cannan Children's Center

Caritas showing our volunteers Barbara and Jim the mushroom project we supported.

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 (phot inset) we provided in the spring of 2019. We hired a drilling company to begin the water project in early December 2020 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! 

​​Each year when we visit, we bring school supplies to  the center. Here are the teachers accepting the gifts. 

Our friends in Tanzania warmly refer to Jim as "Tembo" or Lion.

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 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 Engalaoni. ​

​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 cannot see the project through to completion.  Jim's donation of $5000 is a dream come true! Our plan is to begin the project in early September. We are currently talking with The Little Sisters of St. Francis to possibly move in to the house and oversee St. Rose Academy and the spiritual, physical and educational needs of our students. 

      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.

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.

St. Rose of Lima Academy

Breaking ground in August 2019 for the third  classroom.

Engalaoni is a village of about 750 Maasai 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 Masaai 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 has 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 is complete! We have 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: 


Deep Well Project with solar pump and filtration system $12,700. (Drilling in progress, funds needed for the solar pump and filtration system) 

Grateful thanks to Dr. Carol Carter for her donation of $250 to purchase hand washers for St. Rose Academy, St. Joseph's Church, Sacred Heart of Mary Church and St. John the Evangelist Church. COVID19 is a GLOBAL pandemic with dire consequences. When we heard that schools and churches were opening in Tanzania hand washing stations became necessary to keep people safe and avoid the risk of spreading the virus. Dr. Carter volunteered on one of our trips to Tanzania in 2010.

In October 2020 Ohini had surgery and will have followup PT at the center. Nessi received care for malnutrition and scoliosis. She will return to the center in Dec. 2020 for more PT. .

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. 


Drilling of the new well  began in December 2020. Father Festus accompanied the drilling team to Engalaoni and blessed the team and the land which was to be drilled. God please bless this project!

Our volunteers hard at work bottling honey, another project we supported at Cannan.



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