1,000 flowering trees for Lutindi

In mid-May 2022, the 1,000 saplings of native tree species were planted on the newly built road to the Children’s Village construction site with the help of the students of the Lutindi Primary School.

Half of the trees planted were the yellow-flowering Markarema lutea (rosewood tree) and half were the blue-flowering Jakaranda mimosfolia (sial tree). Both varieties belong to the now rarer native woody plants. By planting these trees, we are not only helping to prevent erosion, but also actively contributing to the protection of species, nature and the environment. 

As a thank you, Ombeni received a T-shirt from the World Permaculture Association, which accompanied the planting campaign. The trees were delivered by the “Friends of Usambara-Society”, which has been working for years in the Usambara Mountains to breed rare native trees.

But there was more than just planting. The children were also given an on-site lesson on nature conservation and the importance of preserving native species. And everyone had fun.

Infrastructural side projects

In extension of our association purpose, legitimized by our statutes, we support the people in the region of Tanga, mainly in Lutindi with infrastructural projects besides our main goal, the construction of a children’s village. All goals serve to improve living conditions as well as health and education.

In addition, our targeted help for the population is an essential building block for the community acceptance of our main project.

This help can be of various nature. It should be primarily aimed at following the principle of “helping people to help themselves”. 

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” | Confucius

Lutindi Mental Hospital

The first mental hospital in East Africa, Lutindi Mental Hospital was built by German mission in the Usambara Mountain in 1896 and is owned by the ELCT North-Eastern Diocese. It is the only specialized hospital in ELCT. It has a bed capacity of 120 beds and serves Tanga region. Recently Irente rehabilitation center was combined with Lutindi. Now about half of the patients are chronic cases, who have lost contact to their relatives.

The hospital is well maintained with the help from Germany. It has 3 nurses specialized in psychiatry and 37 other staff. Recently they got a neuropsychiatrist from Germany.

They have also started an outpatient clinic, which is in the center of Korogwe town on the main road between DaresSalam and Arusha. This location is more accessible than the mountain hospital. The hospital is also running dispensary for local population, which has 2 COs and 4 other staff members.

To play the pictures in large size please click on a picture

To play the pictures in large size please click on a picture


Establishment of a community sewing room

Last autumn 2019, the Weltladen Duisburg-Rumeln donated 2,000 euros to ZAC e.V. for the purchase of 10 sewing machines for our planned project “Sewing Room”.

That presented us with the big problem of which women we can provide this limited number of sewing machines without causing something like envy within the community among those who can not be considered.

We have, we believe, brought about a good solution. With the director of the Lutindi Mental Hospital, Dr. Marwa, on whose premises our Tanzanian NGO “C.B.R.O.” also has its headquarters, we reached the following agreement:

the hospital will provide us permanently and free of charge with a room suitable for the installation of 10 sewing stations, in which the machines will be installed and the sewing stations set up. The room will be renovated and prepared at our expense. In this room we offer sewing courses for interested women from Lutindi, primarily women who are socially disadvantaged. At the same time, female patients of the hospital can be trained here as seamstresses within the framework of occupational therapy.

In addition to the idea of training, the sewing machines can also be used by the women for their own sewing work. The keyword here is “sewing machine sharing”.

We as ZAC also provide an initial supply of necessary cloth and sewing materials. This is to be used to make typical products from typical fabrics of the country (e.g. scarves, capes, shirts). The products can then, according to the offer of the Weltladen Rumeln, be sold in the world store and 50% of the proceeds go to the sewing women and 50% to the chronically underfunded Lutindi Mental Hospital.

We had the roof of the assigned room repaired, walls plastered and brightly painted. In Dar es Salaam, ten sewing machines of different types (butterfly and electric) were purchased in advance and transported to Lutindi. A carpenter built a large cutting table. 

In February 2021, the first training series began with a group of 8 by a tailor specially hired for this purpose. Further groups will follow. After that, independent work can begin and we can consider the project complete.

A nice opportunity for the women to improve their living conditions and for the Lutindi Mental Hospital to start a new therapy.

(Slideshow follows)

“Bridge of solidarity” for a safe way to school

Lutindi (translated from the Swahili language: “village in the clouds”) consists of five individual villages with a total population of around 3,000 people, from which the children sometimes have to travel long distances to get to the primary school or the newly built secondary school. 

In the rainy season, this route is dangerous for most of the children, because at one point they have to cross the small creek, which can turn into a raging torrent, especially during the two rainy seasons. The last rains have now given the rest to the existing “bridge”, which was defined by the simple laying of loose wooden boards. This “bridge” must be crossed even by smaller vehicles.

The constant efforts of the villagers to get this cobbled-together something not to fall apart permanently voluntarily were often blessed with only short durability. Here, we quickly realized, we needed a solution, and a durable one at that, and one that was specifically safe for the children.

So we gave our ZAC representative in Lutindi, Ombeni, the order to build a solid and thus safe little bridge, which, according to the wish of our supporters from the MSV environment, should be given the meaningful name “Bridge of Solidarity”.

Materials were immediately procured in nearby Korogwe and transported to the mountains, the creek bed was laid at short notice and two stable concrete pipes were laid along the direction of flow of the creek. The whole was then covered with a stable concrete slab and the flanks were again filled with material.

On February 16th, 2021, the “Bridge of Solidarity” was inaugurated with great participation of the community, school children and important political persons.

(Slide show follows)


School furniture for the Secondary School in Lutindi

When considering the following information on the school system and its costs, one should always keep in mind that the majority of the people in Tanzania, and thus especially in the rural area of Lutindi, are below the poverty line and that people who have work earn between two and three euros a day.

The school system in Tanzania, which has been reformed several times and is based on the English school system, is divided into four areas:

The voluntary preschool (roughly equivalent to kindergarten).
The Primary School – here are the school years 1 to 7 located
The Secondary School – here are the school years 8-11 located
The University

In general, preschool and primary school are free of charge. But, there is a compulsory school uniform already in the state Primary School. Meals and school supplies must also be financed privately. Thus, already for the Primary School monthly costs of about 35,– Euro per child accumulate, which can hardly be afforded by a simple day laborer. It is also not uncommon to pass on the costs for school furniture to the parents. These costs vary depending on the school and the region…

In order to get into secondary school, students must have above-average grades from primary school, otherwise they are rejected.

At the Secondary School there are day students (i.e. those who live in the immediate vicinity) and boarding students (i.e. those who stay overnight in the school’s premises due to a too long way to school). Already for the admission the students have to pay about 100,– Euro for the initial equipment. For a day student the parents have to pay about 450 Euro per year and for a boarding student about 650 Euro.

Subsequent years of teaching must also be paid for.

Here alone it becomes clear how many children are only granted access to education because the parents can hardly afford these costs as a rule. In the primary school, Swahili is taught as the community language (more than 125 different languages are spoken in the country) and in the primary school, the official language English is also taught.

Lutindi is home to both schools, a Primary School that has been in existence for many years and is in generally poor overall condition, and since 2020, a newly constructed Secondary School. Here, too, the state is withdrawing from financing elementary basics and leaving the schools, or the parents, to cover costs that should have been covered by the state in a well-functioning school system.

For example, the management of the Secondary School approached us with a request for financial help in procuring 70 missing pieces of school furniture. There are already more than 50 students who do not have a seat/desk. 

For us it was no question: if students have qualified for the Secondary School with enormous diligence, then their further education must not fail because they cannot attend classes due to missing school furniture. The ZAC e.V. takes over 100% of the financing and thanks the supporters from the environment of the fans of the MSV Duisburg for the great support in this subproject. The production furniture was delivered in August 2021.

Aufbau einer Schweinezucht

Mit Beginn der COVID19-Pandemie explodierten die Fleischpreise in Tansania derart stark, so dass speziell Familien aus der ärmeren Bevölkerungsschicht sich kein Fleisch mehr leisten konnten.

Mit dem Aufbau einer eigenen Schweinezucht in Lutindi, angesiedelt bei den alleinerziehenden Frauen aus dem Single-Mother-Cultivation-Project, konnten wir diesem Missstand entgegenwirken. So haben wir die Anschaffung gesunder Tiere unter aktiver Mithilfe des örtlichen Veterinärs vorangetrieben (der auch die permanente Überwachung der Tierhaltung und deren Gesundheit übernimmt) und insgesamt 50 Jungschweine finanziert. Die Tiere wurden allesamt von Fans des MSV Duisburg gespendet . Im Vorfeld wurden bei den Häusern der frauen entsprechend große Ställe gebaut, die wichtiger Teil der Freilandhaltung sind.

Ziel ist es, genügend Schweine zu züchten, um den Eigenbedarf an Fleisch zu decken und um auch in der Gemeinde günstig Fleisch anbieten zu können. Alles, was nicht zum Eigenbedarf benötigt wird, wird auf dem lokalen Markt verkauft. Mit den Erlösen können die Frauen ihre Lebensverhältnisse verbessern.

Aber, die Frauen wurden auch verpflichtet, eine feststehende Quote an Ferkeln aus den Zuchterfolgen an unsere NGO zurückzugeben, die dafür sorgt, dass die damit erzielten Erlöse aus den Marktverkäufen in einen sogenannten “Lutindi-Aid-Fond” fließen.

Der Fond wird von unserer NGO und der Gemeinde verwaltet und es werden gemeinsame Entscheidungen getroffen, welche Investitionen für die Gemeinschaft aus diesem sich stetig aufbauenden Fond getätigt werden sollen.

Clear Drinking Water

The Grafschafter Lions Club Moers (GLMC), which already took over an object sponsorship in favor of the children’s village project “Angaza Children’s Village” in 2017, donated a PAUL system (Portable Aqua Unit for Lifesaving) to the ZAC eV.

Roland Schaffer, ex-president of the Grafschafter Lions Club Moers, handed over the PAUL system coming from the own stock of the GLCM on May 28th 2019 to the ZAC e.V., which was sent to Lutindi in July.

Katja Zühlsdorf thanked on behalf of the entire board for this great donation in kind and was instructed (see picture) in place of Roland Schaffer in the functioning of the device. With the PAUL system, now healthy drinking water is available to the children of elementary school in Lutindi and all other villagers.

PAUL does not require an external energy source, is very easy to handle and is also extremely robust. A patented nano-membrane system safely filters bacteria, viruses and dirt out of the water.

So far, the drinking water for all residents of the village was taken from a stream, but is germ-laden, which was the cause of frequent diarrheal diseases and severe health problems. That now is a thing of the past after PAUL’s installation in Lutindi.

A short video about the PAUL-System, developed by Prof. Dr. med. Frechen from the University of Kassel

Immediately after the safe arrival of the system in Lutindi, a water house was built in the immediate vicinity of the Lutindi Primary School. At the top of the newly constructed water house is a 500-liter large domestic water filling tank, which feeds the still contaminated water into the underlying PAUL system. Here it will be filtered. The now clean drinking water then passes into a 500-liter drinking water discharge tank arranged under the PAUL, from which cooled drinking water can be withdrawn thanks the type of construction.

Slideshow construction of “Clean water House”:

Please click to enlarge

Bee Project

Those who say “A” like apple trees should also, like logic, say “B” like bees. Therefore, we decided to start an independent bee project in Lutindi in addition to the planting of 100 apple trees.

Because of this knowledge is necessary, we will determine a “bee responsible” from Lutindi, who is dedicated to the project content. In nearby Lushoto apprentice beekeepers are offered every year. At the earliest possible date, we send our “bee responsible person”, who can be certified as a beekeeper there on the occasion of such training.
The costs are borne by the ZAC. As well as for the acquisition of the necessary beekeeping equipment and for the first bee colony, which we can get from a nearby village near Lutindi.

The beehives will later be on our property and looked after by the locals. The harvested honey should be distributed to one third of the children in the local kindergarten as a dietary supplement, one third serve as a source of income for the / the beekeepers and one third make a more idealistic financial contribution to our children’s village project.
In addition to honey production, we also make the pollination of apple trees a little safer with this side project and create jobs.

It was also interesting to learn that there are mostly stingless bee colonies in Tanzania (so-called Melipolini). In contrast to our native honey collectors, the “female soldiers” of this genus defend their nests with an acid substance.

Apple Tree Project

In April 2019 we started the apple tree project for Lutindi. Apples are a very expensive foodstuff in Tanzania and therefore we decided to start this project on our own.
For the Primary School we ordered 24 apple trees (in three different varieties), which were planted on the school grounds at the beginning of August 2019. In addition, another 6 trees were planted on the premises of the Lutindi Mental Hospital, one of our most important local cooperation partners. Not only the whole village was on its feet on the planting day. Regional politicians from Korogwe and important public figures came to attend the planting campaign.

After the first planting had started well and all trees had survived the storm at the end of 2019, we ordered 60 more trees, almost all of which found a tree sponsor from the MSV Duisburg fans. In total, 50 more trees of different species could be planted on the grounds of the primary school and 10 trees on the grounds of the Lutindi Mental Hospital. The later harvest is intended to serve as an important food supplement for the pupils and patients of the hospital.
In addition, this project also has an educational aspect, as the children will take over the personal tree sponsorships (care, irrigation, harvesting) in agreement between us and the local school management. Keyword responsibility! Lutindi is therefore one of the very few locations in Tanzania where apple trees have been planted. In a few years a stately grove will be standing here.

The pictures of both planting campaigns speak for themselves.

To enlarge please click


But it was not as easy as the project sounds. First, varieties had to be found that do not require a frost period for annual flowering and thus fruit formation. But frost and snow in the Tanzanian Usambara mountains are not what one finds climatically there.

In Europe, we did not find any in the search for such varieties. In California, however, there is a nursery that specializes in breeding suitable and sufficiently resistant trees for the tropics and subtropics.

With Kevin, owner of the California nursery “Kuffel Creek”, we made contact with our current Tanzanian supplier “Tamu Tamu Apple”. “Tamu Tamu Apple” clarified the ideal blend of climates in the Usambara Mountains. Our ZAC founding member Martin Osing, himself a horticulturist, helped us ask the right questions at “Tamu Tamu Apple”.

Our colleague, Ombeni, attended a two-day training course at the Tanzanian tree nursery shortly before delivery to teach him the basics of planting and cultivating apple trees.
The ZAC e.V. was able to find a tree sponsor for each apple tree to refinance this special project, to whom we are very attached for their donation.