Gongali Village School

Gongali Village School
children at the Gongali Village School, built by Primary Schools for Africa in Nov/Dec 2010

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

It was an amazing trip; full of surprises and accomplishment, but not without the realization that much work still remains to be done at our schools. It is a continual process of completing each school’s building program as well as existing building maintenance and school operation. 
Alan was joined on this trip by Canadian friends and donors Don and Ruth James and Anne and Terry Pearson. Ruth and Anne are the founders of African book Box Society (ABB), whose work has been described in our previous post.
The first week was spent at the opening of our joint project, the Luhunga Girls Dormitory, in the village of Mufindi. That was followed by a visit to our Karatu District to look at our school projects.


We celebrated the opening of this amazing new facility with a tour of the new building complex followed by speeches from regional politicians as well as a heartfelt speech from Ruth James that acknowledged the work of their African Book Box Society (ABB) in creating this dormitory project and many other projects during their wonderful 10 year relationship with this Mufindi village community.
Thanks to the initiative of local women who approached Ruth and Anne to create this project, there are now 64 comfortable bunk beds, a modern shower/toilet building, laundry area, multipurpose room, 2 house mother rooms, a workshop and a kitchen/dining room. PSFA’s architectural design took the opportunity to provide sustainable features that include roof rainwater harvesting, solar lighting, solar hot water heating, and a garden for the girls to grow their own vegetables. We will be forever indebted to the work of builder Restus Sanka who overcame the incredible logistical challenges of a remote location to produce such a high quality facility, in only four months.



ABB is now going to focus their efforts in the northern Tanzania region of our schools, to supply a range of interesting books that go well beyond the curriculum requirements. They are also contemplating the possibility of other community building initiatives. We at PSFA look forward to exciting possibilities working with ABB to increase the quality level of both education and health in the village communities.


One such initiative is a new regional vocational training centre that will be a collaboration between ABB and PSFA. Over one year ago, Alan Roy was approached by local officials in the village of Bashay in the Karatu District to build a much needed trade school where the many unemployed youth aged 17 - 25 that hang around the streets of Karatu could learn a trade and lead a productive life. The need is great within both the tourism industry for cooks and hotel workers and the building industry for carpenters, metalworkers, electricians, bricklayers and many other trades. Alan approached ABB, and serendipitously, they came up with a donor that agreed to fund a first phase development. so we are now in the design process, working the the regional office of the federal government’s Vocational Educational Training Authority (VETA), trying to decide which trades we should start with. More on this in later blog posts.


The first teacher residence is complete and ready for occupancy by the first teacher family. Thanks to our project donor, Safari Partners Inc from Vancouver BC, this facility’s development is well under way; we now have a new Administration Building, a 2-classroom building and its first teacher residence, with additional buildings to be constructed in the near future.


The first laboratory building is complete and ready for student classes. The high quality construction of builder Restus Sanka features terrazzo concrete countertops for durability and anti-corrosion from acids. Workstations include gas-fired bunsen burners, water faucets and sinks. 
With this laboratory, the high school now meets the government requirements for registration of the school. Official registration procedures are now underway by the District Council office.
Thank you to our major donors and their generous funding; the Eldon and Anne Foote Fund grant of $20,000 and the Tony and Beth Gvora grant of $25,000.

countertops feature terrazzo finish

The new Chemistry Lab Building

Standard levels 1, 2 and 3 classes are now being taught at our new school that started in 2015. The school has a temporary solution for the accommodation of its 3 teachers; nearby farms have put them up until we can provide new residences at the school site.
So this is our most urgent priority for fundraising. We have $18,000 now; we need approximately @$20,000 more for the construction.


We gave the Canadian group a tour of this school. Head Teacher Magreth Macha impressed us with her speech outlining the schools’s needs. The big concern at this point is the serious lack of an at-school lunch program. Kids have to walk home at noon for lunch and when they return 2 hours later, they are tired and cannot focus on learning. ABB to the rescue!! Anne and Ruth suggested the possibility of them funding a “meal in a mug” lunch program. They will also supply books. Wonderful news.
On our part, we will be upgrading the buildings to replace some deteriorated ceilings, and modifying the kitchen dining building to accommodate a teacher residence and allow for the operation of the food program.

Gongali Primary School Head Teacher Magreth Macha outlining school needs


The grand finale to the trip was a tour of the modern FAME Hospital in Karatu, where, at the end of the tour, we had a wonderful surprise. Nancy Allard, the hospital’s architect had just finished showing us around the modern facilities; an outpatient clinic, radiology department, 30 bed ward, a laboratory and plans for a new maternity ward. Alan had no sooner introduced the hospital’s founders, Dr Frank and his wife Susan, when Ruth and Don surprisingly announced a donation for the remaining funds needed for the new maternity ward…$300,000 USD. “Well, we are at that stage in our life…”, he humbly offered. Dr Frank, emotionally stunned, then quickly ran off, saying, “I’ve got to tell my staff”. It was a moment of excitement and jubilation for the rest of us as we hugged each other, fighting back tears of joy. This will be such a greatly needed feature for the hospital, where Labour and Delivery are literally bursting at the (belly’s) seams. Much kudos to you, Don and Ruth!!

L to R. Terry Pearson, Fame Staff Dr, Alan, Anne Pearson, Susan Gustafson, Restus Sanka, Don James, Ruth James, Dr Frank, Nancy Allard 
What’s Next??

Since 2010, we have built 8 village schools that are in various stages of development. We usually start with a couple of classrooms, then progress through teacher residences, dining halls, toilet buildings, and administration/library buildings. 

Needed Now:
Tidivi Primary School - 2-Family Teacher Residence Building - $38,500
As of 8 March 2017, we have $19,000, but we need another $20,000, so please help us with your donations.

Please make out cheque to "PSFA Primary Schools For Africa Society", and send to:

Primary Schools For Africa Society
3301 Wordsworth Street, Victoria, BC, V8P 4B9

or with credit card, click on DONATION button on website www.PrimarySchoolsForAfrica.com

A tax receipt will be provided.

Asante sana sana (Thank you so much).

End of Update 

Thursday, 17 November 2016


PROJECT UPDATES – 15 Nov 2016  

Simba Milima Primary School, 
Kilimamoja Primary School, 
Edith Gvora Secondary School, 
Luhunga Secondary School Dormitory Complex

Hi All,

Greetings from Tanzania again!

Simba Milima Primary School, Doffa Village

Almost finished a new teacher family home!
Our Vancouver donor, Safari Partners Inc, followed up on the funding for the first 2 classrooms completed in June 2016 with enough funds to start the much needed first teacher residence in a 2 teacher family building. Wall plastering and septic tanks/soak pits construction are in progress with completion expected before Christmas. We look forward to completing the second residence in the new year.

Alan and Project Manager Mathew - first teacher residence

septic tank and soak pit

inspecting the soak pit walls for soil permeability

Kilimamoja Primary School, Kilimamoja Village

Two teacher families now have a new home!
Our excellent builder, Mr Restus Sanka, completed the 3rd and 4th teacher family residence building. Two teacher families that were living in a classroom for the past few months are now happily adjusting to a more “modern” lifestyle with indoor kitchens, showers and flush toilets. The biggest cultural challenge is to transition from traditional outdoor cooking with its unhealthy smoky fires in small outdoor huts to the clean indoor propane countertop gas stoves which by the way they can afford now since the accommodation is rent free. 

On this trip, we installed donor plaques for those who contributed funds for a classroom. The pupils and teachers send their heartfelt thanks to:
BC Ferries of Victoria, BC, in memory of Dale Pace
Alicia and Sang Han, Victoria, BC
Tony and Beth Gvora, in memory of Beth’s daughter Jennifer Street, who tragically died at the early age of 10 years. When the first plaque was installed in June, the pupils asked to see a picture of Jennifer. When I went back in October, I brought another plaque with a photo of her. The pupils gathered around in awe and stared at her beautiful face framed by golden curls. “She looks like an angel”, several remarked.  
the new residences for 2 teacher families

happy teacher family in new residence

Jennifer Street - an "angel"

Dale Pace classroom

Edith Gvora High School, Gongali Village

The Chemistry Laboratory is finally under construction!
Thanks to a generous donation from two wonderful donors, the Eldon and Anne Foote Fund grant of $20,000 and the Tony and Beth Gvora grant of $25,000, we are able to build the long awaited first laboratory building for this high school built in 2014. For its first two years of operation, the science-based school has not been able to offer science classes for chemistry, physics and biology. We can only afford at this point to build the Chemistry lab building. The physics and biology labs will hopefully be funded in the near future, but at least those classes can be taught in the Chemistry lab until we raise the funds. Since this building will be our most technically demanding construction to date, we are fortunate to have builder Restus Sanka’s proven expertise. The building will be completed by January 2017.

new Chemistry Laboratory - start of construction

District Chairman Mnyenye and teachers announcing new Chemistry Lab construction

Luhunga Secondary School Girls Dormitory Complex, Mufindi Village

We are 50% complete.
The teachers are getting excited. The 31 girls who will live there are getting EVEN MORE EXCITED. They have been forced to live inside a classroom, three to a bed, in dilapidated bunks that are falling apart, with no interior washrooms or water. The dormitory compound facilities include rooms for 64 girls, a kitchen/dining hall, a toilet/shower building, multipurpose room, workshop, house mother residences, and interior gardens.
The roofing is on. Wells and septic tanks are built. Walls are being plastered. The windows are manufactured and on site. And the whole project is progressing very well thanks again to the tireless efforts of builder Restus Sanka, who commutes 14 hours each way by bus every other week, to organize construction with local “fundies” (trades). 
I had the pleasure of being there with the project’s donors, Ruth James and Anne Pearson, of Victoria’s African Book Box Society, the charity we are partnering with on this project. In their 11 years in this Mufindi district, these two creative and spirited women and their organization have distributed books, sponsored construction of classrooms and libraries, supported a Children’s Village project and taught innovative and colourful classes at the schools. You can check out their website http://africanbookbox.org/

toilet and shower building flanked by dormitory room buildings
where the girls live now - in a spare classroom
Ruth James and Anne Pearson
of project sponsor African Book Box Society,
with builder Restus Sanka, middle, and teachers Mr Essaye and Mr Lebaye

excited future dormitory residents
roof framing

building the first truss
local families and teachers touring the project
creative results of one of Anne and Ruth's classes

women cleaning the site with babies
strapped to their backs
class in progress

creative work

What’s Next??

Since 2010, we have built 8 village schools that are in various stages of development. We usually start with a couple of classrooms, then progress through teacher residences, dining halls, toilet buildings, and administration/library buildings. 

Needed Now:
Tidivi Primary School - 2-Family Teacher Residence Building - $38,500
As of 15 Nov 2016, we have $19,800, but we need another $18,700, so please help us with your donations.

In Near Future:
Gongali Primary School - Toilet Building - $18,000
Kilimamoja Primary School - Toilet Building - $18,000
Edith Gvora High School - 2-Family Teacher Residence Building - $38,500
Simba Milima Primary School - 2-Family Teacher Residence Building - $38,500
Patricia Elizabeth Primary School - 2-Family Teacher Residence Building - $38,500

Please make out cheque to "PSFA Primary Schools For Africa Society", and send to:

Primary Schools For Africa Society
3301 Wordsworth Street, Victoria, BC, V8P 4B9

or with credit card, click on DONATION button on website www.PrimarySchoolsForAfrica.com

A tax receipt will be provided.

Asante sana sana (Thank you so much) and kilalaheri (good luck) to all of you in the upcoming Christmas holiday season.

End of Update 

Monday, 18 July 2016


Hello All

I just returned from Africa on July 7 with another amazing trip; new experiences, inspiring new people, and most of all, great progress with school construction.

 Simba Milima Primary School - Grand Opening

Chris Ronneseth of Safari Partners Inc, the funding donor for the school, joined us for the official opening of the school; two new classrooms and an administration building with a headmaster's office, a teacher's room and a library room. A mass of (mostly) uniformed pupils greeted him with singing when he arrived and later performed an entertaining and amazingly precise marching dance number. Many speeches praised and appreciated him for his generosity and support of the schooling needs of this community, and rewarded him by "robing" him in a traditional Maasai blanket to become an honorary elder of the Doffa Village commuity.

Village children celebrating the new school

Our projects now seem to attract government awareness and promises of continued future support. Dignitaries attending the event included the member of Parliament for the area, Mr Willy Qambalo, the District Chairman, Mr Jubilate Mnenye, and the District Executive Director, Mr Moses Mabulo.
Thanks to our excellent builder Restus Sanka for another quality construction; brightly painted smooth plastered brick walls, level concrete floors, well-crafted and smoothly operating metal doors and windows. With the school now turned over to the village, the locals proudly state that these buildings are the best and most important ones in the village and vow to take great care of them.
And thanks as always, to our Project Manager, Mathew Sulle, for a great job in organizing the openings at all schools. 

Community built foundations for the teacher residences - will be completed by PSFA with additional funding from Safari Partners Inc.

The village wanted to do something themselves to aid in the construction; they raised enough funds (about $1,800) to start the first teacher residence building and managed to at least complete the foundations. As a surprising further gesture of support, when he viewed the work, Chris Ronneseth offered to fund the remaining construction. So now we look forward in the next few months to a home for two teacher families. 

Tidivi Primary School - Grand Opening

Four new classrooms and a renovated, (but temporary) toilet building are now ready for occupancy in the next school term.
We had a great celebration as the village provided singing, dancing, and promises from the village executives of continued support to maintain this school at a high level of operation and maintenance in future.  

children escorting us to the new school site
The District Chairman, Mr Jubilate Mnenye, and the District Education Officer, Mr Papakinyi Kaai, again promised the support of their district government in ensuring the school's successful operation. 

Jubilating District Chairman Jubilate Mnenye in new classroom
The village thanked the ex-cadets of the Class of '70 for their support of this school project and requested that they continue to support the school's growth over the next few years; remaining projects include teacher residences, library, administration building, teacher's room, kitchen/dining hall, and toilet building.

official ribbon-cutting

A certificate of appreciation was presented to Alan Roy representing the Class of '70.

Thanks again to our excellent builder Restus Sanka for another quality construction project. 

However, teacher residences for 4 teacher families are urgently needed now. Due to the remoteness of the school from rental housing, the teachers must live on site. This will be our fundraising project continuing in 2016. 

traditional Iraqw men's tribal dance

Traditional Iraqw women's tribal dance

The village with the first two classrooms

Royal Military College of Canada - Class of '70 Sponsors

Kilimamoja Teacher Residence Building

The new teacher residence building is about 90% complete; good news for the two teacher families living in one of the (yet to be occupied) new classrooms. Once the cement parging on the walls is cured, the buildings will be painted our normal bright gold colour.

the new 2-family teacher residences - 90% complete

New 64 Girl dormitory project in the Mufindi area

The plans are completed and Restus Sanka will be building this new exciting project, starting the week of 18 - 22 July 2016. 

The project is funded by the African Book Box Society (ABBS) of Victoria in collaboration with the local Foxes' NGO organization, who will administer the construction contract. 

Restus and I visited the Mufindi area and enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of the Geoffrey Knight and Jenny Peck, who run the Foxes' NGO Mufindi Orphans project there, an inspiring effort to provide shelter, sustenance, education, and medical care for children in Mufindi, and to curtail the spread of HIV.

tea farming hills

site levelling

Geoffrey, Upendo, Jenny, Alan, Restus

meeting with teachers to review plans

Unlike most of Tanzania, this hilly region, relatively speaking, is "baridi kali" (very cold). The scenery of rolling hills carpeted in tea planting surrounded by trees harvested for timber was both bucolic and breathtaking, and belied any sense of struggles by the local people. 

Restus will have a challenge building this project, probably one of the most sophisticated in the region. He will seek out the best local "fundies" (tradesmen) in an effort to use as many locals as possible. We enjoyed meeting some of them and were impressed with their friendly quiet nature.

Restus and I are very grateful to ABBS for the use of their comfortable Mufindi home "Protea" that came supplied with some of the best home cooked meals that we have had in Tanzania to date, creatively prepared by the talented and sweet natured chef, Upendo (which literally translates as "love"). 

Stay tuned for more updates in the near future, with stories and photos of our adventures. Thanks for the visit...

Alan Roy

More buildings are needed to complete the school projects, so...
Please donate

Please make out cheque to "PSFA Primary Schools For Africa Society", and send to:

Primary Schools For Africa Society
3301 Wordsworth Street, Victoria, BC, V8P 4B9

or with credit card, click on DONATION button on website www.PrimarySchoolsForAfrica.com

A tax receipt will be provided.