The Tancan Team in Tanzania
Alban was a key driver in the inspiration to plant orchards on schoolgrounds. He began his education studying theology and philosophy. Then he went into business before studying both architecture and construction. A self-made entrepreneur, he owns and operates the beautiful Ruaha Hilltop Lodge (www.ruahahilltoplodge.com). He has a strong commitment to social justice and to the welfare of young Tanzanians. Alban’s managerial talents are a huge asset to the logistics of planting orchards on schoolgrounds.
A trusting and effective relationship has been developed between the Tanzania (TanCan) and Canadian(SOAS) school orchard organizations. Over the years, four SOAS directors and five other Canadians have visited Tanzania. They have all been graciously hosted by the Lutambi family. In 2016, Alban visited Canada . We met with him several times. It was an extremely informative and productive exchange for all involved. We all came to love and respect Alban for his wisdom and devotion to improving the food sustainability of impoverished communities within Tanzania. The SOAS directors each gave him an educational tour of horticultural and permaculture sites within BC.
Alban's dad, Joseph, has been the rock behind the orchard projects. He is much loved by all, and regularly checks that the children take good stewardship of the fruit trees. He is also there to help the children and teachers plant the trees.
Gideon Ole Makara
A modern Masai, Gideon exudes strength of spirit and integrity. Although Gideon resides in Arusha, he buses to Iringa and takes an active part in the SOAS/TanCan school planting sessions and water tank installations. Gideon provides an objective voice in our program execution.
Gideon owns the safari company
Ndovu Adventures Limited. He has a long time experience in Tanzania's tourism industry. Based in Arusha. Gideon Ole Makara has worked as a Mountain Porter, Walking Safari Guide, Mountain Guide to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru, Oldonyo Lengai (Mountain of God) as the active volcanic mountain at Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and Longido Mountain. He is one among those whom worked hard towards doing a documentary in 2005 about the Maasai Tribe in Longido, Serengeti and Ngorongoro. With his full of experience in flora and fauna and his passionate for his country, he would like to welcome all the tourists intending to visit his lovely country Tanzania, to share with them his experience, the culture of his people “Maasai”, and many more other tribes together with all their tribal adventures. On request, he can arrange Safaris/Tours to all attractive sites within East Africa.
Baptista is currently the treasurer of TanCan. Previously working as a liaison placing visiting physicians in local clinics, he now operates Iringa's finest hotel and keeps TanCans accounting up-to-date.
The SOAS Team in Canada
Maureen Loiselle - Executive Director.
Thetis Island, BC
Maureen, and her husband,Wayne, are the founders of the School Orchards Africa Society (SOAS). Both are retired Canadian educators. Whilst traveling in Tanzania in 2010 they were moved by the community spirit of the Tanzanian people and admired their self reliance. Although they saw extreme poverty, they were warmly welcomed by these courteous, sincere people. Being distressed about the affects of the Western world`s carbon footprint and the unfair burden that that footprint imposes on developing countries, Maureen and Wayne vowed to make a difference. Partnering with TanCan and creating School Orchards Africa was a natural outcome for their concerns.
-DMichael Baker - Treasurer.
Cowichan Bay, BC
Mike is a financial planner who has lived and worked in the Cowichan Valley, BC for over 30 years. His other volunteer work has been with Habitat for Humanity where he has worked with teams building houses in Mexico, Guatemala, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Chile and Thailand. Mike and his wife, Penny, have visited the schools in Tanzania - returning with great suggestions on how we could move forward in the future. His expertise is invaluable in keeping track of the society's finances.
Deceased. Cecilia Inness,
Thetis Island, BC
Mike and Cecilia Inness have always had a heart for Africa. Mike spent his early years on the family farm in Kenya before moving to Canada. While most of his working life has been on ships & the sea he & his wife, a Registered Nurse, farmed for many years in Cobble Hill. Cecilia has also volunteered for numerous community, church and school organizations. SOAS directors mourn Cecilia's passing. She was a knowledgeable and enthusiastic contributor to the management of SOAS and is very much missed by us all.
Paul Slade - Director
Born and raised in the Cowichan Valley into the family owned Water Well Drilling company; Drillwell Enterprises. Paul has visited the schools several times, as a volunteer, and has overseen the drilling of the wells...not a straight forward process in rural Tanzania! "Working with SOAS gives me pride in knowing I am able to be a small part in making a large and lasting difference in the lives of students and their families that do not have the same opportunities given to us in Canada."
Leighton Mellem - Director
Leighton is a retired agricultural supply company manager (Top Shelf), he brings astute business experience to SOAS. In 2016 and 2019 he visited all the school orchards in Tanzania and assisted in the plantings of two schools. A Duncan Rotary member, Leighton has played a key role in helping us forward funding proposals to Rotary.
Chris Kelsey - Legal Advisor.
Chris is a lawyer with a general solicitor practice in Courtenay BC. He has an extensive history of community involvement including work with the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Canadian Bar Association, Minor Hockey and St Joseph's General Hospital. He is married to Susan and has two sons.
Linda George -Communications.
Gabriola Island, BC
Linda is a retired Canadian educator. She founded and managed the Greening Schoolgrounds program in British Columbia for 10 years. She also designed the Greening Canada Schoolgrounds program for Trees Canada. She brings practical experience to our team. Linda is interested in permaculture gardening methods and manages a large no dig garden in her backyard. She lends extensive management and school ground planting experience to the project.
Rossalynn Woodgate - Director
Lynn is a retired biologist and landscape architect. She is generous with her horticultural knowledge which is invaluable in planning the school orchards.
In her youth she worked for CUSO in Arusha, Tanzania where she established an upper level course in horticulture. She brings SOAS an indepth perspective of both cultural and agriculture situations.
Cobble Hill, BC
Don Skerik is mostly a retired electrical contractor who has specialized in renewable energy for the past ten years. Don taught various trades courses at Vancouver Island University as well as three stints as a volunteer instructor in Cambodia. He has a strong passion for the co-operative enterprise model. He is a Duncan Rotary member.