Close Bonds: My (extended) Stay at JBFC

September 18, 2012 4:00 pm Published by

After two weeks in Tanzania, this 17-year-old called her mom and begged to stay longer. Kat Weaver wrote this guest blog about how she and her classmates from a Tulsa high school spent part of their summer and the friendships they won’t soon forget.

Upon arriving at JBFC, sixteen Holland Hall guests (fourteen students, two chaperones) including myself, all from Tulsa, Oklahoma were greeted with screams of joy, hugs and welcoming smiles from the JBFC girls and school children. Throughout the next two weeks, we were tasked with painting dorms and classrooms, doing inventory of classroom materials, working on a football pitch, fundraised by Holland Hall back in the US, and painting a Periodic Table mural in the new science lab.

However, it was not all work for us. We had the amazing opportunity to experience Children of Africa Day.  After decorating the dining hall Tanzanian-style, we sang, danced and played with the girls, and also gave gift bags to each of them for their “birthdays.”  

We enjoyed a hike on one of the campus’ scenic mountains, an unforgettable safari in the Serengeti, a trip to the city of Mwanza to explore the market, dinner with a JBFC Mama in the village of Kitongo, movie nights with the girls, attending church each Sunday, numerous jewelry-making sessions, dance parties and football games with the village children. We also had the privilege of eating at the new campus restaurant each weekend, experiencing all different types of cuisine with a gorgeous beach view of Lake Victoria. Whatever free-time we had was spent talking and playing with the JBFC girls, and bonding with them as much as possible before our departure.

The overall experience of living at JBFC for two weeks was both eye-opening and life changing. After becoming so close with the children and experiencing a lifestyle so different from the one we have in Tulsa, we all left with a new/strengthened connection to the JBFC girls that cannot be broken. After a job well-done and new friendship made, we all left with dismay, but also warmth in our hearts.  We all share a strong motivation to return back to the states to help JBFC grow and evolve even more and a mutual anticipation among all of us for our next opportunity to return to the children we have so closely bonded with. 

Categorized in:

This post was written by Mainsprings