First Impressions: Melinda Wulf

October 23, 2013 3:44 pm Published by

I arrived at JBFC in a cloud of cold medicine and jet lag from the nearly 30 hours of traveling. This quickly wore off as I changed into my long skirt and began my first official tour of the JBFC campus.
I had seen several pictures of campus throughout the interview process, but they certainly didn’t do the view of Lake Victoria and the beautiful vegetation on campus justice. We made our way around, checking out the restaurant, bungalows, livestock and crops. As we got closer and closer to the girls’ dorms and dining hall, I began to see signs pop up welcoming me to campus. In the dining hall, the signs covered the walls.

I was truly touched by the signs and very excited to begin meeting all the girls. That opportunity came later that night when we had dinner in the dining hall followed by prayer time. The girls took turns praying, singing and dancing.

Carene Gates (JBFC’s Director of Operations and the Founder’s mother) took one look at me when the girls initially broke into song and said she saw what I was thinking written all over my face. “This is why I am here.”

One day when there was no school due to national holiday, I spent the day with the girls in dorm area. The day started with porridge and hair braiding with the older girls.

Then I spent some time with the younger girls as they made friendship bracelets for Elisa (JBFC volunteer) and me and helped us with our Swahili. I quickly learned that the love for Justin Bieber does not end at the Atlantic Ocean.

This past week, Neema had a flat tire on her wheelchair, so a few of the girls and I took her into the village to get it fixed. On the way there, she reached out to me and said “Shika mkono”. I asked her what it meant and she said, I want to hold your hand. So as the other girls pushed her wheelchair down the path, I held her hand into town.

While I haven’t been here long, I’m enjoying the connections that are beginning between me and the kids. Everyday there is something that makes me feel the way I did that first night at prayer time… 

“This is why I am here.”

Guest blogger Melinda Wulf is JBFC’s new Administrative Director. She moved to Tanzania at the beginning of October.

Editor’s Note: JBFC would like to thank Elisa Masso for the beautiful pictures of Melinda (the first one and the one next to Melinda’s byline). 

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This post was written by Mainsprings