Why I Can’t Wait to Return

January 29, 2014 10:39 pm Published by


 It’s hard to believe, but I’m getting ready for my 5th trip to JBFC. I spend most of my time in the US, helping raise money for the organization and keeping supporters informed about what’s happening in Tanzania. But visiting JBFC in Tanzania is my favorite part of the job, despite the marathon series of stuffy plane rides it takes to get there.

These are my top 5 reasons why I can’t wait to get back to JBFC:

1) GIRLS!!!!!

This is #1 for a reason. These girls have captured my heart. From the young, sweet ones that still come snuggle beside me at prayer service; to the too-cool-for-school teenagers, who despite the bravado have tears in their eyes when they say good-bye; to the young women, who are growing up (faster than I would like) to be such smart, interesting people.

2) JBFC’s Growth

JBFC never ceases to amaze me. The way this organization has taken root in our little village of Kitongo is nothing short of miraculous. Chris Gates keeps driving us to be better, more efficient, and more impactful. And it shows in our physical footprint. We’re not just adding acres; we’re nurturing farmland. We’re not just erecting structures; we’re building libraries and science labs; we’re not just expanding, we’re growing a center of the community. You all make that possible and I can’t wait to see it for myself, so I can report back to you about the many changes and improvements. I’ve drafted my good friend & videographer, Jonathan Wooley, into joining me in Tanzania yet again. So we will be documenting JBFC’s growth and broadcasting our progress every month on JBFC’s Youtube channel.

3) Chris Gates & the JBFC Staff

Chris is truly one of my best friends. He’s inspiring, hilarious, driven, smart and has a huge heart. So it’s no coincidence that the team he’s built around him is AWESOME. Seth & Melinda are terrific cross-continental co-workers and I can’t wait to find out what I can do to make their lives easier, so they can continue to make such huge differences for kids. Also, they’re all a lot of fun. So, I’m looking forward to kicking back on Chris’ back porch, which overlooks Lake Victoria, and hanging out with them. I also can’t wait to see Rachel, Mzee Kitula, Mama Mary, Gertruda, Samo, and Edith, all of the behind the scenes staff members who are the backbone of the organization.

4) Prayer Time

There is no picture for this one, because an image just can’t capture it (although we will keep trying). Prayer time at JBFC is one of the most special parts of the day for me. When I’m at home, having a rough day, I turn to my phone and play the recordings of the girls singing at prayer time. Something clicks – my perspective shifts and whatever the “huge” problem was becomes miniscule. There is such a sense of peace and spirituality that washes through the room at Prayer Time. In that moment, you can see the hardships that are so often hidden behind our girls beautiful smiles. But it’s a burden that becomes lighter surrounded by so much faith and love. These are the moments I cherish and the ones that fuel my work for the organization.

5) Tanzanian Sunrises

There’s truly nothing like it. It’s unparalleled beauty and the kind of sight that restores the soul.

Blogger Ashli Sims is JBFC’s Director of Development.



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This post was written by Mainsprings