A Gap Year in Bulembu
We welcome and highly value our volunteers in Bulembu, who come to give and serve but invariably get so much more out of the experience than they anticipate! Have you ever wondered what it would be like to serve at a child care village like ours or know someone who would like to? Read our interview with Jula Mala from Germany who recently completed a gap year, and you may end up reaching for an application yourself!
Volunteer Profile: Jula Mala (age 20 on arrival), Germany
RS: Hi Jula, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
JM: Sure, ok, I’m from Holzgerlingen – a little town half an hour away from Stuttgart in Germany and I’d just finished high school when I came to Bulembu.
RS: Had you ever visited Africa before?
JM: Yes, I was in Uganda, Tanzania and Tunisia. My Mom and my brother both lived in Uganda, so I am quite well linked to Africa!
RS: Oh, I see, it’s in the family! So how did you first hear about Bulembu Ministries?
JM: Ah, that’s a good question. I was looking for a kind of gap year and actually I wanted to go to Vietnam but my former Leader in Royal Rangers told me about Bulembu. She knew that I love Royal Rangers and so it goes.. 😉 I love to work with the youth.
RS: What was the purpose of your trip and how long was the trip?
JM: I was almost 10 month in Bulembu and the purpose – ah I wanted to learn new things about different cultures, help other youngsters and have a year to figure out what’s gonna be my next step work-wise.
RS: Who were your main leaders and can you tell us a bit about them?
JM: My main leaders were Akki and Alli El-Kaakours. Both of them were good mentors, not only for the youth or for their two kids but also for myself. I was in Bulembu to work with the youth and help, out but through the El-Kaakours I could learn a lot about myself and how important mentoring is. Thanks, you two!
RS: They are great! OK tell us what memories stand out to you as highlights?
JM: The whole time was great and kind of a highlight, but a few events like the Kidscamps, the Youth conference “Battlefield” and Christmas day are memories I love to talk about!
RS: Did anything surprise you about the country and your experience?
JM: Yes, for me the mixture of traditional and modern culture is interesting.
RS: Can you tell us your favourite things about Swazi culture?
JM: Oh I love the Swazi dance 😊
RS: Ah it is awesome isn’t it! Ok a bit more personal to you, do you feel you have grown and changed as a person and how?
JM Yes a lot. I’ve got more self confidence, learned more about my skills in organizing stuff and my belief in God has grown.
RS: That’s fantastic. So I’m guessing you would recommend a visit here. What advice would you offer someone else who was coming?
JM: Yes Bulembu is a great place for a gap year. To other volunteers I would advise to be open minded and just be themselves. And to go on long hikes cause the area is so beautiful 😊
RS: It really is! Ok to wrap up, what are you doing next now that you’re home?
JM: At the moment I am applying at different Universities and schools. I hope the midwife school or the police gonna take me – but we will see and no matter what – HE is with me.
RS: Absolutely. Any final thoughts? Will you be coming to visit?
JM: To be a volunteer in Bulembu was a good decision and I definitely want to come back!
RS: Ah we all hope you visit again! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! All the best to you in the future, we are so glad you came!
We hope you enjoyed reading Jula’s highlights! For anyone who would like to find out more about visiting Bulembu to volunteer in any capacity, please do visit our volunteers pages here at www.bulembu.org/visit-and-serve to find our more. It may just be the start of a very exciting journey! Thank you.