Welcome Bruce and Gena Engelfried

posted Feb 9, 2014, 7:13 PM by Barry Johnson ISR   [ updated Feb 9, 2014, 7:15 PM ]
Bruce and Gena Engelfried are used to being warm. They have been living in Redlands California where the desert meets the mountains and the palm tree meets the pine for several years. It is hot and dry there but Gena managed to start a Montessori Farm School and Bruce keeps track of books at the University of California Science Library. They are travelers who love adventure in new places. They also like to ride bikes, boogie board, ski, and hike until they can find a cozy spot to read. They raised four daughters all of whom are finished, or nearly finished, with college and are having adventures of their own. They have an amazing dog named Genevieve who is named after one of their literary heroes from the Madeleine books.

Bruce is a native Californian who loves movies. He also loves animals and has been a member of the LA Zoo society since 1989. Bruce can tell you the difference between a gerenuk and a gnu. His favorite animal is a coati mundi. He says coatis are like raccoons and that they are cute. He has liked them since one jumped on his lap when he was six. Bruce is a volunteer soccer referee who started wearing tight black socks and cleats when his girls were on teams with names like “Peachy Kean” and “Red Rangers.” Bruce is a writer and creates screenplays, short stories and is working on a novel. He is very good at crossword puzzles, trivia games and juggling. He is also very good with babies, in spite of his tallness.


Gena has worked with children all of her life. She set out to study medieval history and to become a folk singer, but ended up starting a preschool on an island in the West of Ireland. She has started several successful schools and worked with students from pre-school through college. When she was a teacher, she taught middle school English, worked as an elementary reading specialist and later taught high school history. Gena loves to grow, cook and eat food. She still likes folk music and listens for authentic versions of it wherever she travels. The students at her schools know their director is in a good mood when she is singing in the hallways. She believes that education is the most creative way to make the world a better place and that good teachers are in tune with the children they serve. She is very good with Bruce, in spite of her shortness.

Gena and Bruce are very excited to be heading to Sumatra. They can’t wait to get to know the new plants, food, animals and especially people who are already there (or on their way there). They know that it will be different and probably a little weird (even for Californians). They also know that it’s an amazing opportunity to share what they know and learn new things and belong to a community of people who are interested and interesting.  

They are especially looking forward to listening to gibbons, walking Genevieve in the jungle at sunrise, singing with the children in Duri and Rumbai, experiencing thunder and lightning and listening to the stories of the families who have come from all over the world. 

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