Of course, it was her life-long love of basketball that enabled her to become probably the first 5-foot-1½-inch white woman to play on the outside courts of a small African village there.
Who else would have thought to teach the tiny kids basketball drills for something to do?
Leave it to Johns, the former multi-sport star at Eastern High (class of 2002) and Franklin & Marshall College. The one who just entered her third year of medical school in Philadelphia, some day hoping to work in pediatrics.
The young woman who also finds time for oil painting on the side.
Johns impressed the Rwanda villagers so much on the basketball court in the summer of 2007 that she
It certainly was a life-changing adventure.
She and other students from Thomas Jefferson University helped teach the villagers about nutrition and HIV. She bonded with dozens of children and was "adopted" by an African family.
She watched sunsets over a volcano.
She tracked mountain gorillas.
She learned what it was like for people scarred by war and genocide to live in adobe homes with tin roofs and dirt floors. Towns with no running water or electricity. Holes in the ground for toilets.
The trip ended up being a salvation, in a way.
"The first year in med school, you're kind of jaded. You lose your lust for life and medicine. It's grueling. It's brutal," Johns said. "You forget the reasons why you're there in the first place. You go to class and study and work out and study some more and go to bed, and do it all again the next day. You forget what makes you passionate about it in the first place."
Johns always has been a doer, an overachiever.
It never seemed to matter that she was the smallest on the basketball court. She still was named the YAIAA's Division I Player of the Year and also was a standout in volleyball, softball and soccer.
At F&M, a Division III school, she was the Centennial Conference Player of the Year as a junior point guard and ended her career as the best three-point shooter in school history. She also was a star center fielder in the spring.
Meanwhile, she majored in neuroscience, minored in studio art and solidified her calling in medicine, especially in pediatrics.
It all led her to Rwanda to help others - and be paid back in ways she never imagined.
One of her favorite memories was trekking hours through muddy forests and mountain paths to watch silver back gorillas.
"The little ones were curious and playful and would come right up to you and try to touch you and then run away," Johns wrote in an e-mail to her family. "Finally, the
The trip ended with Johns receiving her Rwandese name of Munezero, meaning "one who is kind and brings happiness to others."
She hopes this all will lead to creating a medical clinic in the village one day.
For now, she is back to being a med student, her eyes opened, her world forever changed.