“Doing your best is the only option even if it results in failure,” said Christopher Walken in the movie Eddie the Eagle. This is one of my favorite quotes because it shows the important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. How much do we struggle to attain triumph? This is a question I ask myself frequently, and I hope to find out in the coming year. I am James Matipwiri, born and raised in Dwangwa, Nkhotakota. I am serving as a CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer in Dedza East. This blog space will be used to update you on my experience serving over the next ten months.
When I heard about CorpAfrica my ignition system sparkled … vroom! And that is when I knew my journey started. During PST at the Malawi College of Forestry and Wildlife in Dedza District I spent four weeks training, interacting and absorbing the best tools that will help me serve well in my community. Some of these tools are Human-Centered Design (HCD), Asset Based-Approach to Community Development (ABCD), and Permaculture. Allow me to say that it was a life changing experience for someone like me, with a background in Science, used to solving problems from experiments to laboratory prototypes. Now my community is my laboratory. I don’t have the answers to the problems and challenges I will learn here, but my job is to make sugar dissolve in hot water so that we can all drink tea come breakfast.
I am now living in my new community and have stayed here for approximately three weeks. I had a warm welcome by my host family and the chief and have already held a few meetings with key people and groups in the community; like Traditional Authority Kmoto, police officers, the head teacher, and members of the Area Development Committee.
During my time here I have also started to work with The Hunger Project Malawi Epicenter. Working with them has helped me to integrate well because I have taken part in training locals in leadership, self-reliance, project management and monitoring and evaluation. Frankly speaking, this institution has made it easier for me to get rid of my fears and negative expectations. There is already mindset change taking place here when it comes to participation in local development activities.