CROSSING THE FINISH LINE
Written by Vanessa Chimutu, CorpsAfrica Volunteer Malawi
When I first came to my site in February 2016, I was nervous, taking myself for my family and friends. It was so hard in the beginning to adjust a to the new environment. But with the assistance from my host family, the school, as well as the community members itself, it got better. From the start of my service, I was skeptical on how we are to manage staying in the community, but little by little I began to understand the community and the customs of the place I was living in. With time, I formed friendships through the interactions with different people. I began to feel more comfortable and worked on projects more efficiently.
From working with the girls at Nsala secondary school, to the children at the nursery school, I have so many memorable experiences with the community. I truly believe the projects done in my community would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the strength and support from the CorpsAfrica staff, which pushed me to make everything work. The nursery school proved to be the biggest challenge, we ran out of materials and did not have transport to get more materials. But with a lot of determination, a lot of the challenges were removed and it was a success to see the people light up in the community after finishing the project.
I am very thankful, for the opportunity to attest to my abilities, and also to explore and grow professionally. It feels so unreal to be finally finished with service, all I can say is thank you CorpsAfrica for believing in me and helping me cross the finish line.
I Was Here
Written by Lucy Chihana, CorpsAfrica Volunteer in Malawi
Reposted from Lucykondwani
I always wanted to volunteer. Leave home, be on my own, meet new people, and learn a new language. It was in September, 2015 when I saw the call for volunteers by CorpsAfrica, immediately I knew I would get in and maybe get to volunteer. 25th March, 2016 is the day I got to my site in Balaka-Miliyoni village. I met people who would be my family for the rest of my stay here, that means I had to decide if I was going to accept them into my life or not. To cut the long story short- my host family is amazing, the daughters are basically my sisters and I know we will be in each others lives even after I leave because they were nothing to me but amazing,helpful, and joyful. My one month stay with my host family was adventurous: from night traditional dances (mganda), fetching firewood, to Nsima for breakfast. My host family was super helpful in assisting me adjust and settle. They made me feel accepted and wanted, I believe this is what we want to feel when we go or move to a new place, city or school.
A month later I moved to my own place. Its a small house that was once a maize mill. The first time there I couldn’t believe I was ever going to live and survive there. Well, here I am and if I had to turn back the hands of time I would still choose this exact path. It wouldn’t make sense to some people but I have always wanted to make a difference in the lives of people I don’t know or I owe nothing just to be remembered by someone somehow that because our paths crossed their life is not the same. I believe It doesn’t matter how big or small your contribution is when it comes to making a difference. Use whatever it is you have to make the life of another better. I have never taught anywhere but, I became a standard teacher here. Teaching a kid how to even hold a pencil isn’t a joke, I thank God for my teachers for never giving up on me.
My class…my students. I pray one of them becomes a president one day and remembers I was here.
I never would have known that between the numbers 1-5, 5 is the hardest to learn how to write if it wasn’t for my students. Like its rightfully put “the discovery of something new is the beginning of knowledge”.
This woman right there made life so much bearable, easier and fun. My neighbour and landlord. She helped with my laundry, cooked, swept , mopped and when I took long vacations she watched over my house 24/7. We took every meal together. I officially moved into her house the last 2 months of my service. My laughs with her were loud and real. She truly made me happy. Never dull moments with Nagama. One of the things I will terribly miss about my volunteer experience is Nagama. I know no matter how many years go by she will always remember I was here.
Written by Lusekelo Simwela, CorpsAfrica Volunteer in Malawi
The hills are alive again. It is green everywhere, from the endless fields of maize, to the miombo trees covering the slopes, to the grass both long and short. The hills are alive; that was the first thing I noticed when I first got to my site. Strange as it looked I loved it. The hills however were not alive for long, soon the rain stopped, the maize was harvested, the grass was cut and some of it burned and it became cold. It was so cold I once wore three shirts and a jacket just to keep warm. It was so cold I thought I had wasted my money buying a fan. But that did not last either as the cold slowly went away.
I welcomed the sun I craved its warmth. But just like the cold before it too became unbearable. It was too hot, I remembered my fan, my baby. It worked, sometimes on the few days that were cool enough for it not to blow even warmer air towards me. The trees became brown then, the grass was even browner, it felt like I had been transported to another place till one day.
The sky grew dark even though it was noon and the skies opened up. I saw the land transform. As one tree after another started to turn green. The fields were tilled once more and maize was planted. The hills were alive again. A complete circle, a testament of what I had gone through. For I too changed. I went from living in Lilongwe with my family to Makanani Mwanza. I got there without knowing a single person, I lived among them through the cold winters, the harsh summers, through the meetings and interviews. I worked with them, ate with them. I felt their happiness the same way they felt mine, shared in their sadness and their sorrows. I celebrated in their triumphs as there were mine too. I became one of them, from having a happy family back home to having one here in Makanani, Mwanza.
A full year, full of experiences and I will never replace or forget. But just as everything else, this too has come to an end. Today I walked around my site saying goodbye to the chiefs and different people. I got to the last house. The house belongs to a man I worked closely with on my shallow well project. I had spent a lot of days at his house from the very first weeks of my service. He has five children the youngest of which is Verina. She was barely three months old when I first saw her.
She hated me; she would cry every time I wanted to carry her, she even peed on me once. She however slowly warmed up to me. I finished my goodbyes and I left and she followed me all the way to the road. I had to cross the road as I had to go to my host family and I waved her goodbye and she started crying uncontrollably. The mom came to comfort her and I walked away to the sound of her sobs. It broke my heart.
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