My end of service quote comes from the movie John Wick Chapter 3: "I have served, I will be of service."
Looking back and reflecting on what I have done and achieved in 42 weeks together with the people in my community, I always get shivers of excitement every time. In almost all circumstances, against all odds, the people in my community have managed to stay focused and keep their eyes on the prize despite overwhelming and numerous challenges that we kept bumping into throughout and kept us on our toes.
I remember arriving at my site late in the evening and contemplating all night long if I was physically, mentally and emotionally ready to go ahead with my service. I recall telling my father that I was sure CorpsAfrica/Malawi got the wrong guy to carry out this noble duty. Days, weeks and months passed and every day I grew more confident that my service was going to be a success. I developed friendships with people of all ages, professions and genders and all these people had high hopes in me and encouraged me throughout. The community members showered numerous support and stepped up for me in ways I couldn't have guessed in a million years. This coupled with the cheerleading from fellow Volunteers and CorpsAfrica staff members made me grow confident and believed more in what I was doing.
After settling, I developed a working relationship with the local youth club and in the first months we worked on two small income-generating activities, community sensitization on education and child labour. I was privileged to work with them on a Mastercard Foundation funded Covid-19 response project and a bee-keeping and honey processing factory with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Connect. Under this project, the youths will be producing, packing and selling over 2000 kilograms of honey annually.
With the popularity of cooking oil, demand for production of sunflower crops coupled with low prices of sunflower seeds, we have managed to also set up a sunflower oil extraction and refinery factory for a local farmer club. Thanks to the financial support from CorpsAfrica and partners, this club will be producing and selling over 1500 liters of cooking oil in the community. The coming of this factory will also intensify production of sunflower crop.
Looking back to when I first arrived and now when my service is almost done, I can't help but notice a community full of opportunities making strides to develop and become resilient.