Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Chancy Simba
Life in the community has begun. Every day seems to be a learning day and yes learning never stops. Most Volunteers would agree that the second month of service is spent conducting meetings with various community committees and stakeholders, as well as conducting surveys. I took advantage of the surveys to try and find a counterpart (a person interested in working with me in the community work).
It is difficult – especially in the rural areas – to find someone who is championed and willing to work with a Volunteer on development with nothing to benefit themselves in return. I tried to work with a couple of people that didn’t work out before I met a young man named Foster, who is now my counterpart. A lot of these people assumed I was going to be giving them a little something at the end of their time, for the help they were giving their community, and when I made it clear this was voluntary work most of the them were no longer interested.
I first met Foster during one of the days I was conducting surveys at his parent’s house. He offered to translate some of the questions I was asking his father in Chitumbuka since I wasn’t that good in the language yet. It was helpful, and I asked him if he would be willing to help me translate for the rest of the surveys. He was very eager and willing to help.
Since then Foster has helped me enjoy my time and learn a lot of things in this community. We usually hang out every day and he is helpful when it comes to development. With his passion for development he has committed to help his community by being my counterpart and he wants to see his community develop for the better, while asking for nothing from me in return.
I believe if a lot of young people were committed to being on the forefront in development works of their communities there would be a lot less for me to do as a Volunteer coming in. Instead there could be volunteers within the communities impacting other young men and women on how they can better help themselves and their community develop. This young man, Foster, with a heart for development has changed me as a youth to take the lead in development not just as a Volunteer, but as a citizen of the nation. They say, “young people are the leaders of tomorrow,” but I guess the tomorrow is now. We need more young people to be champions of development in their local communities as this young man named Foster.