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Adapting and Working Around Nothingness

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Wezi Kayira

When one becomes a Volunteer, the first thing that comes to people’s mind is “Wow! You must have it bad.” What they don’t know is that it’s just a matter of perception. I mean, it all comes down to how we wish to interpret things.

I won’t lie, it’s definitely not a walk in the park. But at the same time, it’s the best teacher. Six months into my service and I am so proud of myself. One of the things that has helped me cope with my current situation, allowed me to enjoy my service, and wake up very positive each morning, is being flexible enough to adapt to any given situation, as well as working around things. Being able to work around things isn’t easy either though; you fail, get frustrated, try again, and then finally you get something.

One of the things I am still learning is gardening. In my community it’s close to impossible to find herbs, and fruits are hard to come by even if they are in season. Talk of vegetables, now those are very rare. I love vegetables and herbs so I had two options, create my own garden or get used to the scarcity of things. I chose the former.

This garden started with mint and ginger on one side, and tomatoes, vegetables, and onions on the other side. I thought my efforts of watering would suffice, but no. On the bright side, my vegetables are growing well even though the tomatoes and onions had a different fate. I never got to even transplant the onions before they died. The tomatoes survived transplantation until someone advised me to apply fertilizer and all but three survived. I was heartbroken. I reflected on this, and now I’ve planted the tomatoes in plastic bottles for easy monitoring, watering and correct fertilizer application next time.

All this has given me a sense of responsibility. I wake up knowing I have to take care of something. I no longer worry about vegetables because I now just walk to my garden and help myself. Did I mention I also have chickens? And finally learnt how to bake? Yes, I am taking this opportunity to do and learn most things I wouldn’t have dared to attempt back home. So, who knew failure could be the perfect teacher, and scarcity could be the greatest inspiration to push one to do something? I am one happy lady who now gets to eat her vegetables and drink her lemon, mint tea whenever.

This is what I call happiness.

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