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As I Volunteer

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Emas Potolani

“Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty; it stems rather from love and devotion toward men and toward objective things”
Albert Einstein
When I was signing up to volunteer with CorpsAfrica, I had some worries and fears. I was worried about the things I normally used to do and run, and whether I was gonna have the time to run them the way I used to before my commitment. Worries about cutting some friendship ties or becoming disconnected from my friends and family, especially at that time I didn’t know where I was to be posted. I had lots of questions.

As I embarked on this journey in February this year, I carried along these questions with me to an “unknown” destination, a place I now call my home, my second home. As I established myself among the people in my community, I began to love what I do even more, not that I loved it not, but the magnitude itself grew and broadened significantly, especially after bonding with my students at Chitete Primary School. Life became less about me and what I might be missing; it became more centered on the people around me.

One special thing that I have come to agree with about volunteering, is that the service itself end up challenging the being in you, the self becomes transformed and the conception about this life is totally transformed. I can boldly say that I have seen this happening to me and it continues to happen. I have grown up wanting to pursue life and achieve more, pushing and working hard to achieve my career dreams, I might have tried to serve others before now but not to this extent; giving myself and laying myself, sacrificing myself to better the lives of the people around me. My experience with CorpsAfrica has overwhelmingly transformed me and helped me to discover my very being and the reason why I exist; to serve, to be part of the transformation for my own nation, to be an active player in helping the disadvantaged and rediscover their hidden potential to develop themselves.

Although my service with CorpsAfrica has made me to be able to discover myself in the way I just shared, it has also helped me to develop myself even much better. I have been able to do and run the things I used to before becoming part of this wonderful family, and this is very rewarding to me personally. Allow me to share with you a few instances of my personal errands that I have been doing over the years and some that I have been able to do while I volunteer. I will briefly share with you about Worship-Quake, Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL) and other things.

WORSHIP-QUAKE (www.worshipquake.org
I was privileged to found a movement of students who would pursue a common goal in using religion as a vehicle to unite people and different communities. In 2012 while I was in University, the Worship-Quake started and over the past years it has grown to levels I never thought. That’s where I spend much of my personal time. Through Worship-Quake, I have made many friends in other Colleges and Universities in Malawi as well as from other various denominations across Malawi. I personally believe that having different religious views shouldn’t be a reason to be intolerant and hostile to each other, rather be a factor to appreciate each other and be able to tolerate each other as we appreciate everyone for who they are, what they believe in or what they don’t believe in. Since this post is not about the Worship-Quake I will pause here and direct you to our page on Facebook and our website for more. But the beautiful thing is that as I continue to serve under the CorpsAfrica family, I have been able to attend all of our 3 worship sessions this year, at Chancellor College in Zomba in April, at the Polytechnic in Blantyre on 27th May, and very recently and for the first time at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Thyolo this month on 17thSeptember. As you can see, my service has actually endowed me with much growth in my personal development and errands proving all my fears to be wrong after all. I am so glad that I am still able to offer transformative platforms together with my team at the Worship-Quake although I am living here in my community.

CCL (http://citizensclimatelobby.org
The Citizen’s Climate Lobby is a group of volunteers who work for the lobbying of climate change policies in many other countries. I got linked up with CCL when I started doing one of my projects to curb climate change in my community. The CCL family has been so supportive to me especially technically in helping out to roll out the project which I am working with the Women in Chitete, the Integrated Women Empowerment Through Improved-Stove Production. You will recall from my previous posts about updates on our Cook-Stoves production with the women in my village. This project is currently going on well and progressing to the very implementation phase. Now here’s the thing, I managed to establish a group of few people to form up what is now the CCL Malawi chapter. The CCL Malawi chapter is a network where we are now able to share issues to deal with climate change in Malawi and create some projects that we can voluntarily work on in some other communities in here. With a purely voluntary membership, we have some student members and some who are working elsewhere.
So, I have discovered that during my service with CorpsAfrica as a Volunteer, I am also able to make many more relationships, networks while I stick to my work in my community. My service has developed me personally and I am glad I chose to Volunteer, I am glad to be where I am. I am glad I am contributing towards making a positive change in my community and also in my country.  Today, I am no longer concerned about the things that worried me before I joined my community. I am actually more delighted that I am where I am today; knowing the ties I am making today will forever be part of my life.

As I finish, I would like to agree with Einstein that our devotion and love to serve others and better their lives consists wholly of our selfless desire to see the people around us attain a better life, than our sense of obligation and duty towards the same. We should all strive to do good not because we are obligated to do, but because we are selfless in serving others and making this world a better place for everyone. As we serve humanity, we are also creating a better world for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren and everyone. This is the reason why I do what I do. Let me leave you with this powerful quote:

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bubble bee, the small child, and smiling faces. Smell the rain, feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential…”
Ashley Smith 


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