Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Chimwemwe Nzima
Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb to agree to serve, you only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love (Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.). The journey to servant leadership is more easily said than done. The experience as a CorpsAfrica Volunteer gives one a picture of what it really means to be a servant leader, whereby you make sacrifices to put the interests of your community first. You become part of the community by integrating and understanding them better.
The first month of my experience has been adventurous, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with new people found in the warm heart of Zomba. Their warm heartedness has enabled me to serve the community with ease. Together we work and share ideas on how we can make our community a better place. Most community members are hardworking. They have farms, rear animals (goats, chicken, pigs) and do small-scale businesses. And now that we are in the farming season, everyone goes to their garden very early in the morning. Now visits in the morning will be rendered unproductive since the owner of the homesteads are busy in their farms.
The people are very willing to learn and share their ideas. I specifically understood this when we managed to make a hand-washing facility for my host parents. I facilitated the whole activity, but it was the boys within the compound who did all the activities, making it easy and sustainable. They have acquired the knowledge, can apply it wherever they go, and even teach their friends in the community to observe their hygiene habits. I have learned how the community works together as a team.
My first community meeting was interesting. I was able to learn different community cultural aspects. For example, men sit separate from women in gatherings. I was surprised that my fellow women sat at the far end of the compound where we were to gather for the meeting. I followed suit as “I sat in my mango tree.” The presence of village chiefs brought the people a bit closer as they were ready to hear what had led to their call.
So far being a CorpsAfrica Volunteer is an adventure. I am learning new things every day, and I am eager to see how much I will learn by the end of my service come June.