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Being the Third Volunteer

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Wongani Siula

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples …” Mother Teresa.

In life, we usually say we are not in competition with anyone else other than making sure we improve to be a better version of ourselves. But, I find this very inapplicable in most cases where one has to undergo a rigorous and competitive selection process to be found in the final product line. Just like any recruitment process, this was the case when many equally qualified candidates tried their luck at CorpsAfrica Volunteer interviews but never made it to the Pre-Service Training (PST). Without necessarily going through the bits and pieces of the recruitment and PST experiences, let me take you through site announcement day.

The day which sites were due for the announcement had come, it was yet another silent and breath-taking moment in my life. I was filled with tension as I waited for my fate that would finally test my prior commitment to serve the underserved and marginalized Malawians in rural communities. Using alphabetical order, the Volunteer names were listed against their destined sites (one by one), followed by oral announcements by our Country Director. As expected, my name appeared, and boom! It was a southern region district that I had never visited in my life, let alone stayed in. But regardless of the foregoing, I was eager to go and facilitate change in my capacity as a CorpsAfrica Volunteer whilst exploring the district’s flora and fauna.

But here I was, facing two “imaginary” realities as regards my site that will be my home for the next ten months. Firstly, I thought to myself that this is the site that CorpsAfrica has previously deployed two Volunteers since 2015, I being the third. Secondly, I realized that this is the site that has had its previous Volunteers becoming “big cats” within the ranks of CorpsAfrica/Malawi staff, the first one being the HCD/ABCD Consultant and the other being the Program Coordinator.

These two have undoubtedly raised the bar in my site as such standards ought not to be compromised at all cost. As evidenced from these Volunteers’ and community members’ speeches and also reading from other information sources respectively, one can see that the two in collaboration with the community have left a highly reputable legacy that needs to be maintained or surpassed. However, it is not that all I have been engulfed in is complete fear and tall orders ahead, rather this has also revitalized the strength and hunger to do more for the sole aim of benefitting the lives I dearly swore to serve.

During his welcoming remarks, I recall my host father saying, “You being the third Volunteer, we are very grateful to CorpsAfrica/Malawi management for considering us once again. We are more challenged now to do more to continue changing our lives and this, I am hopeful, will be achieved through cooperation and utilizing the existing local assets.” On a lighter note, he told me to feel most welcomed so long as I am ready to brave the hot and dry weather that is associated with this southern part of Malawi.

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