Written by CorpsAfrica/Rwanda Volunteer Ms. Honorine Ndakwizeye Mpuhwe
I would like to share with you the happiest part of my life, which is serving the community as a CorpsAfrica Volunteer in my Country, Rwanda.
I was a fresh graduate, and honestly, I wished to have a permanent job. I even found one in my chosen career, but I’ve been dreaming of helping people my whole life. Everything changed after seeing a volunteer application link. My passion took a hold of my heart and I applied. Fortunately, I was chosen after passing the interview. I made a hard decision, which every one of my friends doubts except my family.
We started with PST (Pre-Service Training), which was to last for one month. Because of Covid-19 we were not allowed to go outside of the training site. I thought I would feel bored but what we learned, the skills we gained (which I wouldn’t find anywhere else), and the people I met (whom I call my other family now) made that time very wonderful. I miss it even now. I used to help by giving direct solutions to problems but in PST I learned how to give long-lasting solutions, which will make sustainable impact in people’s lives.
After PST we were given a few days to prepare ourselves before being deployed. During these days I was curious of one thing — where I will go to serve. Everything happened so fast and finally I left PST site heading to my serving site (Huye District). We reached there in the evening and I found myself in a place with no electricity. That was not a big issue for me since I was fully eager to serve in such a place. I met with my new host family and new people at a new place that I now call home. Frankly speaking, I was curious about what my next day will look like. With my head on the pillow, I just started questioning my mind: How will I introduce and adapt myself into this community? What will I do tomorrow and where will I start?
Truly, I can’t thank enough my host family (mother and son). They received me with open hearts and we got along well so much faster than I expected. Surprisingly, some neighbors thought we knew each other before! This may sound unbelievable, but it is real. My host family became my other family. I really found another mother and elder brother in them; they call me their daughter, too.
The first activity I participated in was an international rural women’s day event. What an amazing celebration! I can’t forget how my heart felt after seeing the people of that community so happy despite all their problems! We sang and danced together traditional songs and at last I introduced myself and why I came there. On the same day, we did a community project where I helped by put putting clay in a chosen home and designed a simple kitchen garden for them. I really enjoyed these activities and that’s when all my questions I asked myself that night were solved and next days until now got so much easier because almost everyone knows me. I attended another community meeting, which happens every week and aims to solve people’s issues. That was another chance where I got know my community’s needs, problems and resources, which gave me the image of this community and made my integration period so perfect.
I haven’t been here for so long, but people take me as one of their neighbors. We talk freely, they ask me to visit them, and they are very excited, and they can’t wait to learn more about CorpsAfrica’s approaches. I am also looking forward to hearing their ideas and opinions, because in the few days I have spent in this community I came to realize that they are stronger than I think, and everyone has the ability to change his/her life for the better. The only thing needed is just a little push and empowerment, which is what I will do as a volunteer.