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Embracing Resilience in Community Development

Having gone through the integration and project identification phases, we are currently implementing my community’s primary project. As I look back and reflect on my journey, I realize it has brought me immense pride and joy that we (my community and I) have come this far. However, the journey has not been without its fair share of hiccups.

I often recall the project identification phase of my service, where I held community meetings to identify a small-scale, high-impact project that my community would like to implement. All my efforts during the integration phase led up to this moment aside from building relationships and immersing myself in my community’s culture, which was quite successful, if I do say so myself.

My community is a new site, with no volunteer preceding me, and the concept of CorpsAfrica was entirely new to them. I needed to educate the community about my role as a Volunteer and theirs as participants in their own development, down to the nitty-gritty of community contributions. It was no surprise that some people had not fully grasped the concept, thinking that any project, regardless of scale, would suffice as long as they contributed something. This misunderstanding led to struggles in identifying a feasible project.

I had to navigate guiding my community without imposing my ideas. After two meetings that involved heated discussions, they finally chose a primary project, and the work of uniting everyone towards their goal began. I commend my community for their willingness to create a better life for themselves, for embracing this foreign concept of CorpsAfrica through me, and handling it all gracefully.

Here I am, working together with them, having successfully raised a staggering 2,007,000 Malawi Kwacha towards their project. We have also secured funding from CorpsAfrica and Friends of Malawi, all aimed at renovating their community under-five clinic to increase access to quality health services for women and children in the community.

To be honest, there have been days when I felt inadequate, moments of doubt and perceived failure. However, thus far, the Lord has guided my community and me. Receiving words of encouragement from my community, such as when the Group Village Headman said, “Thank you so much, my daughter; I am grateful for your dedication,” or a simple “You are so hardworking and determined” from other members, reminds me why I began this journey in the first place. Suddenly, everything feels right again.

The journey is not linear; it has its highs and lows, and that is where resilience comes into play.

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