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Empowering My Homeland through Community-Led Development: A Journey with CorpsAfrica

Written by CorpsAfrica/Rwanda Volunteer Ms. Nancy Aimee Ashimwe

One day, while casually browsing YouTube, I stumbled upon a page that was about “CorpsAfrica.” Their videos struck a chord with me, and I was deeply inspired by their commitment to making a positive impact in communities. This ignited a burning desire within me to contribute to my homeland, especially as a young individual. And so, my journey to effect meaningful change began.

Months later, after submitting my application, I received an email inviting me for an interview. It was my first interview, and I was understandably nervous. However, my passion and determination to make my dreams come true kept me focused. The interview was challenging, but I persevered with hope. Afterward, I experienced moments of doubt, but then an email arrived, informing me that I had passed and was invited to attend a pre-service training at Amakuza Resort. I couldn’t help but thank the heavens for this opportunity.

My journey continued at Amakuza Resort, where I was warmly welcomed. From the well-organized registration process to the friendly smiles, it was clear that the people involved had kind hearts. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I would be living with three wonderful girls, which instantly made me feel like part of a close-knit family, easing my adaptation to the new environment.

During my Pre-Service Training (PST), I had the chance to celebrate our culture. As a traditional dancer, I even received coaching in our traditional dances and learned more about our cultural heritage. We were treated to yoga sessions, sports, and activities to keep us healthy and strong.

PST wasn’t just about cultural experiences; it was an opportunity to learn life skills, including first aid training. We also embarked on a profound journey to understand our country’s history and the sacrifices made by our heroes. This experience fueled my passion for volunteering and reminded me of the importance of giving back to my community and country.

The day of the swearing-in ceremony was a mix of excitement and nerves. We listened to impactful speeches and met CorpsAfrica alumni who shared their inspiring stories. Their stories encouraged me to stay strong and committed to my journey.

On the day we were deployed to our respective sites, I was filled with fear about the new responsibilities and the prospect of saying goodbye to my friends. Our Country Director affectionately referred to as “our mum,” offered words of motivation and farewells.

As we made our way to Rulindo, the warm smiles, and greetings from the people we passed by reassured my anxious heart. Upon reaching our host family, their hospitality immediately made me feel at home.

Since that day, my experience has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve learned about unconditional love, received genuine support from the community when I least expected it, and been inspired by countless stories of resilience and determination. We’ve come together to create kitchen gardens, cook, clean, attend community meetings, and nurture nursery beds. And by the way, many of these tasks were entirely new experiences for me.

One unforgettable journey led us to explore the cultivation of passion fruits. From planting the seeds to nurturing them into thriving passion fruit vines, we learned invaluable life lessons about perseverance, passion, and the importance of meticulous care from inception to fruition. This experience highlighted the significance of setting goals, maintaining control, and continuous evaluation.

In conclusion, I can’t help but share that I’ve found a new family, a network of siblings, and lifelong friends through this journey. In essence, I’ve found a new home within my community. This experience has transformed me significantly, emphasizing the importance of giving back to our country. Our culture encourages us to support one another, and as youth, we have a vital role to play in building a better future for our homeland.

 

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