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Expectations vs. Reality

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Stella Kumphika

“Do not count your eggs before they hatch.”

As CorpsAfrica trainees, we were taught to manage our expectations by lowering them down. But how do you do that when there are more stories supporting your higher expectations?
I was anxious and eager to hear where I would spend the next ten months of my life. “Away from home I thought to myself” To my amazement, I was assigned to go to Dedza. I was so excited because Dedza is my home District, and I knew I would be spending 10 months with my relatives.

“It’s a trading center, the area has more potential to develop, and there are many things you could do in the community. Your host mother has reserved two houses for you, she went on, one with electricity and the other one has no electricity.” More reasons to be proud of my site.
The office organized a car to pick me up from home. With Joy, I bid farewell to my people, and we left. The trip started well, a few kilometers after Tsangano, we had a flat tire, but nobody was hurt. We spent about thirty minutes waiting for the cruiser to be fixed. The car was fixed, and we went on with the trip, in no time, we arrived at the first site to drop off a fellow Volunteer. Looking at the environment and everything, reality began to sink in. I felt like crying as if I was the one being dropped.

The road to Kasumbu was dusty; I could feel that the air I was breathing in was full of dust. In half an hour, we were at my site, we met my host mother at her place, and she hopped in the cruiser to give us directions to the house she kept. I knew it was a bigger and more comfortable house because the previous occupant was a married secondary school teacher, as she explained over the phone call.

“The house we reserved for her has been given to another person, I found a small house where she will be staying while searching for another house”. Explaining to my host mother, I was so heartbroken, “Maybe I didn’t hear her well” I comforted myself. When we arrived at the reserved house, I did not like the compound. I entered the small house; I couldn’t hold it and I started crying. I told my host mother and one of the staff members that I was not staying there. She agreed with the host mother that I should spend two weeks at her place.

The family did not have enough space for me, so I was asked to stay in one of her unfinished bedrooms. My few belongings couldn’t fit in the house. I was very sad. After a few days, we found a single-bedroom house with electricity and water. Immediately, I moved out of my host mother’s house, and I settled comfortably in my new home.

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