Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Chancy Simba
How do we find ourselves? We do so by going “within.” We get to know ourselves first and then we get to know others. We understand how we are made and how others are made, and then we learn about their lives, we live it, and become a part of the community.
As a volunteer I understand my community, what it is, and how it works. From that I explore, learn, and live it. For quite a long time during my service in Mzimba, I thought I was just going to help my community develop, I thought it was my job to always think of development on a bigger scale, help a lot of people, and be responsible for a bigger change.
Although I have been successful with some of the projects I’ve implemented with my community members, some have not turned out quite as I expected. I sat down one day and thought to myself why some projects or proposed ones turned out the way they did. I had to explore and learn from my mistakes, and even change the approach.
Every time my community’s Village Development Committee (VDC) and I wanted to do something, we thought big. We were always thinking of helping five villages or more.
During one of the recent meetings with my VDC, which I called to discuss other potential projects, the problem was still the same – they were thinking only of the big projects. After hearing what kind of projects they wanted to bring to their community I asked them some questions.
“How many here have children in primary school upper classes and in secondary school who know how to use a computer?” I asked. To my surprise, all five members of the VDC present at that meeting that day responded by saying that their children do not know how to use a computer. With that response I proposed a small project for them; have five of their children come to my house for a few hours so I could help and teach them how to use a computer. Immediately a project was born.
From this I learnt a lot. You do not need to have a building built, bring a clinic, or do something for the whole community, for you to know you’re making a difference in a person’s life. I believe starting small and using your knowledge well to help others will change someone’s life little by little. With the knowledge I have in computers I believe I will help some fine young men and women to obtain the same knowledge I received in college and I know they will not be the same again.
Impacting someone’s life comes in different ways and I have chosen to give all I can to help my community. I believe this is how I can give back to the community that is taking care of me on a daily basis. One person at a time and change will come eventually. I am the young person this community has been waiting for.