Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Aissatu Pongolani
While at our Pre-Service Training as a CorpsAfrica Trainee to become a Volunteer, we had this wonderful, exciting, interesting, and on the other hand overwhelming information called the Human-Centered Design Training. Personally, when I thought of one year living in a new community, new friends, new language, and had to leave my home, family, and friends it felt like a very long journey though somehow my imagination of working was so high and exciting. Once I arrived in my community, Kadewere Village, Mulanje, I started working, having all these community gatherings, and individual interviews just to gather information about my community, and I felt like was going to do so much! And yes, I am doing so much but sometimes frustrations grow in me because the imagination that I had at some point goes slower and that I keep on pushing for things to get done. I sometimes have feelings that the days and months of my CorpsAfrica service staying in this community are like years away and that it is un-reachable to me. But because I am a young woman that does not give up so easily, I kept pushing, and now, I am half way through.
After PST came In Service Training where most of it was to share how the first three months went and equip us with Monitoring and Evaluation ideas. It was also a journey of preparing us on what shall come next in terms of starting assessing/finding out the community needs and implementing a community project. But still I felt like they were giving me too much information on top from that of PST but actually the truth was, my fellow Volunteers and I should have an awesome service and integrating with our respective communities could help us to enjoy the service by working as a team with the community people and at the same time having fun. IST also helped me to have an eye of the challenges and good things that might appear or happen on my way of working in this community and how I can personally handle them and now, I am half way through.
Just recently, we had Mid Service Training and it was also a wonderful training. It was good and nice to share all kinds of stories and ideas with my fellow Volunteers. But, the most interesting part of it was at least we all (Volunteers) have other things in common despite living in different communities. Integrating with communities was a big deal for a better work environment for most of us. Some of the topics that were covered during the training and that we might use in our respective communities depending on the needs and wants were, gender, project management and leadership, crash course in business, Peace Corps Camp GLOW and CorpsAfrica working together with youth groups, and an over view of Monitoring and Evaluation as it is the center of being a CorpsAfrica Volunteer. All those topics were to help us as Volunteers since we are on the half way point to start implementing sustainable community projects. A lot of resources on every topic were given to us in order to help implement/facilitate whatever program a Volunteer and its community are interested in. We were equipped with all that knowledge and skills because we are a half way through and implementing those sustainable community projects with the community will make /help them to remember us for ever when the service is over and now, I am half way through.
Lastly, as I am half way through the service, my eye is focusing on what comes next in terms of project implementation. CorpsAfrica staff is there to provide all that necessary support to be able to work and implement projects. Holding hands and working together in the developmental sector, now it may seem like we have a long way to go but with hope in the near future will have developed our people, our nation and our world. Until next month for more updates, ndikuti zikomo kwambiri ndimakunyadirani nthawi zonse!!!!!! (I’m saying thank you so much and I’m proud of you all the time [for reading]!!!!!!)