Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Bertha Khuwi
My Volunteering journey began with a simple decision to give back to the community. I wanted to contribute my time and skills to causes I deeply care about. This initial step marked the beginning of a transformative adventure. My first week in community service was not short of lessons but full of learning opportunities. In the words of a famous British portrait Photographer, Micheal Allan Warren, “the only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it and join the dance” simply puts remote living requires adaptability. I have learned to tackle unexpected challenges, from harsh weather conditions to logistical hurdles. It has been a valuable life skill, that has made me more resilient in the face of adversity. It’s a journey that has taken me away from the luxuries of city life.
I have learned that living in a rural community requires simplicity and self-sufficiency to take care of my daily needs independently of material possessions and distractions. With fewer material possessions and distractions, I have gained a renewed appreciation for essentials and learned to let go of what isn’t necessary. This minimalist approach has led me to a stress-free and more content existence.
With less external noise and distractions, I have found living in a remote area as a life-changing experience that has immensely transformed my perspective on life, relationships, and the world around me. It has been a journey that has holistically changed me from the hustle and bustle of city life and immersed me in a simpler, yet profoundly meaningful existence. One of the most immediate and profound changes that I have embraced is a deep connection with nature. My community is surrounded by wide-open landscapes such as forests and rivers as well as beautiful rhythms of wildlife which depicts the beauty of the natural world we coexist.
My host family has been the most integral part of my integration and the genesis of my service in the community. My host family is composed of a single mother with her three lovely daughters who are always leaving a smile on my face with their unwavering support. Living with my host family has greatly impacted my understanding of culture and language. I remember my first Sunday in the community I had plans of recuperating from the long journey on the road and my host sisters had better plans for us, rather than spending it on a veranda, they thought of taking me with them to a wedding ceremony that was just across the neighboring village. This wedding was simply out of this world. I witnessed how close-knit the communities are. There are strong bonds with neighbors and fellow residents as they depend on each other through buying gifts which normally cost nothing on a regular day, but specifically for this day, they cost more than gold.
My volunteering experience has left me with nothing but moments of inspiration. I have been working with Mwai Youth Club, which is a group of enthusiastic young people who believe in themselves in building a more resilient and economically empowered community through their training in piggery. The youth club believes in me too as they have requested me to be their Master of Ceremony at the annual stakeholders meeting. This has filled me with a sense of gratitude and an incredible source of joy knowing that I’ve made a positive impact on their lives and this has ignited a burning desire within me to support and inspire my community in community-led development.
In a nutshell, Volunteering has been transformative for me. It has allowed me to give back, grow as an individual, and connect with amazing people. I urge everyone to consider volunteering as a way to make a positive impact on the world and experience the incredible transformation it can bring to your life.