Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Twambilire Kalolokesya
Ten months have passed since I was allocated to my site and it has been quite an experience. As I live every day, I notice that I have developed some new characteristics that I never had or characteristics that were weak but now are strong. Despite the challenges that I face, I am glad that I developed these characters and excited to talk about them.
Firstly, I have noticed that I love to greet people more than I usually do. People at my site do not just pass by one another without greetings. During my first days, I would pass by people, but they would always greet me. No matter how many times I tried to just pass quietly they would greet me. Then as time passed I also learned to greet everyone I met at my site. Nowadays even when I find a chance to go to town I find myself greeting people on the way which is strange, because in town you cannot greet anyone.
Another characteristic I have developed is tolerance. Since I came to my site, I have been helping out at the nursery school. This is something I never imagined doing. I always wondered how teachers manage the kids that want to do something else when the teacher is trying to teach. I thought that I could not manage to do so but to my surprise, I did. During my first days I could give up easily when the kids were playing when I wanted to teach them, with time I learnt how to engage the kids and I started enjoying the lessons. Other situations like community members coming three hours after agreed time used to affect me a lot but I have found a way around them. These situations have helped me develop tolerance.
There is also a certain mannerism that I have observed to have developed. Most of the people, especially elders in my community hold their right-hand wrist with their left hand, whenever they want to greet someone or when handing something to another person. This is done to show respect to the other person. I have also developed this mannerism, when greeting people or giving something to a person. This mannerism was not developed deliberately but I just noticed that I do the same whenever I greet people or hand something to another person.
There are many things that I have either started or stopped doing because of my close interaction with community members at my site. I am grateful that I could have these kinds of experiences as a CorpsAfrica Volunteer.