Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Hope Ngondo
The stress of deployment started when the staff gathered in the conference room to announce where we were going. My mind was swimming in thoughts, but I was staying positive hoping to be deployed close to home. When my name popped up, I was placed in Mulanje. At that moment I did not think about it because, at the moment, we were in Mulanje finishing our training, so I liked what I saw, and being my first time in Mulanje I was at ease.
I was okay until I got home. I told my parents where I was deployed and they said that’s too far but “kumeneko nde kukulako” (that is the growth) they said, that’s when my emotions built up. I started thinking of how I was going to survive without family, I have never been away from home for more than 10 months. I called the previous volunteer who served at the site to ask a few things and she told me one thing I was not prepared to hear at that particular moment, “there is no electricity.” I was not happy to hear that, and I had a lot of questions about how I was going to charge my gadgets. The day came on the 27 of September 2022 for us to go to our sites. I was nervous because I did not know what to expect, meeting new people far from home which I had never been to before in my life.
Our journey started and there were three people. Two of us were going to Mulanje but different villages and one was going to Phalombe. We packed our bags in the car and started. I couldn’t believe that my CorpsAfrica journey had started. Our first destination was Phalombe. We dropped off one of our friends and it started getting real. I was the last person to be dropped off, I arrived in the evening, and I could not see clearly where I was going. I was tense since it was dark, and my community did not have electricity. When we arrived, I met my host mother. She was nice to me, but I was still emotional. I locked up my emotions after seeing how my host family welcomed me. I kept the sadness and worries away.
After a few days of staying with my host family, I asked my host sister to invite her friends so that I could get to know them. I needed people to have small conversations with since I was spending most of the time alone in my room. One of the things I learned in my community in the first week was that they eat “kalongonda” I was surprised to see people eating it because I have always known that “kalongonda amapha kudya” Surprisingly in my community is a hot business and people cook and sell it.
I have met amazing people in my community, and so far, the journey has started well.