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My First Week in Gumo

Everything that we go through is a preparation for something ahead. I attended a university and as part of the requirements to obtain a degree, students were expected to stay in a rural community for 8 weeks for the first 2 years in the university. I was very sad having to leave my parents for that long. Never did I know it was preparing me for a future, a future as a Volunteer at CorpsAfrica.

I arrived in my community on the 5th of January around 5 pm with a flood of emotions. I knew I was well prepared for this new phase of my life but fear and panic set in on our way. I was not afraid of being alone in the community but rather afraid of the people I was going to be interacting with every day and whether I would be accepted and loved in my new home.

I arrived in my community and the first comment I heard was “ Why did you bring a lady? We thought it was a man you were bringing. There was no plan to accommodate a female”. At that point, I could only think about how I was going to cope for 10 months with people who weren’t acknowledging me. A kind young man gave his room to me to spend the night and there I was, sleeping in someone’s room while thinking of the way forward.

Early in the morning, I woke up and had to start work that I was told to prepare for so that we could go and greet the elders. I spent the day greeting the elders and other stakeholders.
It’s been a week and I am beginning to love my site but I think I underestimated the responsibilities of being a Volunteer. Sometimes it’s hard and lonely. I hope it gets better because I’ve been given accommodation for the next 10 months and the people are more receptive than before. I wish myself a successful stay at my site.


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