Written by CorpsAfrica/Rwanda Volunteer Ms. Beatrice Mukamurigo
My introduction to CorpsAfrica came in 2021 through a colleague and mentor, Redempta Uwase, who was a CorpsAfrica Rwanda Volunteer in the Gisagara District of the Southern Province. At the time, I did not know this organization. Redempta passionately shared her experiences as a CorpsAfrica Volunteer and encouraged me to consider joining this impactful community development program. Her words piqued my interest, and I began my journey toward becoming a CorpsAfrica Volunteer.
In the following year, I discovered an opportunity to apply for CorpsAfrica’s new cohort (Cohort 5). Although my initial application was unsuccessful, I learned the importance of meticulous preparation and timely submissions. From that point forward, I closely followed CorpsAfrica’s social media updates and regularly checked their website for news on new cohorts.
My persistence paid off in February 2023 when I received an application link for the new cohort. However, due to my demanding fieldwork as an Urban-peri urban agriculture assistant in the City of Kigali, I couldn’t respond to the application questions immediately. Instead, I meticulously composed my responses over two weeks to ensure they were well-prepared.
A minor hiccup occurred when I was about to submit my application. The link encountered an error. I panicked, fearing that my application might be rejected due to this issue. I reached out to Innocent Mutabazi, a contact Redempta provided, and he assured me the problem would be resolved. After a week of waiting, I received a new link and successfully submitted my application.
I remained committed to my goal and regularly prayed for the opportunity. Five months later, I inquired about the progress of my application. Redempta informed me that the CorpsAfrica team had been occupied with an international conference, which temporarily eased my anxiety. But on July 18th, I received an email inviting me for an interview at the CorpsAfrica Rwanda office.
This interview was a significant step in the selection process. I faced a panel of interviewers who sought to gauge my commitment and passion for community service. Despite the challenging questions, I remained steadfast in my desire to make a difference in the community.
The moment I had been eagerly waiting for arrived two weeks later when I received an email congratulating me on my selection to attend the Post-Service Training at Amakuza Resort. This was a cause for celebration, and I shared the news with friends and family, feeling profoundly grateful for this opportunity.
On August 12th, I packed my bags and embarked on my journey to Amakuza Resort to participate in the training program. Over the six weeks, I engaged in various activities, including community work, learning about, CorpsAfrica’s Approaches, conflict resolution, gender violence awareness, and many practical skills.
The swearing-in ceremony marked my transition from a trainee to a CorpsAfrica Volunteer. I was now fully equipped with the knowledge and skills to serve my community. I was eager to engage with the local community, listen to their needs, collaborate with colleagues, and work closely with local leaders.
On September 24, 2023, I set out to my assigned site in Gisagara, eager to start my volunteer journey. I contacted my host family, and after an eventful bus journey, I reached their home late in the evening. My new host family welcomed me with open arms, and their warmth and support have made my integration into the community a seamless experience.
In conclusion, CorpsAfrica/Rwanda’s volunteerism is not just a job; it’s a transformative experience. This journey empowers me to overcome challenges and sets me on a path to a fulfilling career in community development which is a big passion of mine. I am immensely grateful for this opportunity and look forward to making a meaningful impact on the community.
I appreciate your support and encourage you to stay tuned for updates as I embark on this journey of catalyzing community-led development!