Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Caroline Luka
It’s the middle of my CorpsAfrica service already! How time flies. Six months ago I made a decision to serve as a CorpsAfrica Volunteer and frankly, I do not regret a thing. Nobody thought I would make it this far and neither did I. It hasn’t been all roses and rainbows at site. Living in the community has its perks, yes, but it comes with its own handicaps. Transforming your life is not easy when you are used to city life. One might ask how I’ve managed to get this far. Three words: Good Support System.
My support system is the people who have been there from the beginning, keeping me in check. They are the people who have let me vent, laugh, cry, and jump with joy without passing judgment or getting tired of my endless need for them. My biggest supporters are my family. Without their encouraging words I would have never gotten this far. They know how important this is for me and they have my back through thick and thin. Do they get worried? All the time! But really at the end of the day they know that this is what I want to do, and they support my decision. They are there whenever I need moral support or if I want to just go home and relax for a bit before proceeding with my work.
The first few months was hard. I was not sure I knew what I was doing or even if I was doing the right thing. Was I really living up to the community’s expectations? Was I making an impact on their lives? Did they want me here? I had all these doubts and no confidence in myself. I felt useless at a point. It was not pretty. Guess who was there to lift me back up? The CorpsAfrica staff. The staff members are patient enough to not put pressure on you to get things done right away. They helped me realize my potential and were there to guide me through any potholes that I faced. Their words of encouragement, plus their success stories, really got me motivated. I can boldly say that my confidence level is higher now and I do not doubt my community anymore. I love working with the people there.
What is a support system without friends? Friends that you can call in the middle of the night when you’re failing to sleep or when you feel like you can’t go on anymore. These are my go to people when I just need a laugh, words of encouragement, or to hear what they are also going through. We realize that most of the things we are going through as Volunteers are quite similar, which makes it easier to find solutions. We may be miles away, but with a simple text, they are there for me.
All these people help me keep sane in one way or another.