Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Tamandani Chawanda
Looking out of the Cruiser’s window on my way to deployment; I was so anxious and excited contemplating all the work I was about to embark on in my community. Making plans about my integration and who I will work with to achieve these plans was at the peak of my thoughts.
I was so excited about tree planting because this meant preparing tree nurseries, I was all fired up and ready to impart the knowledge I gained during my PST on how to prepare tree nurseries. Little did I know that the community and its members were way ahead of me, they had already started preparing tree nurseries, which are later shared around the community during the tree planting season which starts in January. Over 10,000 trees are distributed to the community members for them to plant in their homes and farms as a way of bringing back vegetation and reducing the impacts of climate change including floods which in the previous year affected my community.
Coretta Scott King once said, “The greatness of a community is measured accurately by the compassionate actions of its members”. I realized there was so much I could learn from my community and embrace the things they are passionate about. This reminded me of a common statement that was altered during PST that your community has so much you could learn from and don’t go in with preconceived ideas, you could also learn from your community if you watch and most importantly listen.
In the month that I have stayed in my community, I have learned that most communities are willing and capable of being independent and taking charge of their problems, and our jobs as Volunteers is to nurture and activate these capabilities while taking a step back to learn and see what the community has to offer.