Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Margaret Magombo
I vividly remember how nervous and anxious I was when I arrived in my community for the first time. I had no idea what my life and work was going to be like in this new environment. No friends, but flawless smiles on people’s faces; faces which were to be turned into colleagues and companions. The smiles convinced me beyond reasonable doubt that I had to come out of my comfort zone to embrace the noble challenge that was before me; to serve and sacrifice for my community, a community I barely knew.
It was not long after my arrival that I was invited by Nsondole CDSS to teach. I was excited at the same time nervous by the offer. Working with the youth energized my spirit. The school environment made me realize how much impact I desired to bring to my community. I was so thrilled when I met the Area Development and Village Development Committees. Their contact, helped me to be well known in the area. Before I realized how the community prized my presence, groups, and organizations found in the area were at my doorstep. I was awakened to the challenge of their expectations; a battle which has characterized my stay in Zomba-Nsondole.
My visits to meetings of different groups and organizations in the area were greeted with unspoken enthusiasm and vigor. It has been a tough and a seemingly lost battle to conquer the attitude of the members in my community. Whenever I am around them, I am seen as the one with keys to lock away their miseries forever. They view me as someone who has solutions and the resources to turn around their lives. My explanations about who really I am and my role in their community most often seems to fall on deaf ears. It has taken energy to make my community members see and understand that they are the ones pregnant with the ability to change their lives – it’s them alone.
When time came for me to write a proposal to implement some projects in my area, I became more nervous. I was engulfed with fear when we were discussing possible projects. It was very difficult to make some of the community members understand that not all funding proposals meet favorable consideration. The waiting for a response almost made me conceal myself in my room running away from questions from community members. Making a resolve to continue meeting groups and organizations in the area while waiting for a response from funding agencies.
CorpsAfrica, World Connect, Friends of Malawi, and Mastercard Foundation were beyond the courage I have known in my life. Since my arrival I have made it my sole purpose to live in service for my community. Presently am cherishing the idea of living one’s life in service to others. The funding of my proposals has affirmed my desire to impact my community. I am more than convinced now that even if my project proposals were not to meet the favorable response I was to continue being there for my community, stirring their imaginations, efforts and drives to do anything within their capacity to turn around for the better their lives. My time is never precious if I am not living for the benefit of my community.