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On A Stranger’s Land- Kalolini Wakwa Kaluza-Mchinji

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Caroline Luka

Imagine waking up in a place where no one knows who you are or your reasons for being there. That tight knot in your stomach, sweaty palms, and a thumping heartbeat. You close your eyes for a minute and try to pinch yourself just so you may realize it is all just a dream but all you get is the same unfamiliar four walls mocking you. That is when reality struck. I was no longer home. I was in a strange place and that thought was terrifying. I sat down for a while contemplating what my new life was going to be like. “New life! New life!” my brain kept repeating those two words. That was when a huge smile formed on my face. This was a place where no one knew me, no one knew my past. No one. My book was blank. I told myself, “You have a whole new chapter in your life to write about. Seize the opportunity and thrive.”

My name is Caroline Luka and I am a CorpsAfrica Volunteer serving in a small village in Mchinji district. Before I became part of this great cause, I was just a young lady trying to find my way in this world. I was exploring my options as I had not really figured out exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I saw CorpsAfrica as an opportunity to give back to the society. My passion for community development was what drove me to give this a try. Being a part of a group of people whose aim is to become catalysts of change is something I do not take lightly. We live in a society where we are defined by what we are or where we come from and that often puts a negative thought about who we are. Who am I? I leave that question for you to answer. By the time I post my final blog, I am sure you will know exactly who Kalolini truly is. I have brought with me so many tools that I gathered during Pre-Service Training (PST) in Dedza that I intend to use during my time here in Mchinji. Wish me luck as my journey through the stranger’s land continues.

Did I mention how I got a heart-warming welcome? The Home of Hope staff that I will be working with for the next year of my service made me feel right at home. They opened their doors for me and made me feel a little less nostalgic. As if the people at HOH did not give a good enough welcome, the first visit to my community was what really put my heart at ease. The Group Village Head made me her other chief. You are looking at your new Chief here. Royalty! Integrating with the community has been going on great as well. The wonderful children I am working with both at the orphanage and at nursery school have made transitioning much easier. These children are pure gold and I am looking forward to many more activities with them. You may think I only intend to work with kids, but that is far from the truth. My community has passionate women, driven youth, and hardworking men willing to work with me as well. The ball is in my court and I know just how to use it. Until next time, let me leave you with one of my favourite quotes:

“Never let the fear of striking out
 Keep you from playing the game”

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