Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Chancy Simba
Imagine going to a place you have never visited or stayed before, speaking a language you have never spoken (not even a greeting), or meeting people you have never met. That was me when I moved to my community as a CorpsAfrica Volunteer, and it didn’t take me long to realize that this was the place where I’d be spending my time for about 11 months. “How would you go about it?” Usually, CorpsAfrica Volunteers happen to have host families when posted at sites, but this was different with my partner Hope. Having no host family was both awesome and frustrating. I had never spoken the language my community does and the only person I knew who spoke the same language as me was almost 5km away.
So how did I go about it? Simple! I made friends and learned the language! And in the process of this I found two important people who made things happen for me and my work.
Meet Mrs. Tembo, my host mother who makes things happen for me and my partner Hope. Mrs. Tembo is hardworking women who runs a small-scale business to support herself and her family. She is a very good listener and a woman who continues to help me to learn the language. Being around this woman is fun and interesting, because she has a lot of scary and awesome stories I love to hear about. Since she is my host mother, although I never lived with her, we chat every day which helps me to know a lot about my community. She also helped me a lot in our preparation of the Grassroot Soccer Camp with cooking and buying of food materials. If it was not for this woman, I can’t even imagine how hard it would be going about my everyday life. I found a mother in this woman and will always appreciate her and be thankful.
Kevin Jensen Jere aka “Ada Jere”, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mzimba, is another tremendous person who make things happen for me and my work as a Volunteer. Kevin is fluent in Chitumbuka (the local language of our community) and much better than me that it’s made him famous and well accepted by our community here. This is the only PCV I have met in Malawi who is so confident to speak Chitumbuka as much as his first language. He does not only speak Chitumbuka, but he writes and reads much better than the owners of the language. Kevin challenges me every day when I see him and how hardworking he is. The effort and the time he puts on projects and the work he is working on including other projects we work on together is great. Kevin is a very humble and interesting person who works closely with the community every day and make things happen for a better Malawi and future. It is a blessing to have him here as a working partner and a brother. “Tamuonga chomene chifukwa cha munyane uyu” (I’m thankful for this friend of mine).