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Reading the Impact of Volunteering

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. James Matipwiri

From the dawn of my service in Dedza, it’s been an interesting and exhilarating journey so far. Working with community groups and learning the culture of the communities I serve has been the best part of exploration and discovery in my Volunteering experience.

Just a few kilometers from the Pre-Service Training (PST) venue is the site of my fellow Volunteer, Dingaan. The undulating mountains separate our mighty sites and create a weather boundary, leaving the down-lands of Dedza East hot and the uplands cold and chilly. A lot of friends who have experienced the chilly weather of Dedza are surprised to hear that the other side is completely the opposite. I like the awe portrayed by the unsuspecting individuals. I think it’s mostly because they do not really know that Dedza stretches down to the “lake of stars” (Lake Malawi). And if you are not aware, the lakeshore regions are associated with hot weather.

East of my site is Volunteer Shyreen’s site. This is where most of our work is done and it’s where The Hunger Project Epicenter is geographically situated. We share a lot of similarities between our sites, ranging from weather, culture, and agricultural activities. There are also a few differences since her site is much closer to the lake, so obviously fishing is an additional activity there.

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to visit Volunteer Wezi’s site in a remote village of Kasungu. While there, I met and worked with charming group of women. They call themselves Tindandizane (“let’s help one another” in Chichewa). I was astonished with the unity and creativity of the group. They sang traditional songs as a sign of welcoming and entertaining alangizi (CorpsAfrica Volunteers) upon our arrival.

The group reminded me of my service at my site back in Dedza. I loved working with them on their project and trainings. Who doesn’t like trees? My answer is probably no one! The women want to turn a bare land into a forest. Yes, reforestation and reforestation! Bringing back the forest and fruit trees around our environment.

In one of the sessions we had, I took some time teaching them about nutrition. The group had limited knowledge about the six food groups. The lessons about moringa reminded me of the achievements of a nutrition animators group at my site. I showed them pictures and videos about how their friends back in Dedza are doing and how they can learn from them in the future.

Since I still have months left before the conclusion of my service, I strongly feel that there is so much work to do and much impact to witness. My community is eager to see what the CorpsAfrica Volunteer will help them change and achieve next. I can’t wait to be there for them.


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