Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Lucy Chihana
I think we all want to make a difference somehow, we all want to be remembered for something once we are gone. Gone not just because of death but after we leave the place we once lived, after moving to a new city. No one wants to die a natural death while they are still alive. I once read somewhere “No matter how useless you might think you are, you are still important to someone else somehow”. You are still remembered either for all the good reasons or all the bad ones.
Being a Volunteer in a village in a rural area brings out excitement for most parts because it gives you a lot of opportunities to make a difference, touch other people’s lives, and change other people’s lives and even your own. Trust me, when you live for a year in a village, lots of things change in you, sometimes in ways you had no idea about. As a Volunteer, I want to be remembered for all the great things I managed to do with my community, for all our failed efforts, for our cooperation. No Volunteer wants to be seen to have failed to serve her/his community, but sometimes it’s inevitable because you need people’s participation in whatever it is you are doing and if the people don’t seem to be interested/supportive of the projects, nothing works out. No matter how much you may push it, you need the community’s participation for things to workout.
When I got to my site 7 months ago I was super excited, I had so many ideas about how I was going to make a difference. My community was excited too, they knew exactly what they needed and how we were going to do it. My community needed a school’s block because they only have one school block which accommodates only grades one and two while the rest of the kids have to walk about 8 kilometers to the nearest schools. With the help of my partner organization we needed to come up with bricks, sand and quarry stones for the construction. We had great cooperation with my community and had so many great ideas that we worked on. Well, 2 months to my close of service and we have only managed to source 10,000 bricks out of the 80,000 we were told. No one but me talks about this school block. It breaks my heart to see some of the kids learn in a grass thatched shelter now that we introduced grade 3. I really feel like I failed my community somehow. I swear it’s the worst feeling ever.
Anyway, it has been one exciting year! I kicked 2 things off my bucket list, I fulfilled 8/10 of my resolutions for 2016, I think I know what I really want to do with my life; I found myself, I learnt to be patient, humble and to listen to others and less to myself. I have my students; I am sure one day one of these kids is gonna grow up and wonder what happened to me.