Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Chancy Simba
I have to smile a little as I write this because I recall my friend Kondwani just after Pre-Service Training saying to me, “Chancy, just make yourself useful around there.” Well, when I first arrived at my site Mzimba I struggled to find ways to make myself useful around my community. Language was a problem. Now, 11 months done the lane I sit down and look back like, “How did I make myself useful?” I believe the most important thing of volunteering is being useful. There are a lot of stories worth sharing to how we Volunteers have been useful to our communities.
In my community I tried as possible as I could to make myself useful. Working with my site mate, a Peace Corps Volunteer Kevin, I found myself being more useful than I thought I would be. There are a lot of activities and project that we worked on but a few I can share.
Kevin and I worked on a Permaculture garden for our community hospital, which was used to provide vegetables, fruits, and maize to staff, community members, and the youth group at the hospital. Our youth group and community worked hard to make this project work. They believe this garden will be useful for many years to come. Our youth group works hard and takes care of this garden on a daily basis.
“Making this project a success has been one of my biggest achievements. Not only have I given the children in my community a conducive environment to get education, but I have also eradicated the ‘we are helpless’ mindset the community had. It took efforts from the community members to make this a success. The vibrant participation in the project has given them a sense of ownership and responsibility. I know that their contribution will make this project sustainable,” says Carol.
I believe a lot of my fellow Volunteers have lots of stories to share of how useful they have been in their communities. We all have learned a thing or two. I am proud to say Volunteering for a year with CorpsAfrica/Malawi is extremely worth it.