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Strangers That Become Family

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Washington Chifunda

The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said; “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. I agree with him because no one in this life has ever got anywhere without starting the journey.

My CorpsAfrica journey started when I had to travel from Blantyre to Lilongwe on a Monday to attend my interview on Tuesday at 10 in the morning. I was very excited to be called for an interview but at the same, I had some interview fever. I vividly remember my mom calling to give me encouragement, which helped me regain my confidence and do the interview. After some days I received the news I was hoping for: I had been selected to be in the 2022/2023 cohort of CorpsAfrica Trainees.

We underwent a 6-weeks pre-service training (PST) before becoming Volunteers. After swearing in as Volunteers, we were deployed to our respective sites. The day I was going to my site in Dedza, I was a little bit stressed as I did not know the people I was going to meet in the community. A few questions popped into my head; Is it a safe site? Are the people there welcoming? How about my host family, are they good people?

I started feeling better after I met with my host family who welcomed me like I was no stranger. Now I am a fully-fledged member of the community as I participate in several activities in the community and work together with the community youth club, Village Development Committee (VDC), and other community development clubs. I have been making soap with a soap-making group, molding bricks with the youth club, and attending community meetings, weddings, and other activities as part of my integration into the community. My integration has been going very well and am now super excited and ready to continue serving as a CorpsAfrica Volunteer.

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