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The Lesson

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Chifundo Soko

It’s been 2 months and some weeks since I have been here. In my opinion, I will say I have integrated pretty well; the host family considers me as one of them. How do I know? They called me when one of the family members felt sick, and they even asked me to name a baby that was born in the family. So we have a Michael named after me. I must say I felt honored and had that sense of belonging; we all crave that wherever we go. Honest truth. I have many friends and they are increasing every day.

That aside. The question: what have you been doing in these two months? I had been having meetings with the community. We had come up with a goat pass project to address the financial struggles of the community. Everyone was excited about it, including me. Why? Because I felt like I will do something that I had worked together on with the community. We started working on that, reached a stage of writing a proposal, and my coordinator was then updated.

She advised that according to the past projects that other Volunteers have done concerning animal husbandry, there has been no impact. So it would really be good to drop that project and do another that will address the same financial problem.

So I want you to imagine this: here I have a community that is excited that we are doing a goat pass on project and I am supposed to go back and tell them that we should drop it. How did that feel?  Fire—I was tensed.  I had to spend a day thinking how I will relay this message. When I had built courage I went to my Counterpart and explained the whole situation, and he accepted it. He suggested that we tell the Group Village Head as well. We went to his house and told him the situation.  He was like, “It is good that way. This kind of project never succeeded in the past. A person was receiving 5 goats but they all died leaving just 3 out of 53. It was supposed to be a pass-on project as well. So yes, we are witnesses to such projects not having changed our lives”.

So I sat there thinking, “Goodness! I was just stressed over nothing? You knew that this kind of project never succeeded and you are saying this now?”

What I have learned in all this, I shouldn’t have been quick to start building something just for the sake of doing something. I should have taken my time. I would have learned sooner that this of kind of project never succeeded in the community, and I would have saved myself from all this trouble. I have learned my lesson to be patient.

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