Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Jolex Chicco Kaundama
When the exciting and rigorous one-month Pre-Service Training was over, I eagerly waited for the swearing-in ceremony. My colleagues and I were to finally be confirmed as CorpsAfrica Volunteers. The three days of waiting for the swearing-in ceremony seemed like a whole year of waiting. It was a long wait. Again, I felt like years passed before the date to deploy me to my site finally came.
Since my site falls within the radius of the Southern part of the warm heart of Africa, I had to travel from Lilongwe City to Blantyre two days before my deployment date. Everything seemed so slow, perhaps because of the excitement and enthusiasm of trying to see what lies ahead.
My day came for me to go to my site. My colleague and I packed our bags into the back van of the vehicle that was used and we started off. From this time onwards everything was fast. We reached Neno before I could manage to recollect myself from the wonderings and imaginations of my site. I did bid farewell to my friend and I waved goodbye as we headed towards Mwanza District.
Now, reality crept into my mind. My friend was dropped and I was all alone in the backseat. The car was gearing forward leaving me with no chance to put myself together. I failed to differentiate whether it was my heart beating fast or it was actually the car cruising at a supersonic speed. Was it too late to change my mind or my mind was already made up? “I got my mind made up and I won’t turn back…goodbye world I stay no longer with…” this was part of the lyrics of the background song in the car. Now everything made sense. Am going to a new world where I have to live a life for others too, not for myself alone.
Soon we branched into a dusty road towards Chikwawa, where my site is located. It appeared as if we had lost our way considering the quietness and the desolate kind of places along the road. We passed through hills and valleys. As we approached the fenced borders of Majete game reserve, my site appeared into view. The first thing to welcome me was the scorching heat of the Lower Shire District, echoed by the background song in the car by one of the famous local artists titled, “Dziko lili pamoto”, literally translated as “The world is on fire.” A lovely place surrounded by mountains with cheerful people who accompanied my host family to welcome me. I waved goodbye to my escort and the driver. The beautiful smiles, good hearts, strange tasty food, and the readiness of the community to work with me has made my integration so easy. Am loving my community already. This long shortest journey seems to be worth it.