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The PST and My First Days in My Community

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Chifundo Chibaka

After a long wait, the interview results were finally out. I had made it into the 4th cohort of CorpsAfrica/Malawi trainees. This was my second attempt to join CorpsAfrica and I was overjoyed to join CorpsAfrica in this cohort.

I remember for the first time meeting my fellow trainees and discussing at length our expectations, fears, and past experiences of former volunteers. These discussions helped me realize the great courage we were undertaking by leaving the comfort and the luxuries of city life and settling in high-poverty communities. I was also excited by the new arrangement of us being hosted by the community instead of being within the training premises.

Later I was deployed to my host families together with two other trainees. The monthlong stay in the community helped me further lower my expectations of what I will face in my community. I was taken on a learning journey of how life in rural areas is and how the people have grown to adapt and live.

During the stay most of my time was spent in training sessions and I retired back to my new home in the evening. The sessions were designed to equip trainees with skills and knowledge on how we can effectively integrate into the community and work together with the local people. The sessions were also designed to reflect and share expectations, experiences and realities of life as a CorpsAfrica Volunteer. We also had a panel of former CorpsAfrica Volunteers who shared their experiences. They helped paint a clear picture of what I should expect and the nature of work I am venturing into. They also shared tips on how to make a transition from a city life to a village life and how best we can deal with the challenges we were likely to face during our service.

The Development Partners also came and made their presentations on the nature of the work they are doing in various districts. We had representatives from  Save the Children, Zathu, The Hunger Projects, Advancing Girls Education (AGEAfrica), Opportunity International and many others. They took time and explained their projects and how CorpsAfrica Volunteers can collaborate with them.

The Malawi Red Cross Society and Never Ending Food also trained us in First Aid administration and Permaculture respectively. I really loved the skill sets I acquired because they will be very useful even when I have completed my service.

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