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Volunteering: A Gift That Keeps on Giving

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. John Mkungula

My time in the Chole/Ntonya community has been a transformative journey, filled with invaluable lessons and enriching experiences. From the moment I arrived, I was enveloped by the warmth and hospitality of the Lomwe people, who constitute 90% of the community’s population. Their genuine kindness and welcoming nature made me feel at home right away.

Initially, I was apprehensive about settling into a new environment, especially one with potential challenges. While I didn’t encounter issues like snakes, water challenges, or poor sanitation, these were concerns that some of my fellow volunteers faced. However, their resilience and determination in overcoming these obstacles inspired me to embrace the experience with an open mind and a positive attitude. 

One of the most profound realizations I had during my stay was the therapeutic power of sharing one’s concerns. Simply expressing my thoughts and feelings to others provided a sense of relief and connection, reminding me that I wasn’t alone in my experiences. This open communication not only strengthened my bond with the community but also highlighted the importance of fostering a supportive environment.

My volunteering experience has been a gift that keeps on giving. While my initial motivation stemmed from a desire to contribute to the community, I quickly discovered that volunteering was also a journey of personal and professional growth. It provided me with a platform to learn by doing, to expand my horizons, and to develop new skills.

As I delved deeper into the community, I had the privilege of working with various groups, each with its unique dynamics and contributions. Among them, the Chiyembekezo Youth Club, the Talandila and Takondwela VSL groups, and the community football team left a lasting impression. The VSL groups, in particular, stood out for their unwavering motivation, exceptional organization, and shared vision.

Throughout my stay, I have learned to appreciate the richness of the Malawian culture, the significance of volunteering, and the power of resilience. The Chole/Ntonya community has been a melting pot of experiences, challenges, and triumphs, shaping me into a more compassionate, understanding, and adaptable individual. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have immersed myself in this vibrant community and I am looking forward to learning more from its remarkable people.

Finally, volunteering is not merely an act of giving back; it is a reciprocal exchange of mutual benefit. While I have contributed my time and skills to the community, I have also received a wealth of knowledge, personal growth, and profound connections in return. Volunteering has enriched my life in ways I could never have imagined, and it continues to inspire me to make a positive impact on the world around me.

 

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