By Bedium Chirwa
|Member of Team Umoza|
I could only imagine what life would be like working as a volunteer. I was not puzzled with the word volunteer but before ICS I didn’t know much about volunteering because I was only a businessperson with a shop and with knowledge of my community. Although I was inexperienced, I was enthusiastic about getting the job done while at the same time focusing on my personal development.
FIRST WEEK: adaptation week
New things are always difficult to adapt to. It was the same with me; it was not easy to acquire knowledge of YONECO’s work into my cerebrum. It was an amazing week of my journey as an ICS volunteer because we were introduced to the code of YONECO and some healthy tips of this lovely organization. Since a businessperson is always a busy one, I had to show my fellow volunteers my shop so that they could buy some soft drinks as the axiom goes; ‘charity starts at home’. It was a busy week as everyone was preoccupied with the task of adapting to the environment.
Our group leaders had twice the amount of work we all had as they were expected to produce the team’s work plan. It was an interesting week that was full of words like ‘pardon’, ‘sorry’, ‘say it again’…among the team members. This was the case because of the communication barrier that existed between native English speakers and seond or third language speakers of English. Since this was ‘adaptation’ week, we eventually managed to overcome the barrier. We gave our team a vernacular name; ‘UMOZA’ which means “UNITY” in English. I enjoyed this week as the everyone in the team did his or her best to ensure successful implementation of activities throughout our placement.
SECOND WEEK: Let’s do it week
After last week’s introduction to YONECO Values and culture, the second week was much busier. I realized that buses were outside to take us to the field for our first session. Oh! I was so excited ‘TEAM UMOZA! Let’s do it!’ one of the team leaders shouted. It was a word of encouragement which meant myself-esteem was extremely boosted. The team worked well on this particular day and it became a trend for the rest of the week. I felt at home with team UMOZA as everyone was so friendly and caring. Everyone was ready to help me even when I only ask for a definition of a certain word; the team members willingly tell me and go further to explain the importance of the idea. It really is an Umoza (united) Team.
I enjoyed the session because it was the first day to show my talent and skills. Having reached Friday of the week, I started to understand who is an ICS and progressio volunteer as well as comprehending what is expected of me as a volunteer. ‘Mmmmmmh simple’ Learn, teach, respect other people’s views and ideas then join power as a group and impart the learnt knowledge to the target group. That’s how we moved this week.
THIRD WEEK: togetherness week
Indeed life is full of ups and downs, as the week started we thought life would be simple and easy the way the first week was but ‘mmh’ we were all wrong. We never anticipated that our trip to Mfyavya village one of our buses will get stuck in the sand. We spent a lot of time to push it out of the sand and consequently; parenting and peer education sessions had to be rescheduled.
FOURTH WEEK: one goal
I enjoyed this week because everyone was alert and ready to work to personally develop and helping one another to achieve our targets. This is important since we are approaching the days for the mid-phase review.
I had to move up and down in search of the best and clear information to teach some students and community members.
In our first month, I have gathered all the needed information of an ICS volunteer. An ICS volunteer can be defined as:
>someone who works for the good of others
>someone who firmly believes in team work and respects the group dynamics
>someone who is always willing to learn from others
Progressio has shown me the true way to develop and change my life and the environment. I have already seen the true development which is in my learning. My life has really been transformed from a simple businessperson to someone who gives out important information to people who need it in order to change the world for our own good.