“Hello guys, listen, we are ICS volunteers who work with YONECO”. That was spoken by the one of volunteers. The noise could be heard among the students during our first secondary school session in the Nkhata Bay district. Before I became a volunteer, I had a lot of thoughts and expectations on how I will perform activities in different areas. It really is true that what was hard to bear is sweet to remember. There are a lot of challenges in different areas when conducting sessions, there’s effort needed to cooperate with students in schools and people in villages, if someone gets angry fast we may decide to leave the area. A session just needs to be confident and active, and hence you will be successful in your mission.

I realised that life becomes so sweet to volunteer when you get used to conducting sessions. I faced a lot of challenges at the beginning but now I can feel the sweetest part of being an ICS volunteer. Many people think that life is simple, especially those who live in urban areas, but then they go to the rural villages and see how hard life is. Life is not simple and it will never be simple to everyone. In order to discover new lands, one must be willing to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. It is important to be willing to learn and obtain new things.

We are trying as much as possible to reduce the differences among people of different levels. There is more association with local people and us volunteers. This is really important because we build relationships with local dwellers; I am trying to say that we share common thoughts and feelings with different people.

Among the youth there are a lot of difficulties in the process of developing into adulthood. Most youths give in to peer pressure and behaving badly, such as drinking alcohol, taking drugs and substances, and practicing unprotected sex. This is so painful for me because I believe that young people are the leaders of tomorrow, so if their lives are protected it means that we shall have adequate human resources. Therefore, there will be more development in Malawi. Conditions are never just right. People who delay action until all factors are favourable do nothing. I am ready to reach communities and teach as many youths as possible the importance of setting life goals and abstaining in order for them to reach their goals because without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination. In the process of trying to change others, I am trying to change my life too.

Volunteers delivering a session on life goals

I get to know how things go on in different communities. I am enjoying the teamwork with the UK volunteers, we share knowledge and skills and I can see that my life is now changing and I am becoming more confident than before. Man, alone, has the power to transform his thoughts into physical reality; man, alone, can dream and make his dreams come true. It’s my dream to change the world, and it’s my dream that by the end of my placement things should be improved for the youths reached by us volunteers.

Written by ICS volunteer Anthony Kannanda Phiri