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My first experience at Vijana Corps

By Amongin Mary Caroline - Feb 14

The day I heard of Vijana Corps started like any other. Work at the boutique was tiring and demanding. That day, in December 2019, a peculiar gentle man dived into the boutique with an ocean of questions about the different items in the shop. The questions would drain anyone of the little energy they possessed. I could feel a mocking urge to pose back and inquire why he had so many questions and demands that sent me flying across the small room from rack to rack but as a good sales person, I kept answering and glad I did. He later told me, he was testing to see how I handle demanding people and basically how far I would go to sale the items in the boutique. I passed the sinister trials. That is the day I heard of Vijana Corps. This man offered me an opportunity for a better life at VC. He described the organization as one that works to realize an enlightened, empowered and productive youth through media and digital literacy, livelihood and entrepreneurship development and participatory leadership. He passionately shared with me the kind of projects VC carries out and introduced me to the earned income wing of VC called Agile Discovery. After he was done, he asked me if I wanted to be part of this sphere. I remained disoriented, utterly confused and somehow sceptical about the question. It felt like a dream- Is it possible for me to leave a boutique to work in a space that would probably change my life forever; so I ignored him thinking he was only but joking. A week later, the same gentleman returned to the shop with the same proposal. This time, I realized it was real and not some random stranger feeding me with a false premonition of a better life. I was nervous as a bride on the wedding day but had to conceal it at all cost. He told me of an interview the coming Monday which made me even more nervous. The day arrived, I travelled to Mukono in haste. On reaching the destination, Louis (not his real name), informed me that he was attending another meeting in Kampala and had to wait for him at IMC clinic, opposite the office. I waited for long, the longest I have ever waited and kept thinking this was part of the interview. Louis arrived at 5 pm in the evening, found me as determined as ever. On his arrival, he led me to the office for my interview. I was confronted with questions I had no answers for, and as such felt the opportunity slip through my hands. I thought to myself, "There is no way on planet earth you will get the job." 1st January 2020 came and I received a phone call from a strange number. On asking a friend beside me, I was told that could be an office line. My hope and fears rose at once; hoping that it was indeed the promised land and fearing that I was rejected. I said a prayer and picked the call. "I am Annet calling from Vijana Corps, to inform you that you have been appointed as the front desk assistant. You will commence work on 6th January, next week," resounded the sweet voice from the other end. The feeling was unbelievable. I said thank you as she hung up the phone. Tears filled my eyes and a floodgate of gospel songs rose on the inside all in praise to God. I could wait for the 6th of January. I spent many nights awake for I could believe the job was mine. And when 6th finally arrived, I dressed up in confidence, ready for my new assignment. We had an introductory meeting to get to know the staff members. At the meeting, I was the only being present without a notebook or pen which was quite ashaming. I felt like diving into a hole or swallowed by the ground in an instant but I remained calm. I got to learn more about Vijana Corps at the meeting. I was also given my offer letter and requested to sign only if I accepted the terms and conditions. I feel in love with the equality exhibited at Vijana Corps not to mention the privileges; I was entitled to breakfast, lunch and evening tea, and as a small person, (known for eating a lot), imagine the happiness in my heart. In that week, the organization had an annual planning meeting with both the Pakwach and Mukono teams. The new members of the team were introduced and as fate would deem fit. I was tasked with the duty of taking minutes for the meeting. A challenge I gladly took on. That very week, I also participated in the fundraising activity the organization was carrying out. It was an eye-opening experience. The Team Leader also surprised us with dinner at Cafe Javas. What a delightful evening. In the following weeks, I was given many tasks and an opportunity to learn; making requisitions, doing accountabilities, filling documents, budgeting etc. I also learnt how to serve as a receptionist, receiving company calls, writing minutes appropriately, making leave schedules and developing a database. At some point, I felt the pressure was too much to handle but then, it was, after all my first office job. All I knew until now was being a good salesperson and offering good customer care to my best abilities, not office duty. I was comforted with their determination and belief that I could be trained and excel in a formal job as well, with my limited job experience and all my other weaknesses. This alongside the comforting support from my colleagues has motivated me to push on and believe equally in myself. I have fallen in love with my job and duties at Vijana Corps so much so that I look forward to working every day. Honestly, working for Vijana Corps has been the best thing that has happened to me. A new year; and a new job all at the same time. What more could I ask for?


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