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The Ota Initiative Blog

Arrival in Tanzania

On Friday, I said good bye to America and jumped on a plane to Africa. I arrived in Karagwe, Tanzania, Sunday night tired and jetlagged but ready to start The Ota Initiative. First thing Monday morning I got to work meeting Ota’s two main contacts here in Kayanga — Amizade’s local site director, Sam Kayongo, and the vice principal of the local secondary school, Osward Justine.

This week has been full of developments, the most exciting one being the hour-long radio interview Sam and I did to help spread word of our project to the local community. Listeners were able to call in questions, many of which revolved around when we will be able to expand Ota’s programs to other areas. It’s great to know that people are excited about our program, and we would love to be able to expand our program one day, but as the old Swahili saying goes, “Pole pole ndio mwendo. Slowly, slowly is the way to go.”

We have also been using the radio to advertise our job positions. We will be hiring a head teacher to lead Ota and local youth to help run the program. Interviews will take place next Monday, and we hope to have are team hired by the end of next week. More than anything, I hope that we will be able to put together a strong team that will lead this program to success.

Along with advertising for our job positions, today we started radio advertisements telling parents how to request a space for their children in our program. We only have room for 20 students, so we decided the fair thing to do will be to randomly pick names out of a hat, the only requirement being that half of the students are female and half male. I can’t wait to meet the students who will be a part of The Ota Initiative’s inaugural class!

Other than being radio stars, our team here as been busy meeting with local leaders, tweaking our syllabus and taking care of all those tiny details that ensure a program runs smoothly. Stay tuned for updates, and I hope to introduce more of our team here to you soon!

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