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The Ota Initiative Blog

Pictures from Our Fifth Program

Between holiday travelling and the rainy season knocking out cell reception in Kayanga, it's been a bit hard to receive updates from our fifth program that finished up at the end of December. Now, however, I have finally been able to connect with Pontian and have some great photos and stories from this last program to share with you all.

After learning about the importance of protecting the environment, students planted trees and discussed their role in the ecosystem. Due to increasing demand for charcoal, deforestation and the resulting erosion is a major issue in Karagwe, and we try to impart messages of conservation and environmentalism in every program we run.

As a part of our ongoing leadership curriculum, our teachers taught the students a game called Blind Snake. In this game, students stand in a line one behind the other with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them to form a "snake". The person in the front of the line has to lead the snake through an obstacle course. In the first round, everyone closes their eyes except for the leader, so the leader has to properly communicate the obstacles to his or her team so they can navigate around them. In the second round, the leader closes his or her eyes and has to be guided through the course by the team. The game teacher both teamwork and communication skills.

One learning goal of the program was to teach students about the presence and importance of air. For young students, it can sometimes be hard to grasp the idea that something invisible is so important in their lives, so we designed several experiments to demonstrate the presence and importance of air. One of these experiments involved covering a lit candle with a cup and asking students what would happen. Upon seeing the fire being extinguished after being covered, Pontian explained that the fire went out because it had used up all of the oxygen underneath the cup - revealing air is important because without it we would not have fire.

To view more pictures of this past program, like us and visit us on Facebook. For those of you in the Mid-Atlantic region, it could be a fun way to while away the hours during the upcoming Snowpocalypse. For now, stay warm, and look for news in the coming months about our next program in June.

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