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The Ota Initiative Blog

Concluding Another Successful Program

I would like to start off this blog entry by simultaneously apologizing for the long delay between posts and the lack of photos in this update. Our summer program ended a few weeks ago, and I usually then like to post an entry with many adorable pictures showing what our students accomplished. Instead of this happening, all of our program pictures ended up accidentally deleted, and despite valiant efforts, they have not been recovered. I am holding out hope that the photos will one day be successfully retrieved, but for now, we shall soldier on without them. The good news is that the two weeks of our program dedicated to science and art went very well. This program built off of a previous one and focused on further studying health and the human body. Students explored the roles of organs and learned how body parts are all interconnected. During one classroom experiment, students observed how body functions such as heart rate and breathing responded to exercises and why they responded in similar ways. Students learned about how different foods contribute to the body’s functioning, and how bad nutrition can negatively impact the body. The group leaders also performed a skit on hygiene that showed students how bad habits can weaken their own health and spread sicknesses to others. This topic is especially important in an area like Kayanga where a dearth of clean water makes spreading communicable diseases even easier. Overall, lessons, games, and science experiments focused on teaching students about how that body is one complex system and that it is important to care for it through exercise, a balanced diet, and good hygiene. As per usual, the second two weeks of the program also included games, skits, and projects aimed to develop students’ leadership skills. A highlight of the leadership curriculum was reading students a story about Bibi Titi Mohammed. After being denied an education as a child and being married at 13 and having a daughter, Bibi Titi rose to become a leading force in the Tanzanian fight for independence. She was known for her great public presence and for her inspiring speeches that would spur people to join the movement. She is noted especially for her role in mobilizing women to enter the political sphere and her efforts to promote women’s literacy. After hearing Bibi Titi’s story, students discussed the importance of all people’s voices being heard and valued. They also noted that despite her humble beginnings, she was able to use her skills and strengths to achieve her goals. Bibi Titi serves as an excellent example to our students of how anyone can overcome obstacles and positively impact society. After three weeks of learning, our students and staff then celebrated the end of our sixth program with a graduation ceremony attended by parents and invited guests. This was a festive event where our students showed off their new English skills and scientific knowledge by performing games, experiments, and plays for the audience. All-in-all, it was another successful program. Thank you again for your support because without you none of our programs would be possible. I hope you all enjoy a wonderful weekend, and should any adorable photos happen to resurface, I will be sure to post them.

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