Reflections on BoldLeaders Conference
January 17, 2013
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Audi Mambai speaks to his colleagues in the Opening School Meetings about his experience with BoldLeaders.
BoldLeaders is a youth leadership program that believes “so goes Africa, so goes the world,” meaning that Africa and other less developed parts of the world should not be left behind. BoldLeaders funds opportunities for students to participate in four week cultural exchange programs with a focus on conflict resolution, leadership, civic engagement and education. From Tanzania, only nine students and two chaperones were selected; I was one of the chaperones. We spent our time in Denver, Colorado and Washington, DC, visiting schools, youth organizations and agriculture organizations. While in DC we visited museums and the monuments, the US Department of State and also the Peace Corps office.
There are several things which I learned through BoldLeaders that I want to implement at Orkeeswa. First is the importance of time management. I saw in America that you can accomplish more and complete many tasks when you keep to your schedule, something that we are not always good at doing in Tanzania. We lose valuable time each day; I think that at Orkeeswa we can set a standard to be more efficient. Another thing that I liked about America is how the society and specifically the adults mentor the younger people. They were good mentors because in their culture mistakes are allowed to be made and students are given a second chance. I plan to bring that attitude into my classroom more; I want to be a good mentor and let the students know that if they fail at something, they can try again.
BoldLeaders encouraged us to be comfortable in an uncomfortable environment. In African culture it is very uncomfortable for men to be emotional. At Orkeeswa we see our volunteers being very friendly and emotional; they sympathize quickly with the students. This is comfortable for them because it is part of their culture. For a male teacher it is very uncomfortable to show emotion, like crying, even hugging. I now have a better understanding of the volunteers and their culture. This understanding will help us to do our best work together at Orkeeswa.
I am very loyal to Orkeeswa; I believe in the philosophy and the mission. I know that we are doing a good job but I would like to see ideas from BoldLeaders incorporated as well. I think these ideas will help to take Orkeeswa to an even higher level.
Audi Mambai is a History, Civics and Life Skills teacher at Orkeeswa Secondary School. He has been involved with the school since its inception and has been a full time teacher since August of 2011. Audi was graduated by Dodoma University in Dodoma, Tanzania with a BA in Education.