Creating Change - aka How we Jam

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Whenever we try to explain what The Otesha Project does, we always seem to come back to jam... Not only because we like jam a lot, (especially the home-made kind from local berries!), but also because we think that jam production is a wicked-cool analogy for how The Otesha Project creates change. (Of course, a much more conventional "goals and objectives" write-up is available on request, but this one is way more fun!)

We like to think of the "I can and do change the world, so I'm going to take action" mindset (a.k.a. Otesha's product) as jam. Coming to a performance of an Otesha play - well, that's where we try to spread a lot of jam. It's like going to visit a jam factory, seeing how it works, getting a taste of it, and most often having some splatter on you as you walk past the bubbling jam pot. 

Leaving the performance with The Otesha Book: From Junk to Funk in your hand is like leaving the jam factory with a jar of jam in your hand. When you leave, you have this very tangible object that reconnects you back to the factory (performance), that inspires you to get another jar (take more action), and even to make your own jam (run your own Otesha theatre production)! And these jars of jam that you leave a performance with (the constantly evolving books) are some totally magical jam: the jar never empties, and the more people who eat it, the sweeter it gets.

And not only does Otesha strive to spread as much jam as possible, and to share the maximum number of magical jam jars via performances, workshops and books, but we also strive to make the jam recipe available to all interested individuals across the country (via the books, scripts and vibe guides). This is to allow people to become jam creators in their own right. The scripts are a particularly interesting mode of jam spreading facilitation, as they provide a tasty, tested recipe, while also providing the flexibility to integrate new ingredients to suit the spreader's tastes. This allows the spreader to have ownership over the jam spreading process, and create the best possible flavour to meet their local community's tastes.

But it doesn't stop there; Otesha also puts incredible energy into training others to become walking, talking jam factories! This is done via the cycling & performing tours, which function as mobile training centres. Each participant learns the skills of jam-making by not only spreading jam via performances, but also training others to perform, AND getting trained to run a tour/organization/initiative of their own. “O”lumni of the cycling tour program re-enter their communities energized and empowered to create change, and go on to do amazing things! Check out some O-lumni initiatives here.

Now what about the Jam Factory Factory (Otesha HeadQuarters)? Are they just pleasantly sitting back and enjoying the "fruits" of their labour? Nope. They are completely committed to continually improving their recipe - integrating suggestions, changing worldviews, and varying community needs. Their goal is to work towards a completely self-sustaining operation where the jam continues to spread like wild strawberries, with or without them.