By The Rev. Donald Schell
Two days after walking, singing, and praying with eleven Anglicans and one Lutheran across a hundred and fifty miles of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, my wife and I flew to Malawi, Africa, where we’re driving distances on two lane highways crowded with pedestrians, heavy trucks, and bicycles (often laden with multiple riders or huge loads of charcoal for market) to visit community-based responses to Malawi’s AIDS crisis. When we turn off the pavement, we bounce along dirt tracks to visit village home-based care (HBC) programs, orphan feeding programs, AIDS education programs, ARV (anti-retroviral programs), and other locally generated responses to the AIDS crisis. Our Spanish pilgrimage and African project visits feel like one, and music is part of what makes that so.
My wife Ellen is the International Programs Director for Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance. Her day-to-day work is communicating with Malawi leadership (typically via email) on project development. Annually she visits to talk with local coordinators who are skilled in program and capacity development and with them she visits as many projects as possible.