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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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One month to work, learn in Tanzania

Wartburg College students see the impact of AIDS firsthand

During a monthlong course in Tanzania, students at Wartburg College, an ELCA school in Waverly, Iowa, realized the full impact of the adage “It takes a village to raise a child.”

At their first Sunday worship in that African country, students in the “Tanzania and the Global AIDS Crisis” class watched a woman bring her niece forward for baptism. The 1-year-old’s parents died of AIDS, so her aunt is raising her.

After worship an “elder took the child from her aunt and walked around the circle of congregational members, who stuffed Tanzanian shilling notes into the child’s pockets to help pay the expenses” for her upbringing, said Fred Strickert, a professor of religion at Wartburg.

Jess Wilke, a 2006 graduate of Wartburg
Jess Wilke, a 2006 graduate of Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa, shows a digital photo to children in Lubusazi, a village south of Morogoro, Tanzania.

The little girl is one of 13.4 million AIDS orphans worldwide. She’s among 11 percent of Tanzania’s children orphaned by the disease, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.


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