Saturday, May 8, 2010


This post is to let everyone know that I will no longer be producing Tiyeni Tipewe on Radio Yako. I am going to take some time to explore ways to bring communities in different countries together around issues of health and social justice. I will of course continue to share the stories I brought back from Malawi, as I believe that they need to be heard.

I have really appreciated the opportunity to produce this show, and am grateful to Radio Yako for creating the space for it. THANK YOU to all of the listeners for your support and participation. Please check the blog for news on how this project is growing, and for updated information from people interviewed in Malawi last year. Keep in touch!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


A few days ago, I learned that one of the women I interviewed last summer, Dorothy, passed away on October 20th. She was HIV positive and after discovering in August that she had full-blown cancer, she left Lilongwe for her village so that she could die there.

I met Dorothy through Tilerane Orphan Care, one of the community-based organizations that The Pendulum Project and the Face-to-Face AIDS Project assist. She was a volunteer there and always made me feel very welcome whenever Arichie and I visited. Our interview took place in her house, with her seven year old son sitting a few feet away, by the door. Through our conversation, I found out that he didn't know her status, though she had been speaking freely of it in his presence. Dorothy's husband had died five years earlier, and so their eight sons are now struggling to get by in their absence.

Her death, and the amount of time it took me to know of it, brought me to tears the other day. As I wondered about my ability to do this work, good friends I've met through this project reminded me that Dorothy's death and the difficulties her sons are facing only reinforce the importance of getting people's stories heard. And of staying connected. For information on how you can help Dorothy's children, please contact Ken Wong, the director of Face to Face AIDS, at:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tiyeni Tipewe: April 3, 2010

April 3, 2010: Listen
Topic: Work being down out in the community.
On the show with me: Bernard Glassman (North Carolina) and Chris Chibwana (Indiana)

Lawyer Shima Baradaran to talk about HIV Bill

On Saturday, April 10th, our guest on Tiyeni Tipewe will be Shima Baradaran, a lawyer and lecturer in criminal law at the University of Malawi, and former Fulbright Senior Scholar in Malawi. She has been consulting with some of the NGOs in Malawi who have some objections to the current draft of the HIV Bill (that would criminalize transmission of HIV).

Shima is actually heading to Malawi next week to join these organizations in presenting their position paper to Parliament ... but first, she wants to hear from you! What do you think the organizations and the Malawian government need to hear? Please:
  • comment here on the blog
  • email me your comments about this issue ( before Saturday
  • join us live on April 10th at 6pm Eastern (
  • Call in using Skype or send in your comments during the show
Shima sent me this draft copy of the position paper to put up on the blog. Please note, and let others know, that it is still being finalized - this is not the final version. Also, you may have to enlarge the font.

I'm glad I read the paper, and was surprised at some of the details of the proposed bill and impressed at the work of the many organizations that have joined together in fighting for changes to it!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Just wait and see

Some really exciting changes are coming to Tiyeni Tipewe! Listen this Saturday, at 6:00 pm (eastern time) on Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ABCs and HIV ... teachers need training too

Ruth Kamchacha, Senior Training Officer for the sex workers in Lilongwe who recently protested the bill to criminalize the transmission of HIV, wrote about some of the work the she and others are doing. (See her comment under "Criminalizing transmission," below). I must say that after reading what she wrote, I was so impressed at her commitment toward raising awareness, protecting lives and rights, and bringing individuals and communities together for better health and real social change.

On the show, we've been talking about education and health, and I believe that work that is interactive, honors the stories of individuals involved, and takes place out in the community (such as that described by Ruth Kamchacha) is crucial to the fight against HIV. For another example of some empowering work related to education and health, here is a video by Theatre for Change, which works in several countries, including Malawi. This 12 minute video begins by providing information on the situation of HIV/AIDS in Malawi, including the story of one HIV positive teacher, and moves into clips from a project that is being done with men and women training to be teachers. This project's goal is to both reduce the rates of infection among Malawi's student teachers and train them in tools that they in turn can use to educate their students about subjects such as HIV and sexual rights.