I’m Anu Ramachandran, an undergraduate at USC studying philosophy and neuroscience, and this summer I’m participating in Support for International Change, an immersion volunteer program focused on increasing education and awareness about HIV/AIDS in rural communities in northern Tanzania. As a volunteer, I will be living in a village in the Mwada district of Tanzania and working with Tanzanian university students to conduct a village-wide education program that will culminate in a widespread HIV testing campaign for the nearly 20,000 Tanzanians who live in this district, many of whom never had access to testing facilities. In addition to my volunteer work, I’m going to be conducting a research project focused on understanding the role that religious belief and tradition plays in shaping HIV stigma among these communities – most Tanzanians in this region are Christian, but there are also strong traditional East African spiritual beliefs that play an important role in village life. I will be investigating the links between these beliefs and HIV stigma and specifically the role that faith healing plays in the Tanzanian struggle with HIV. I just arrived and and am in Babati, Tanzania, a beautiful market town, where we are conducting our volunteer orientation – intensive Swahili classes and constructing a curriculum for our awareness program. I’m incredibly excited for my time in Tanzania, can’t wait to share my experiences with you!