God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

19.07.2009 Bridging the gap

Often I am asked how I can work in two separate worlds, the world of the German speaking Catholics, the European world and at the same time in the world of those, living in the townships around Cape Town, fighting every day for having a piece of bread or some millipap on the table. How does one bridge the gap, bringing the world of abundance and the world of deprivation together… There is an easy answer: in being a bridge; in being the bridge, where those coming from Europe and all the First World countries are able to come and have a look into the other world. Don’t be fooled, also that needs courage to let go the security and the distance, a television still provides and to stand suddenly in the middle of Mfuleni. To smell it, to touch it, to grap it.. means to touch the life of people who will never ever have the chance to have a lifestyle like mine. And standing there and confronting oneself with the visitor @ a township clinicfact, that “my lifestyle” contributes towards the injustice and poverty – that also can trigger a lot of thoughts.

But a bridge is not a one way road – also those living in absolute poverty with no perspective have to understand, where the visitors are coming from. They have to have an idea what it means to grow up in Europe and taking most things for granted. They should understand what most people have little choice to make the world a better place, being integrated in a system leaving little space for avoiding “being part of the system”.

So in bringing these worlds together, one surely creates more understanding, all parties concerned can learn out of such encounters – and this  includes an important clarification:

Bringing rich European into township communities is not about getting them to donate a couple of Euros, but to go home, having an inside about realities and being good ambassadors for our country and those living in it.
Being part of the township community on the other hand does not make one to a beggar,  nobody is entitled to receive a donation – but there is a chance for communication, for an exchange of ideas and principles of life. Being able to share my life means indeed making the world a better place.

Filed under: General, Reflection,

HIV, AIDS and HOPE – thoughts of a Catholic priest

Being a Roman - Catholic priest and working in the fields of HIV and AIDS in Africa is often a challenge. Living in Africa has also its challenges. On the other hand I feel very much blessed having all the three. So you will find stories and reflections about my work, about the church, South Africa and Africa and essential information and developments in the field of HIV and AIDS. And in between personal stories and thoughts. You are most welcome to leave a comment or to get in touch with me - blogs - "thinking loud" so to speak is a ways of communication and exchange of ideas.

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