God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

03.02.2010 Friends are there for…

…letting thoughts flow. A wonderful and more spontaneous luncheon with a friend where I was able to take a breath and to talk about personal things which really moved me in the moment. It feels like a blessing to be able to share when heart and mind creates a rollercoaster situation.  🙂

Otherwise I spend the morning with young journalists from Germany – organised by the “Sueddeutsche Zeitung”. We went to visit a primary health care facility in Mfuleni, one of our patients at home and then went to Tygerberg Academic Children’s Hospital and HOPE Cape Town to discuss current issues. The journalists already had meetings with important people like the German Ambassador Dieter Haller and Premier Helen Zille. Their task is it to gather background information about South Africa before the Soccer World cup 2010 starts. And it is difficult. As I heard there is either painted a rosy picture of South Africa in anticipation of the sports event – and it seems that nobody is allowed to say a critical word about some areas of concern – or people condemn and warn of security failure and the horrendous crime rates. It seems in the moment, there is only black and white at our disposal – and I think, this is simply wrong. South Africa has, like all other nations a variety of gray – yes, we have crime and the statistics are shocking, but yes, hundred thousands of tourists are visiting South Africa every year  and most of them are going home with a positive impression and lots of good experience. Yes, there are concerns, also security concerns – but yes, there are also lots of efforts to make 2010 a success for South Africa and Africa. Yes, the price structure of some airlines and hotels are indeed rather reminding us of gangsterism, on the other hand – there will be enough good deals closer to the time. We have to be honest brokers of the realities of South Africa. I concede, the realities are not that easy to read and interpret often – but only if we see and communicate all the potential for success, but also not forget the pitfalls – South Africa is like any other nation made out of humans and human structures… Nothing wrong about it.

The stadiums are ready – the people get more enthusiastic, upgrades of roads and transport systems are driving us South Africans crazy every day we commute to town, the soccer world cup 2010 will be a success – the African way and that is indeed good so…  Such events also help to highlight the shortcomings of a country – but which country has no shortcomings??

So I hope that the journalists went back to their hotel with the impression, that they got an honest assessment of the situation without politics or diplomacy tainting the picture. I think there is no need. Looking back to the last years there is surely more sun than shadow – and the way, South Africa will choose will anyhow only decided after the world cup circus will move on.

One is for sure: the soccer world cup 2010 prevented South Africa and its young democracy to  dip deeper into trouble during the developing times, when we have to learn how to organise us as such a democracy. The soccer world cup 2010 was and is the necessary nail to stop destructive development. My South African part tells me that nothing is decided yet when it comes to the future of South Africa, but one thing is for sure: the potential to create a home for all and a stable democracy is at hand, but in our times, all countries are interdependent as the global recession has again shown. So the future of South Africa also hangs in the balance with the other states and nations of this world. I will remain optimistic and realistic. A realistic optimist or an optimistic realist.. whatever is necessary in the next years to come…

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Networking, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

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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