God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

Day 8: 24th April 2011

Easter Sunday – a day of celebration and we want to be part of it. In the morning, Katja and Stefan arrive with small Easter bunnies and sweet cake. Stefan (the team member) celebrates with us as a Catholic priest an Easter service between our cars. His sermon tries to touch on our experience of the last days: we have common grounds, we all want to fullfill our mission of moving the world, and this is so much bigger than small interpersonal animosities, which we have to overcome for the sake of the mission.

At 9 am we bid farewell to the holiday makers and off we go to the coastal region of the Caribbean with 41 degrees Celsius and a sweat producing humidity before returning to the Pacific Ocean.  Crop fields and sierra alternate now as well as a newly tarred road with gravel road pieces in between. Every village shows lots of signs of life with one shop after the other along the street and plenty of garages for every thinkable car brand. And in between a clear military presence:  The province of Chiapas has more military road blocks than the rest of the country. Thank God we have Julian with us, who is named “Che“ because of his Spanish knowledge, his wanna-be beard and his grey cap.  He is able to bring a smile to any policeman’s face within minutes while showering him with all Spanish words describing our tour until the man forgets about checking our car.

But even that does not help when arriving at the border to Guatemala. We pass the Mexican customs without any problems, just to find ourselves at an open immigration office, but closed customs. “Welcome to Guatemala“ reads the big sign hanging above the street and at the right hand side another: “No to corruption“. Next to the non-corrupt officer is a civil looking guy. He explains that there are two ways of crossing the border, the official one, which means to wait until 8 am next morning, or the not so official one which would mean to cross immediately, but that would be the more expensive option. We decide to have clean papers and stay in the no-man’s land between colourful small houses, called “hotel“ or “restaurant“ with lots of mobile vendors in between selling everything you can imagine…

A consequence is that the press conference in Guatemala City, scheduled for 8 am next morning is not an option anymore. Pity for our fight against HIV and AIDS but that is no worry for a border official of Guatamala.

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HIV, Development and HOPE – thoughts of a Catholic priest

Being a Roman - Catholic priest and working in the fields of HIV and social development in Africa has its challenges. You will find stories and reflections about my work, about the church, South Africa and Africa, about politics and whatever triggers my interest. You are most welcome to leave a comment or to get in touch with me. Blogging means to initiate thoughts and discussions and for the writer to formulate what is loosely running around in the heart and mind in need of being sorted and spoken out.

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