God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Thoughts, inside, comments of a Catholic priest

Day 18: 4th May 2011

A day full of pain, but at the end all smiles.

At 7.30 am we are readily standing at the harbour customs at Cartagena full of energy and expectations to get our cars as it was promised yesterday. Well, there is always a discrepancy between promises and realities in some sectors of life: 25 signatures to collect per vehicle plus 4 fingerprints; in total 125 signatures and 20 fingerprints, additional the visit of 7 different waiting areas…

14 hours and several high blood pressure symptoms of Joachim later the miracle happens: the boom opens for our five Amaroks and the game between customs, harbour administration, insurance companies and agent has finally come to an end. 14 hours also hanging around for the rest of the team comes to an end – we say farewell to 40 degrees Celsius, almost 90% humidity in front of the Café Zona Franca at the petrol station opposite the gates of customs.

But there is more good news: Our well-armed police protection unit has also arrived in time and in no time we take petrol and then we are on the road again. One police bike in front of us, one covering our back, we start our challenge against the time: tomorrow at 11 am we have to be in Medellin to attend a major press conference – 700 km still to go and we are optimistic that we will make it. 30 minutes into this race against time we stand again: one tyre is heavily punctured due to a sharp cut – the disintegrating asphalt can be razor sharp. But Lothar is directly on top of the situation: tools out and within 15 minutes we are on the go again.

The road improves, but the weather now starts to bring on a tropical thunder storm with rain and thunder and lightning causing potholes to fill with water, trees to lie across the streets, mud from the terrain right and left of the road. But we cannot afford to stop anymore…

During night time our policemen change now and then, but there is nothing to report about serious incidents, the weather clears and we climb up through the rainforest till 2800m above sea level. Medellin, we are on our way.

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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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