God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

Day 21: 7th May 2011

Early in the morning we pack and leave Quito. We are still so tired that we don’t realise that we cross the equator line and are driving on the southern hemisphere of the globe. Short after Riobamba we turn in the direction of Machala. The mountains are in the clouds today, so we definitely will not see anything from the Tungurahua volcano and its explosions. We reach altitudes of 3850 meters above sea level with temperatures under 10 degrees Celsius.

In the mountains almost only Indio’s are living; the descendants of the once so powerful Inca culture are now living in poverty, looking after some crop and their cattle. But it seems that they are very friendly. As Katrin wants to use the restroom of a petrol station, she only has US Dollar notes and no local currency to pay. The old female Indian employee recognises her need and waves her through without making her pay.

In a little village named Palliatanga we stop to beam up emails via the CPN satellite dish. At the same time we hand out some flyers and our inflatable water balloon globes. Within minutes the whole village is alive and we bring out as many balloons as possible. Mocca and Oliver give out hand held ventilators and caps sponsored by Provinzial insurance company – the kids of Palliatanga can’t get enough of them…

When we reach the coastal region in the afternoon, temperatures are rising again towards the 30 degrees Celsius and humidity kicks in again. Coffee plants and banana crop as far as the eye can see. In between we pass villages with colourful life, but clearly there is a lot of poverty in this region of Ecuador.

At 4.30 pm we are at the border to Peru. As there is virtually no traffic due to the referendum in Ecuador we are done within 2 hours, just in time to see the flag of Peru been taken down – the officers are closing the border post as we pass.  We follow the costal line and close to Talara we find a place to camp. The sky is full of stars and we are cooking our trekking food and preparing for the night, Oliver and Mocca already fully integrated. 850 km we have done today, 1000 km are still waiting for us tomorrow.

And no, we did not forget the German Mothers Day: We congratulate all our mothers – their kids are marvellous… thanks for that… and all the best from a dark Peruvian night.

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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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© Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE.
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