God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

Sterkspruit

Do you know where Sterkspruit is located? Or Herschel? I did not know till I visited it: Eastern Cape – Diocese of Aliwal North – somewhere close to Lesotho – and arriving there after a long drive from Bloemfontein feels like getting in a forgotten corner of South Africa. On invitation of Sam, one of our trustees of the HOPE Cape Town Trust, who is coming from here, I meet different people like Fr Joe and his flock with 30 chapels and churches. I hear of the plight of the people, their attempt to make the best of their lives, of mismanagement of the environment, of crime, abuse, hopelessness, poverty and all the credentials which one would hope to defeat in the new South Africa. And once again I encounter the ABCD programme of the Catholic Student movement, which puts being HIV positive on the same level like being a criminal or a drug addict. Nobody thought about it really – coming from the official church side, nobody questioned it.

After 25 hours intense listening and trying to take in the situation of the people I am out again – with proposals in my bag of projects, with thousand thoughts how people can exist like this for ages, with admiration for my fellow priests keeping the hope up in these circumstances and with the determination to make things happen as much as I am able to from a distance. Most of our HOPE Community Health worker are coming from the Eastern Cape and I heard many times how much assistance is needed – now I know first hand…

I first have to reflect on it more – good that there is the Easter break – time for reflection in the light of the unconditional love of God. What does it mean for those people I left in Sterkspruit?

By the way: If you read this and you have skills like bricklayer, electrician or whatever practical professional skills and you have some weeks time to go there and teach those skills to young people in the area: let me know…

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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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