God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

One of those days…

Preparing for my flight to Europe and the airline already now know that there will be a more than 4 hour delay. Nevertheless they insist of being at the airport and check in at the normal prescribed time. Not really enhancing the mood.
Following the news also does not help – the Khashoggi case seems to develop slow but steady – to imagine that in a NATO country an embassy is used to kill a journalist and then cut him in pieces is not only appalling but it was one of the things I could not imagine – like so many developments in our current world affairs. USA, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Italy – the amount of countries which seemingly fall into the trap of authoritarian rule or xenophobic attitude  – weakening democracy and darkening the horizon of the new dawn of freedom, liberty, human rights and decency among countries most of us have had in the beginning of the millennium – seems to be growing.
Social media and modern technology hailed to bring people together are dividing and causing anxiety on all fronts of societies – in the moment one has the impression that the negative effects of possibilities to connect are clearly winning the day. And so do all those politicians with simple populist answers knowing perfectly well that disaster is looming when they gather enough followers. Populism is self-destructive – history has proven it over and over again.  And social media are weapons of choice for trapping those who are vulnerable to propaganda and easy solutions.

Maybe that is the reason why I believe that beaming people via SKYPE and conference call and Whatsapp are not enough to really engage with each other. I prefer the surely more expensive and time-consuming way of meeting the people, share some time with them and discuss matters relevant in person.  It is then and there that real conversation is happening – encounter in the real sense of the world. And if you can’t hide behind a slogan or a screen or a party or an ideology but one is looking into the eyes of the person sitting opposite – real communication, real problem solving is happening – real understanding is given birth.

I am convinced we have to stop being computer screen warriors and instead really engaging with the world. Clicking “like”or any other emoji might give a feeling of having done your bit – but this is self-deception and fooling oneself. It is also the only way that we can stem the non-sense of populism, bad right-wing politics  and – in the case of the USA – anti-academic attitude like denying climate change. Otherwise we are playing with our future – but maybe Mother Earth is happy to continue to exist without human beings – maybe it is not a great loss if the human race is failing and fading away.

Be it as it be – I am preparing for flying out today and I am looking forward to meet all those in the next days and weeks who are part of the HOPE Cape Town family or interested to know about it and maybe join those spreading hope and engaging with real people. Real people, who want to live with dignity striving for decent prosperity and who want to create a future for the next generation to come.

Filed under: General, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Preparing for overseas

It’s the time of the year again when a longer overseas stay is due and major fundraiser for HOPE Cape Town will be on the program. With all the connectivity via social media, twitter, FB, Skype and other tools there is only one way to really catch up and stay deeply connected: the personal encounter with the people supporting the cause you rally for.
The Gala in Dresden will give the opportunity to meet with lots of people who have not only come and visited during the year, but also being faithful since more than a decade in supporting and advertising our work in and around Cape Town. It is indeed with joy and anticipation to be in the city with heart and to catch up with those I know personally but also to make new friends and partners for HOPE Cape Town. The 13th Hope Gala will be at the last weekend of October and if you don’t have a ticket yet, please let us meet at this marvelous charity event.
Berlin is be next – the “Festliche Aidsgala der Deutschen Aidsstiftung” – a mega event in the capital of Germany and we are so grateful for the support coming from this great evening. But obviously it is not only jumping from festive event to festive event – from presenting to a Rotary Club in Berlin to speaking in front of an audience connected to the OneWorld Shop in Bitburg; visiting a jewellery studio in Dresden supporting HOPE Cape Town with a fine idea or other of the many one to one meetings, exchanges and encounters: it is always about touching hearts and minds and making sure the connection is more than “giving away some money”.

This year, my trip in October will be complemented with a stay in Dallas / Texas where we work hard to set up HOPE Cape Town USA as an instrument of connecting projects and facilitating encounters and exchange also for students in the social field. It is an uphill battle in the times of a deeply divided nation – but we hope that the World Aids Day 2018 will bring all the collaborators together around one table and we will make one major step forward to achieve meaningful cooperation but also strengthen the fundraising efforts in the USA.  All this obviously can’t be done by one person – so I am very grateful to all who are part of this adventure, Stacy, Auntjuan, Shirley and Joe – all directors of the US entity and willing to go the extra mile to make it happen. I am especially excited to see Bryans House and the Cathedral of HOPE in Dallas being willing to venture with us.

Connecting the work over 3 continents and making sure that we not only know about each other , but feel each other and being able to encounter each other: this is more than just working in the fields of HIV, Aids, TB, ECD and social services – it is a service to bringing the world together and to contribute in a small but important way to understanding, peace and well-being of those living in the global village. In a world so divided as it is in the moment, I believe that we all have a role to play as individuals, but also NGO’s to foster those human relationships and giving birth to more love, more faith and more hope in the best sense of the word. The HOPE Cape Town family is definitely on board to do so…

Filed under: Uncategorized

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenNovember 16th, 2019
84 days to go.

Ball of HOPE 2020

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 23rd, 2020
9 months to go.
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