God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

From Internet worries to gay conversion – moments of a week’s work

Often when people make contact with me or it comes to a meeting they ask what a  typical week looks like for me as a priest and AIDS activist and the only thing I can say is: There is no typical week. A lot of time this week was spent on HOPE Cape Town affairs: we getting used to a new computer system which records every meeting, every result thereof and to do so, one needs some training and motivation to get used to it. How much bits and pieces of information gets lost when one not religiously records encounters, offers and follow-ups during the day? I can tell, it is amazing and the older one gets, the less one remembers with all the information streaming in every day. But HOPE Cape Town also changed this week service providers for the internet, email, web hosting etc. and as expected, there are some problems arising until everything is settled. Not being able to access email and information is very disruptive in our days and once again one is reminded how much we depend on it. Connected with this was a meeting with TBWA – a well-known marketing / advertising company in South Africa which does pro bono work for us. After re-designing our flyers it shifts now to our webpage which will be the next object of reflection and changes. All has to do with branding and getting the brand “HOPE Cape Town” known and identifiable in using all instruments available in this department. Doing good and getting the message across is so important , from an informational point of view as well as from the fundraising aspect. Another aspect of work this week was to go through the new employer handbook for HOPE Cape Town – we have to adhere to the South African labor law and this is indeed changing again and again. So the newest version was checked by labor lawyers and now we have to finalize it before it is handed out to the employees of HOPE Cape Town and forms then part of the work contract. On Wednesday I also met with all HOPE Community Health Workers on the issue of the “bonus” to be paid out at the end of the year. Obviously everybody likes a bonus to shop for all the Christmas presents, but a bonus is always at the discretion of the board. It also is a result of merit assessments – and once in a while one has to remind employees that a bonus is paid for exceeding expectations at work; not for doing what one is paid for anyhow. On the other hand it must be clear-cut how an assessment is done and what tick boxes are important to receive a bonus. Surely all important discussion points. HOPE Cape Town also secured it’s first official HOPE Cape Town Ambassador – watch the space, I will not tell here and now who was chosen and accepted gladly.
What else happened the last week?
The Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a luncheon with MEC Alan Winde. As a member of the Regional Council I attended this event and listened carefully what Alan had to say about the state of affair when it comes to business and investment in the Western Cape and in South Africa. As new legislation comes into effect regarding BB BEE coming year it is also important for HOPE Cape Town to know the next changes we are BB BEE approved and we would like to keep it that way.
Bavaria and the Western Cape celebrating 20 years of partnership next year, so a meeting to find out how HOPE Cape Town can participate in these events in Bavaria and showcase its contribution towards the partnership.
A meeting with Rev Ryan from the Philippines saw discussions about HIV / AIDS support groups in this part of the world.  I learned that the Catholic Church in the Philippines supports conversion programs trying to get gay people straight – quite shocking for me – as this runs counter all academic research and adds to the burden to people anyhow threatened by HIV and AIDS and the difficulties to come out in a very Catholic environment. It surely adds to the shame people feel as being HIV positive and gay at the same time as it implies that there is something wrong with them besides the punishment of HIV. Somehow the expression “dark middle ages” came to my mind. Conversion as a possibility to get rid of being who I am is on an ethical level as bad as criminalizing is on a legal level. I once again realized how much is still to do….
Exhalation of the Cross – the Catholic Feast celebrated with the Catholic Community in Belgravia ended a week – being reminded of all the crosses people carry and are burdened with and celebrating our believe that the good message of the kingdom of God is told to all and everybody – unconditional love, that’s what we are called for.  And that is a good starting point for the coming week which will bring me to Europe again for a couple of days.

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HOPE Cape Town Trust & Association working summary

HOPE Cape Town Connectivity

HOPE Cape Town Connectivity

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Munich..

Second day in Munich with quite some contacts. Meeting with representatives of the Bavarian Staatskanzlei and discuss matters interesting for both sides. Lots of phone contacts and a discussion for a participation on a brief documentary piece for German TV. Preparation for the meeting tomorrow with the Kath. Stiftungsfachhochschule as well as some sponsors and politicians. Emails and other correspondence are waiting for replies. All in all a full day and a great beginning for the third week. This trip is a blessing indeed and I appreciate the talks, discussions, encounters and communication because it shows that HOPE Cape Town is on the right way and still attractive to many supporters and sponsors. But it is much more than only the question of money – it is good to see that people engage with South Africa and its problems, that they really try to understand our situation @ the Cape of Good Hope. The political turmoil within the ANC, the Malema Saga and much more is of concern for those who want to support South Africa and its NGO’s. So for me this trip is not only about HOPE Cape Town but also about being a bridge and trying to explain the situation which looks from far away so different from the one we living in South Africa can see and experience every day.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

04.11.2010 TUM

The workshop in Munich was excellent – lots of interesting information and the first ideas how to get the partnership between HOPE Cape Town,  Technical University Munich and the University of Stellenbosch going in the fields of HIV and sports. If everything is going well, we are planing to involve the community of Manenberg in a mentors programme and also try to get a project running which would see people living with HIV running the Two Ocean Marathon. But as always all needs a proper structure and some money. But i am hopeful that we succeed in launching both projects sooner than later.

This morning a talk with a representative of the Katholische Buero in Munich. We discuss the possible involvement of the Freisinger Bishops Conference in the partnership between Bavaria and the Western Cape.
Luncheon with my book agent to discuss possible new projects before heading to the University again to reflect on the workshop yesterday with the dean of sports sciences, Prof. Beckmann.

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Networking, Politics and Society, Society and living environment, , , , , ,

30.09.2010 Diversity

Diversity has always driven my life, and also this week it is not different:

The death of Fr Roland continues to give reason for many talks about life and death, but also normal life is going on: The new HOPE Cape Town feature is ready now for post production and tomorrow I will sit with the chairperson to see the footage and to decide on the “red line” for the feature.
Premier Seehofer from Bavaria together with Premier Zille and Mayor Plato plus a delegation met in Kalksteenfontain to hear from NGO’s connected with Bavaria what they are doing here in the Western Cape. It was an interesting gathering and it is always also good for the NGO’s to see that they have neighbours they could relate too. But I guess it is also important for the politicians to see what is happening on the ground.And it is good to see the partnership between the Western Cape and Bavaria so lively; it is good to meet the same people again and again to  know that we are indeed on the same page in developing this partnership.

Senior staff meeting, a preparation meeting for a farewell next week, dinner with friends and a meeting with the Archbishop of Cape Town – never a dull moment and all is important – but I guess the most important part is really the meeting of hearts and minds, the exchange of ideas and the openness for a frank discussion, where everybody is listening to everybody. This human aspect of a business meeting becomes for me more and more important, because it is the base for good cooperation and a successful development in whatever stands on the agenda.

Next week will see me again in Johannesburg for 1,5 days and then directly afterward to Durban for the same amount of time. And then it is not far before I am leaving for Europe again with lots of meetings and talks – my last big travel for this year. Such travel needs lots of preparation, not only logistic but also the contents of what I want to bring over to my audiences and meeting partners must be well prepared.  3/4 of the year is gone – I am looking forward to the rest of the year and I know I will meet exciting people, new ideas and enough food for thoughts for the years to come.

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

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

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

Ball of HOPE 2020

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