God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Contrast bath of emotions

  Is it possible to love and hate, to praise and condemn a country within hours with feelings running deeply both ways almost at the same time?
Well, South Africa is such a country which somehow has made it a local sports to elicit the different emotions like a roller-coaster. Murder, military in townships, cash heists, robberies and the inability of politics to really serve the people, paired by a constant flow of information from the Zondo commission can lead to deep depression – the shamelessness of people like the public protector or the flip-flopping Julius Malema adds to the urge to pack up and go, writing off this once so promising country of 1994. Constant use of race as a weapon and apartheid as an excuse for incompetence or outright corruption are cherries on top of the frustration.

On the other hand I just was invited to the cultural evening of the Brooklyn Holy Cross Primary School. The students took us around the world with song and dance, they shared their dreams and watching them and their enthusiasm has exactly the opposite effect of depression: energized we all walked out – knowing that we have to support this generation of kids and youngster to have a chance in the new South Africa. Similar meeting the kids in Blikkiesdorp, Manenberg and other forgotten areas – their smiles in spite of hardship, their efforts while living in broken families, their willingness to learn and to let go – not to forget the many moms fighting to have a better future for their kids – those are the reasons to stay and to work hard so that the next generation can build on what we realistically can achieve in our lifetime.

It is in the so called poor areas, in the townships, at the bottom of society where you encounter all the reasons to stay while the shameless selfishness of most politicians, the ignorance of those “who made it” through all sorts of means using their elbows right and left and those who murder and steal without regret try very hard to push the last decency out of this country.

We need a revolution of healing in this country, a revolution which only can come if we recognize that is is up to us  – with our emotions, in our pain and hurt and with our hopes – to recognize the contrast bath of emotions, to persevere and to come out more strong, more determined to make a difference.

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

Thoughts before a trip…

The evening before my first major trip this year – and as always going through the program I am tempted to anticipate how things will work out – and questions popping up like “whom will you meet on this journey?” and “will there be that kind of connection needed to really encounter each other?”.

The first part will bring me hopefully without delay from Cape Town via Munich and Frankfurt to Bremen, a city I have never visited before. Last year march a delegation from the Federal State of Bremen visited South Africa and Cape Town. Having been able to introduce most of the more than 70 wo-men strong delegation to Blikkiesdorp and HOPE Cape Town I am now invited to learn about this Federal State. Meetings with politicians, clergy, students, refugees, press and social worker / activists are part of the program. I am indeed looking forward not only to meet those introduced to me in Cape Town but also lots of new faces for an exchange on different topics ranging from politics to economics, from trauma to HIV counseling and all in between. Not to forget a bit of culture to understand the great history of this important city.

Via Frankfurt I will then continue my travel to Dallas where I not only hope to meet with some Directors of HOPE Cape Town USA but also able to engage with the impressive Cathedral of Hope, a congregation which has so much to offer and is also willing to engage with the South African HOPE Cape Town organization. Brian’s House, our second partner is definitely on the lists of visits as other organizations. Not to forget the participation in the Dallas South Aids Walk and the baptism of the youngest member of the HOPE family – the son of Stacie and Josh. It will be a real honor to christian the young man. The stay would not be complete without meeting Rev Ted coming all the way from New Mexico – lots of good advice is on the way.

A drive to Houston will complement impressions I gather every time I visit Texas learning more of the spirit of the people living here.  Then flying off to Puerto de Vallarta, where my duties as the chaplain to see for the MS Amadea during the last days of lent and the Holy week commences. Jamaica, Panama, Mexico are some of the stop-overs and finally end April going in Miami from board to catch a flight from Fort Lauderdale via Washington, Frankfurt and Johannesburg back to Cape Town.

What will I bring home from all this travel? Lots to tell I guess, tons of new experiences and certainly more people to feel connected with. Hopefully also some more people interested to join the HOPE family. Whatever it will be – there is always a change, a growth connected to travel – there is always a broader view on the world and its possibilities and challenges achieved. All these can be a blessing and a curse when you come home where life is so limited to a certain frame of customs, experience and expectations. Traveling the world can make a person sometimes very lonely but traveling the world with a mission will always counter this and make sure that the balance is right.

And there is more: Traveling and meeting at first complete strangers shows also how much more talking is needed to understand the realities behind the words used to communicate with each other. Using the same language does not mean to understand each other, describing situations does not mean to get the point across – upbringing, culture, politics and socialization determine the use of language and one quick realizes that the “global village” needs quite some push to become reality in the madness of the world today.

Filed under: chaplain, chaplain to sea, General, HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town USA, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bridging continents

Fr Wim Lindeque, HOPE Goodwill Ambassador Katlego Maboe , Fr Stefan Hippler with Children of the Manenberg Afterschool Development Centre, a partner organization of HOPE Cape Town in Manenberg.

Preparing for my next trip starting in 2 days to Europe I also have to see to the talks I will give, the PowerPoint I will design to bolster the words spoken and to give color and pictures supporting the imagination of those listening and interested to know more about the work of HOPE Cape Town. The longer I am in this sort of business to connect different worlds I realize how difficult it has become to bring one world to another and to make sure, words are understood in the sense they are intended.

Yes, we speak the same language, we use the same words, but the framework of thinking, the weight of education and upbringing, the scenarios of real life experience seems sometimes so far away from the life presented in a talk or workshop.
How to bring the despair of a family living under the poverty line to somebody who has never experienced hunger?
How to bring the cold and the wet of a Cape Town winter day in Blikkiesdorp into the warm German homes?
How to explain the plight of not knowing what the day will bring in the Cape Flats and who will lie shot death in the crossfire of the gangs later that day in the dark morgue of Cape Town?
How to balance the hopelessness of so many South Africans against the possibilities and the beauty of a country rich on resources but suffering under a corruption so obvious that it hurts – with no European logic left to explain that people don’t rise up and stop allowing the abuse of those capturing the state entities.

Blikkiesdorp – semi-permanent housing close to the airport

Besides the difficulties to bring the world of Africa to Europe – or even the USA – there is also the way to fund-raise a complete different one. Perception how to assist and help is different in Europe compared with Africa – and once again completely different in the USA. So whatever you do, one has to reflect and think clearly who are the people one wants to address and how to creep in their minds and hearts and connect the dots so far away from each other.

Being a small organization in Africa, but connected with two other continents is a constant challenge – times of pure charity for those in far away Africa as I have known in in my childhood are gone – and I guess this is good like it is.
Solidarity, love of the neighbor and the stranger as requested by most religions need in our days strangely lots of translation work – the global village has quite some gaps to fill to make the connection a solid and understandable one.

But be it as it is – the challenge is on for me for the next 4 weeks to bring Blikkiesdorp, Tygerberg Children’s Hospital and it’s people, family and kids and also those of our partners in Manenberg and Delft to all those who are willing to listen, to learn and to connect – in different ways, with different possibilities – but at the end as a blessing for all being touched by the work of HOPE Cape Town.

 

Munich – Presentation to the Wirtschaftsbeirat of Bavaria

Filed under: Africa, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Cape Town USA, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, South Africa, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Every day is a Mandela Day for HOPE Cape Town

Every day is a Mandela Day for HOPE Cape Town, but this day where we commemorate in practical terms Madiba is indeed a special day. We do good and mourn at the same time that corruption and mismanagement has stopped many developments in South Africa, which would have brought even more positive developments into the lives of those living at the margin of our society. It was great to see a real picture of Rainbow Nation activities during this day – have a look at the pictures – and go to our webpage www.hopecapetown.com or our FB page https://www.facebook.com/HopeCapeTownAssociationTrust/ to learn more about the great work of the organization, but also learn about the marvelous people who helped to make this day a very special one.

But Blikkiesdorp is also a tough environment – you don’t watch out and things are mysteriously disappearing – and it remains unknown whether it is driven by pure poverty and need or a lack of understanding between the words “mine” and “yours”. But being reminded that 5 star hotels telling you that nowhere more is stolen than in upmarket hotels by wealthy people I guess on Mandela Day one shouldn’t worry too much if more is distributed than planned. South Africa is in a very difficult situation right now and politicians and political leaders as well as business people are not really always example of honesty and decency. So I have decided just to overlook it for today and take pride and joy in what HOPE Cape Town has done today under the leadership of Marlene Whitehead and with the help of so many great people – thanks for making a difference and putting a smile on the faces of so many people. And the promise is as said in the beginning that we from HOPE Cape Town will continue to make every day a Mandela Day for the time to come.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Reflection, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , ,

Impressionen: HOPE Cape Town on Mandela Day in Blikkiesdorp

Filed under: Africa, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Society and living environment, South Africa, , , , , , , , , , ,

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

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

Ball of HOPE 2020

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