God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

25.01.2010 Golf Day

Today is a Golf Day in lieu of HOPE Cape Town, tomorrow the horse auction at the Milnerton Town Hall. It is amazing to see what people can do to support a good cause. Brian Sharkey and the Men’s Society of the Milnerton/Brooklyn Catholic Church are indeed busy to support HOPE Cape Town and they are doing in now since years. It is always good to be with them in the beginning of a new year and to experience the goodness of people. HOPE Cape Town is very grateful for these local supporters – and that is a focal point of fundraising also for this year: to expand the circle of sponsors and friends of HOPE Cape Town in South Africa. People living here should own their country and they should work hard to make their very own country a better place. Judging from experience it is not often the case. Very often it is easy to support those who are living far away- but to forget the nightmares in front of the own door. I guess it is an international phenomenon. The Men’s Society shows that it is good and worthwhile to look not too far for a moment but to see the needs around the corner of the parish boundaries. I am grateful to know all these people. Well done and all success for today and tomorrow.

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

22.01.2010 A long day

…draws to an end, beginning at 6 in the morning and ending now after midnight. The last 48 hours have been amazingly divers and interesting. I did not know that I brought so much energy with me from my holidays. Resting a lot seems to have helped to recover and gain the energy needed to tackle the first days after coming back.

A great eve with people from Switzerland ended this evening, good talks, nice food. lovely company. It simply felt good again – sitting outside after the meal and chatting a bit the night away. I once again realised how privileged I am to live and work in South Africa. And I also realised how much people expect from me and how much challenge is still lying ahead. That is enough realisation for one day.

Next week are two major fundraising events for HOPE Cape Town – the Golf tournament at Pearl Valley Golf Estates on Monday and on Tuesday the Horse Auction from the Catholic Men’s Society Milnerton/Brooklyn – at 7pm Milnerton Town Hall. If you have time come and join the crowd, bid on a horse, win and do good at the same time.

And don’t forget to circle in your calendar the 22.5. 2010 – Ball of HOPE – together with the Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Westin Grand Hotel.

And many more exciting events to come. Watch the space.

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

11.10.2009 Diversity and in between

This weekend is the first weekend as a priest without a fix community and I supplied mass in Milnerton and Brooklyn. As I know Milnerton a longer time, it was a good experience, also seeing people again who I had not seen for a longer time. It has been as a chaplain always good to keep in touch with the “South African way” of saying Mass. What stroke me most today was the diversity of the Brooklyn parish – and how many kids attended the service. The church was full, the singing more “African” with clapping. Generally the diversity and the way of being relaxed is in both communities remarkable.

One has still the feeling of belonging to a big family when attending such a service, it is a feeling I still know from the good old days in Germany. As it is in often in South Africa, the mix of modern and old fashioned is fascinating, beamers bring the hymns to the screen, but the mobilar is still from “annodazumal” as the Germans would say. Writing this it reminds me of the meetings with the sangomas, where during rituals suddenly cellphone are ringing: pearls, feathers and bones are no obstacles to embrace new cellphone technology.

I think that this mix of diversity combined with old traditions and new technology carries the fascination of this country and its people – and it adds to the confusion of the visitor and guest: South Africa is still a developing country but also a modern country, it is a country in between. And the same goes for the church of South Africa – it is between the old and known and the new and unknown. Especially the Catholic Church, which was during apartheid times rather a suspicious group, had to jump quite fast to catch up after the end of apartheid.

A fascinating field to work in as a priest between the old and the new world.. in transition..

Filed under: Reflection, , , , , , , ,

17.09.2009 School anniversary in Brooklyn

Yesterday evening I was invited to join a performance of students of the Holy Cross Primary School in Brooklyn near Cape Town – and as every year, it was marvellous to see how the first till seven grader performed and transformed a school hall into a studio, a landing on the moon, a school class 50 years ago and much more, all done with lots of music, singing and dancing. Seeing in the clear eyes of most of these youngsters one wonders while watching the performance how they will do in life. What will they achieve after leaving school? What future is for them in this wonderful paradise called South Africa, where the beauty and the beast are always in reach. Where world icons like Nelson Mandela live side by side by with people killing each other on a daily base for a cigarette, some Nike shoes or a handful of Rand.  Where the triumph of mind over 27 years of imprisonment meets the downfall of millions who cannot make a living for themselves still in our days and rely more or less on a handout of the government, too little to live, too much to die…

What kind of dreams, of hopes I had when I was in that age? I cannot remember exactly but I surely had not the worries and sorrows of everyday struggle these kids endure sometimes on a daily base. This from Holy Cross Sisters lead school is like an island of hope: a beacon of assurance that there is a way forward in this new South Africa. We can not honour enough those teachers and educators, be it in this particular school or all over the country who try their very best to give those kids a chance in life in giving them a base of knowledge. And yes, knowledge is part of development, is part of being able to be self-determined as an adult and to be able to contribute towards society and the community they live in.

But Brooklyn Holy Cross Primary School is for me also travel back in time, the school is a sort of deja-vu of my own school time – the way of teaching, of discipline … it all reminds me on my good old school days somehow ages ago.
In May I attended the 30th anniversary of my own “Abitur” and I it was amazing to see all those faces again I left in 1979 when starting to study theology and philosophy. How most of them had changed but still: again the deja-vu of behaviour patterns – not everything changed really.

I went home after the performance with joy in my heart having seen another generation hopefully being able to do better as we have done, being more wise in using our resources, caring more about nature and the ecology, avoiding meaningless wars and battles and.. and .. and.. And in my heart I also know that it will be most probably not the case. Is the world really going only in circles? Is every generation hoping that the next does not make the same mistakes? Like every parent is hoping to provide a better future for their own kids?

I am not sure, but nobody can take away the joy this eve seeing those kids having a fun of a lifetime while performing, parents to be proud of their kids, nobody can take away two hours of just being content with the world, the people around me and myself. That is more than I hoped for. Thanks to all students and teachers of this school.

Filed under: Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

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