God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

AIDS as disturbance of creation?

English: Freddie Mercury in New Haven, CT at a...

 Mercury in New Haven, CT at a WPLR Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Relaxing a bit after the Berlin Gala, I watch with interest a TV production about 40 years of the rock band “Queen”. Central to the story is obviously the life and death of Freddie Mercury – singer and song writer of the band.  The life of a genius musician cut short through the HI virus. And there is the sudden realization, how much HIV and AIDS has robbed human mankind of the development of art and culture. As St. Paul writes about creation still ongoing, there is surely to consider that HIV might have disturbed creation in cutting down the potential in human beings to become in a lifetime what they were supposed to be. Or is the HIV pandemic part of creation, part of it laying still in labor?
As God and creation are connected, it makes more sense to talk about the body of Christ having AIDS, being in pain and suffering. And even if in Europe HIV is not that much connected to suffering, death and dying any more – worldwide millions of lives are cut short by this virus. The suffering, the stigma, the discrimination continues despite all successes in treatment. And theological, there is still so much more to learn and develop and put into our teaching than we have done before. The climate within my church has changed – at least it is allowed again to think without fear – it would be great to use this time of spring to see, what else HIV and AIDS can tell our theology.

 

 

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, HIV and AIDS, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This story shows that Africa is moving sometimes in the right direction. And it is good news for those working in the fields of HIV, AIDS and human rights.

 

Plain Talk Book Marketing

Congratulations Swaziland, for your courage in banning a tradition that has been in your culture for centuries. Now the real challenge begins… enforcing the law.

The marriage of an adult man to an underage girl is known as kwendizisa in Siswati.

Swazi pic“Swazi men marrying girls once the girls enter puberty is not a customary law. It is not mandatory. It is tolerated because it has always been done. But times are changing, and Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world. This practice has added to the spread of HIV. It is a great victory for public health and for the rights of girl children that this outmoded practice must now end,” AIDS activist Sandra Kunene told IRIN/PlusNews.

Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku announced the government’s intention to enforce the Child Protection and Welfare Act by prosecuting men who marry underage girls.

Sexual activity with underage girls…

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Filed under: HIV and AIDS, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Culture and language

Township Blue

Township Blue (Photo credit: Joseph A Ferris III)

Traveling through some European countries again I sometimes reflect on the distances between people’s understanding and imagination. Townships and life conditions of most South Africans are known to many in Germany only via TV, a view protected by glass and the possibility to switch it off when it comes to close. How does one bring the real colors, the smell, the atmosphere from one continent to the other?

Also the question of realities and how I name them is different and having the same vocabulary does not mean to understand each other. This is true when talking about people from different life environments, but even within my own circles I often experience that words can have so many different meanings and create so many different associations. What very often irritates me is that words are connected with judgement, with “good or bad” feelings, with “white or black” . The older I get the more I get irritated when descriptions are perceived as judgements and how often people take things much more personal than they are meant to be.

I guess, this all is important to reflect when traveling the world to bring people together and let them join hands, who are far away and maybe even never meet, but hear about each other. But this also important to reflect when working in international teams where people from different cultures and languages are working together. Also HOPE Cape Town has this kind of challenges, bringing together different South African cultures and adding the European spice. Quite a mixture, but I believe in diversity and I am sure that this challenge is also an asset because it forces us again and again to listen to each other and to learn from each other. A lifelong and never-ending learning curve – and at the same time a motor for development into the future.

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

The burden of travelling

Most people like traveling and I have to admit, most times I also like traveling too. The airport controls can be unnerving – but having no cell and no internet for a couple of hours is relaxing – well it seems that it is all coming back into the cabin of new airplanes. Traveling brings you in touch with other traditions and cultures, simply with other realities which might sometimes be strange, sometimes funny, but always good to know. And here the burden starts: Who at home to share the new knowledge and experience with? How to implement it into daily life? Does really anybody in the closer vicinity wants to know how things have changed for you? Does it really fit into the settings you are living in? And when it comes to my church – it is even worse as the word “relativism” is very quick used to bring downfall to different perspectives and their approaches. How much do I wish sometimes that all people could share in the diversity of the world and yes, how relative the way is, we are living in our small little world and that there as so many alternatives which have the same value than our solutions and habits..  Sometimes it is a burden to think broad and diverse…

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

15.09.2009 15 days to go…

15 days still to go until I will commence my challenge – and after a weekend full of farewell celebrations the daily routine kicks in and I try to focus on finalizing stuff and at the same time preparing for the new portfolio. Now is an interesting time, still in the old job, but already with your thoughts starting to get used to the new one. Amazing 0r schizophrenia? 🙂

I am starting really to look forward to the new challenge, I compile already a list of what I wish to achieve in the first 6 months and preparing for my first overseas trip to Berlin, Wolfsburg, Munich, Berlin, Aachen, Frankfurt and Bitburg in the second half of October. After one year of not being able to plan it is a big relief for me exactly being able to do that. I normally only function well if I have a plan and I can set goals for myself what I want to achieve – and I do this normally for one year ahead.  In my work I am very goal orientated, ask my colleagues – for them it is sometimes very scary. Also that I try to think big – I firmly believe that only thinking big and maybe sometimes even that what seems to be impossible is the only way to achieve the maximum.

And I like to network, to exchange experience; but this seems to be very difficult here in South Africa between NGO’s.  It look to me, that there is no culture of trust but mistrust – everybody has fear to lose out a feather or a sponsor. On the other hand I have seen NGO’s  which in my opinion simply abusing an open hand and mind to gain benefits only for themselves. So at the end mostly either a wall of silence or abuse – such a pity. I am convinced that there is so much to do in this world and also in South Africa that we can join hands and cooperate in an honest way. Wishful thinking? I hope not…

Filed under: Reflection, Uncategorized, , ,

13th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 27th, 2018
more info www.hopegala.de and admin@hopecapetown.com

Ball of HOPE 2018

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 12th, 2018

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