God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Enjoy the flight

Ticket for the first leg of the trip

Ticket for the first leg of the trip

Flying seems to trigger all kind of emotions and it seems that there is always an expectation to like jumping on a plane and going somewhere far away. But I guess  growing older one realizes more and more that the best place to stay is home 🙂 and that learning to know the world can make life sometimes more complicated. Why? Well, because traveling opens mind and heart to possibilities and develops views not seen by those staying home all the time.  Travel broadens the mind and the choices one have in life – and can be perceived as threats by others. But the perceived danger of terrorism and the break down of civil rights, once hard-fought for to achieve them, makes traveling across borders more and more a pain in the neck then a pleasantry. Nevertheless it is necessary and so I try to enjoy my flights which brings me again to people I never have seen before, but they are connected either by my faith or by the HOPE Cape Town project. And I surely will come back enriched and with new friends and acquaintances and hopefully more dedicated supporters and sponsors for HOPE Cape Town.

 

Sam Tuntubele - Vice Chair of HOPE Cape Town Trust arrives in Frankfurt

Sam Tuntubele – Vice Chair of HOPE Cape Town Trust arrives in Frankfurt

Even in the days of SKYPE and other tools, the personal contact remains the most important tool to introduce my work to other people. Talks, workshops and various encounters are bringing together the different worlds we are living in and try to create an understanding of each other. And this is by no means a one way road. Not only I want to secure support for the project, but also those working for the project here locally should understand the people feeling connected even thousands of km away. Two years ago, Pauline, our outreach officer was even able to visit Dresden on the occasion of the HOPE Gala – and last year our trustee Sam Tuntubele was part of this very same HOPE Gala in Dresden. So it is not only me, but there will be more ambassadors on both sides trying to bridge the gap between our worlds. And yes, this thought of bringing people together to join the good cause, that makes the time of traveling enjoyable, despite all the hassles of cramped planes, crowded airports, unfriendly custom staff and all the dressing and undressing for security reasons..

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

Lucky I

End of the year is always a time to look back on one’s life, achievements and failures and the big question is whether with age also some more wisdom came to the surface.
Everybody must do this review for himself – for me, looking back I can only say: Lucky I or better I was blessed.
It was a tough year but I am still alive, lots of failures during the year, but I am still standing on two feet and feel growth, lots of great moments and still hungry for life, lots of love and I am very grateful for this.

The small moments made this year so valuable, the intimate moments with friends sharing life in a way one normally would not trust to do. The duties and services done and being able to touch the lives of other people. The sermons being not a one way road but begin of a meaningful discussion. HOPE Cape Town with all the great people working for and with the organization – even if there were tough moments to find a way forward serving those infected and affected by the pandemic. My contacts with sponsors and donors in South Africa and Germany, the HOPE Gala in Dresden, the Ball of HOPE in Cape Town and the invite to join the German AIDS Foundation in Berlin for the Festliche AIDS Gala.

Being able to speak to students, address groups, NGO’s , church communities and other entities – be it on land or on a cruise ship – it all made my life much more lively and beautiful. Meeting delegations, politicians, students, tourists – all interested in the work we are doing here in Cape Town – how good it is always being challenged by good questions and the interest in knowing it all.

Well, so at the end of the year I feel blessed with all the family, friends, supporters and even those struggling with me as they are needed to keep the boat of life going in the right direction. Thanks for all the good and the challenges and I am looking forward to a great 2013 with lots of all shades life has to offer. Knowing that at the end all comes together in what we Christians are calling God and who is named differently depending on each believe system – I am not afraid of what lies ahead.

How about u?

 

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association, Networking, Reflection, , , , , , , , ,

Moments in between…

“How was the holiday?” – a lot of people ask when I am returning home after weeks of being overseas. And even if I nicely tell them that traveling for me means work, it seems that I cannot get through.  They have read also about the HOPE Gala Dresden, the jet-set and glamor, they know that I meet stars, starlets and politicians.. and somehow that translates into “fun under the sun”.

It is difficult to explain, that HOPE Cape Town only runs it’s business when people are donating money and that there must be that link between those who have and those who have not. It seems impossible to relate that waking up every second night in a different hotel room, meeting different people all day and most evening along can drain the last drop of energy out of your body.

That said, of course, there is the fun part, the parties, the laughter, the ease of life which hopeful at a point translates into support for HOPE Cape Town as well. But there is more to this travel once in a while.

There is the very brief visit to a person whom I meet in her home. Lying in bed, she is waiting to die. Cancer – last stage – within months the future crumbled to weeks without the possibility to move around. It’s intense, the talk about, what might lie behind the door of death, the curiosity and the fright. It is intense, recalling memories of her husband, who died 21 years ago and taught me lessons in life I will never forget. And I will also not forget his habit to take out a book or a newspaper starting reading when the sermon on a Sunday morning was not up to standard. Laughter and tears, farewell bitter-sweet. There is family, there are the parents who clearly getting older and where I can sense that the light of life is slowly burning down for one of them. Every short brief visit when in Europe might be the last farewell. There are friends, popping in when possible and I am traveling in their neighborhood who want to talk, to re-connect, sometimes just tell their stories, hear advice because somebody coming from far away might have another view on their life situations.

Sometimes, when I close finally my door behind me in a hotel and recall the days events and encounters, I feel so humbled and small in a way, so inadequate to fulfill all the expectations of those who are now going their way again. But on the other hand it is also a blessing to be part of a network of people which now stretches to almost all continents. And it feels good when it peeps and my cellphone presents me with a sms telling me, that my friends in New Jersey are safe after “Sandy”, the devastating storm.

Now sitting at the airport (again) waiting for my next flight to Vienna I am wondering what I will encounter there in the parish where I am invited to preach, to say Mass and to give a talk about HOPE Cape Town and the work we are doing. How I got to that assignment?

Well, it happened in Durban last year when I was asked to say mass and one parishioner had guests from Austria…

Filed under: Catholic Church, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Arrival in Dresden

2010 Hope Gala 2

2010 Hope Gala 2 (Photo credit: pennstatelive)

After visiting my old school in Bitburg and talking to virtually hundreds of students a whole morning and a visit to my bishop in Trier we arrived in Dresden early this morning. It it so good to meet old friends again but there was little time for private talk as the HOPE Gala Dresden press conference was due. Great to see so many journalists and TV stations – young students of art had worked on two rhinos which can move by manpower, representatives of the various sponsors had their say why they support the HOPE Gala and I was asked to give a brief presentation on the work of HOPE Cape Town. I admit that the presentation was longer than planed but at the end all agreed that it was good to be reminded of the cause and its work done in South Africa. The new Kuratorium Deutschland of the HOPE Cape Town Trust was introduced by its new chairperson, Michael von Zitzewitz. So the network of supports is extended to include more parts of Germany. The new support group will meet tomorrow evening for their first official gathering and planing for the year ahead. Congratulations to Viola and Micki and Par X and all those working so hard to make it happen. And the first good news is in: We are sold out: the 800 tickets are gone.. Wow..

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Preparing for Europe

south africa

south africa (Photo credit: rafiq s)

 

 

As always this time of the year I am preparing to leave Cape Town and fly to Germany for an extended period of time. For four weeks I will travel to and between Munich, Frankfurt, Dresden, Berlin, Trier, but also Vienna and London and other cities. It is a very hectic schedule, but I try to bundle as much as possible into my agenda to make the long flight worthwhile and to use the time as efficient as possible. The HOPE Gala in Dresden will be the highlight of the trip, followed by the Festive AIDS Gala in Berlin. But besides all glamor the trip is about HOPE Cape Town and about people. It is also about being an ambassador for the situation in South Africa. We are going through a tough time here in country – mine strikes, burning trucks, strikers killing people who want to work; all the news about violence and intimidation is surely not good news and paints a rather grim picture of South African society. In fights within the ANC, the ruling party, but also corruption, wildcat strikes, violence, high unemployment and the lack of political leadership brings the country to the brink of chaos and unlawfulness. It feels a bit like the wild west when watching the news. But as always there are also rays of hope and a great potential. All this makes it even more important that the relationship between South Africa and European countries is strong and based on honest and correct information, which in return fosters the means to support the new South Africa in a beneficial way. I hope that my travel contributes not only to the well-being to HOPE Cape Town Association& Trust but also gives a bit towards a better future for this beloved country.

 

 

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

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15th HOPE Gala Dresden

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