God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Brexit

BrexitAnother hit onto the South African economy with consequences not good for the country, but I wonder why people are so excited about the outcome. The EU is indeed in a “cul-de-sac” on many levels – a union, based on economic desires while ignoring social questions and ruled by politicians often parked at the EU by national governments not wanting to entertain them further in national politics. Adding to it an expansion to conquer the rests of the dissolved UdSSR and growing at a rate which is unhealthy –  and looking at the administration more than a challenge; disaster has now struck with the Brexit.
Great Britain, anyhow always a nation wanting to have everything on an extra plate related to EU matters has decided by popular vote to exit. Xenophobia and narrow national interests, political lies and the anxiety of the ordinary people not understanding or even grasping the complexity of the global village in our days – all this was and is a toxic environment for national referendums.
It has to be seen whether this not means the end of Great Britain as such – with Scotland and Northern Ireland going separate ways on a long-term run.
But: The sun has come up again the next day and once again it has been demonstrated that life is flowing – also political life and social life. Borders, nations, national feelings are bound to a certain point in history and nothing remains for eternity.

It has to be seen whether politicians wake up and realize that only looking for re-election without any vision – and the courage to go for such a vision – means the end of politics as we have known it. Add to it the flood of social media and permanent news coverage which changes the landscape of decision-making and social development substantially. We are entering a new era and it seems that human mankind is not prepared or ready for the challenges of a modern and multi leveled connected global village.
For us South Africans it remains a sort of consolation that politics not only in our country is becoming more and more an affair of irrationality and madness. What is worrying is the fact that at the end the ordinary citizen pays the bill for all this – and the vulnerable, the powerless, the poor are those suffering more while most of those in charge creating the chaos have secured their benefits long-term.
NGOMore injustice is the underlying consequence of political incompetency as we see it in Europe, but also here in South Africa as in Africa on a growing scale. This makes the work of grass-root projects so much more important – NGO’s assisting those losing out in the realities of today. And if you look at movement like St Egidio you might learn that maybe it will be such initiatives from the base of society which can bring the development needed for more peace and prosperity for all living on this planet. But one has not to look that far – any small NGO – where ever they are – counter and mitigate the gaps, politics is leaving behind in their struggle for power and influence. They are much needed in our days.

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

Bridge between grass root and sciences

Civil and state flag of Brandenburg.

Civil and state flag of Brandenburg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today HOPE Cape Town is graced by the visit of a delegation from Brandenburg in Germany. 55 delegates will come and hear about our work, but also the work, the University of Stellenbosch is doing. More and more we discover how important it is to connect sciences and grass root and create a synergy which is beneficial for both sides. Prof Erasmus, Prof Wolfgang Preiser and myself will present this afternoon and the accompanying minister will then visit the Ithemba Ward. So for HOPE Cape Town an exciting start into the week. Other developments are also to be reported: We welcome our new two doctors and with Izane Reyneke we also have now a program coordinator on board to oversee all our working arms, assess and streamline them. We also bid farewell to Prof Bernd Rosenkranz, who resigned from the Board of the HOPE Cape Town Association and thank him for all his good work, support and advice. It is always sad to let people go, but there is, as Kohelet in the bible already said, a time for everything in life. During the Ball of HOPE Monika Rosenkranz as well as Ryan and Dennis presented each their donation result about the support projects they had run till now for HOPE Cape Town. Also here a word of thanks for the creation of wonderful trappings with the mummies for hope and the hard work of running for HOPE. As one can see, there are so many ideas how to support the good cause and there is no limit to creativity in doing so.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Reflection, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Visitors to HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust

 

Today,  Mrs. Elke Ferner, Deputy Chair of the SPD party in the German parliament and Mrs. Evelyne Gebhard, member of the European Parliament will visit our project. Together with members of the diplomatic staff of the German Embassy and the German Consulate General we will visit a township clinic and observe one of our HOPE community health worker before heading to have a look at the community of Blikkiesdorp and our involvement there. Before going to lunch and answering all open question a visit to the Ithemba ward will round-up the visit.
For HOPE Cape Town Association and Trust it is always a pleasure to have members of various parliaments and to give insight for those in the political arena. It is important that decision maker are informed about what is going on on grass root level. European visitors learn about the health system of South Africa first hand and experience the achievements as well as the shortcomings of our local system. That helps to assist in the bilateral talks between in this case Germany and South Africa and shapes the decision-making process how best to assist this country.
Also in this sense HOPE Cape Town Association and Trust is like a bridge bringing together and in touch two worlds which are quite apart from each other looking at the health system. Germans living here in South Africa know how to appreciate the health insurance Germany is offering to them and not surprisingly a lot of people making their living now in South Africa remain members of their respective health insurance company based in Germany. It is to hope that South Africa one day is ready to install a similar system. According to government sources such a system is considered and somehow in the pipeline, even nobody knows what it will cost to implement it.

Besides that the visitors will learn to know the variety of portfolios HOPE Cape Town Association and Trust is involved in: from grass root level to academic research.

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

03.September 2009 feeling humbled

The last two days were amazing days – so many emails, phone calls, text messages – I even did not know that so many people are following my “case” and were waiting after the cancellation of contract through the German Bishops Conference what will happen to me. Most seemed to have bid, that I will go back to Germany – others thought I will leave the church. Well, both thoughts were quite  real – real threats to my life, but thanks heaven a somehow happy end has been found.
Receiving all this positive messages, I feel indeed humbled and realise once again, what expectations people have. I personally never felt that I am doing something extraordinary but simply what was waiting along my way I picked up – and I had from the start marvellous people assisting in creating HOPE Cape Town. Living in South Africa creates other possibilities as somebody would have in Germany. But I believe that everybody has a chance to pick up a challenge along his way on earth and in doing so, change the course of this world and to assist and help people in need.

I am also a bit scared seeing the expectations of the HOPE Cape Town “family”. HOPE Cape Town is in the phase of restructuring because our possibilities and opportunities have grown so fast and big, that we have to look how to cope with all the workload. So we will add myself and a PA, a personal assistant to join HOPE Cape Town. Grass root work and research are at the ends of our working spectrum, and in between is quite a range of portfolios in need to be covered. Thanks God for the recent addition of Saadeka Williams as a full time HOPE doctor.

Also the Catholic Aids Network is in development. We had a meeting this morning as CAN has now to be registered as a NPO and PBO in South Africa in its own rights. So we met with a lawyer who is willing to do “pro bono” work and assist in getting the constitution right and the applications on the way.

With POZ, the working arm of HOPE Cape Town together with the Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Cape Town, providing pastoral care for priests, religious and seminarians who are living with the HI virus, there is a whole new area where we have to gain expertise. Today we fixed also our meeting with the secretary of the Papal Council for health care worker in Rome; on the 18.10. we will have a meeting with the Bishop to discuss amongst other topics a possible working relationship in this field. I am very curious to see how they react in the Vatican for such a request of official support. But with or without the support, we have to face realities and we have to tackle them head on. Doing so we are also forced to look into our theology and develop our teaching accordingly. It is indeed a tricky field – but on the other hand: only tricky fields are a real challenge… 🙂

Well, it is time to go to bed – it is 2:46 am in the morning and at 6am a new working day is beginning.

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Reflection, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

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

Ball of HOPE 2019

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 18th, 2019

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