God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Reflection on a trip to Europe

2 weeks of promoting HOPE Cape Town are coming to an end and I am sitting at Frankfurt airport waiting for my flight back home to South Africa. Time was flying as usual and sitting here and waiting gives some time to reflect on all what was happening in the last 14 days.
Faces of students are crossing my mind whom I met while giving a talk in one of the more rural schools in the northern part of Germany. People, who have never seen a HIV positive person were subjected to a talk about the danger of HIV. And not only that: how to bring the South African reality of crime, corruption and toi-toi to those who never experienced anything else than the orderly running of day-to-day life. Filling the gap, this is what HOPE Cape Town is doing in the fields of HIV and AIDS when it comes to government involvement, filling the gaps applies also when bridging the well-protected realities of a student attending school in rural Germany and those living in Manenberg or Wallecedene.
Press conference in Dresden in preparation of the HOPE Gala – another crowd of people, journalists, wanting to know the progress of HOPE Cape Town’s work in the Western Cape and how money is spend in a responsible way. Pre-recording for a German radio broadcaster – HOPE Cape Town’s story and some private talk included – the moderator wants to know the person behind the project including the seemingly ever hot topic of church and HIV and the famous “c” question…Bridging worlds means also knowing different people – a wedding in France was another highlight on this trip to Europe – diving into the world of stars and VIP’s and playing a small little role in the romance of two people. It’s more on the private side but also serves some networking for HOPE Cape Town on a very different scale.
So from the small town student to the previous chancellor of Germany – the scale of people I met was quite amazing and so have been the interactions and chats in between. Being able to touch the lives of so different people in so many different ways – this is the beauty and the blessing of the work, I am allowed to do. And so remains gratefulness as the essence of the reflection I was able to do before Cape Town and HOPE Cape Town and all the others waiting for me demand again all my time and energy. Life is good.

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

22.10.2009 Berlin ice-cold…

It is freezing cold when I arrive in Berlin, thanks the “Deutsche Bundesbahn” with a delay. A Korean taxi driver with a typical “Berlin accent” is driving me to the hotel, through all the construction sides – I feel like Cape Town or Johannesburg…

A first “hello” at the hotel by a friend of mine who happens to be the HR manager of this hotel. In the afternoon then a first meeting with an employee of the German Bundestag. I know her since a long time and we have to catch up a lot as we have not seen us for a while. But also we explore possibilities how to engage with the new government, specially in the health sector and I am confident that I am able to meet the right people next time I am in Berlin.

A talk with a representative of the Lutheran Chuch in the representation of the EKD for the German Government  – also here a briefing and some discussions on future cooperation in some fields.  Back to the hotel and then meeting a journalist: preparation for a trip to Cape Town, a visit to HOPE Cape Town and a report for radio about our work.

This evening I will meet a MP for dinner – also here it will be an exchange of ideas and possible cooperation. But at the same time I can say that all people I met today are people I know since a longer time. There is trust and the will to assist – and after such long time, there is this feeling of a growing friendship, which I appreciate a lot. One knows each other, one trusts each other – a fine way of working together in an appreciative surrounding.

It will be late before I will be back at the hotel, a short night, as I have a breakfast meeting tomorrow morning with some people – again planing on quite a substantive level to bridge the realities of South Africa with Germany, but even more:  to bridge realities on several continents, amongst them one reality,in which more than 30 mil people can tell a separate tale, where thousands of people are called to higher services every day and end their life premature, where hope and future are theoretical terms with no real value.

Last but not least: a feedback from Rome and the papal council shows me that our visit at the beginning of the week was appreciated.

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

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