God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

In between…

During the visit of Bishop Stephan Ackermann (Trier/Germany) in Cape Town we also have had a meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu to discuss the situation in South Africa, especially the question of violence.

Meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Filed under: Catholic Church, Networking, Politics and Society, , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , ,

Meetings and preparations… – HOPE Cape Town in action…

Friday, 12. August – Full board of trustee meeting in the afternoon. The process of restructuring of HOPE Cape Town is continuing. Now, 5 years into the existence of the HOPE Cape Town Trust, the envisaged future which led to the founding of the trust kicks finally in. The trust is assuming more and more the function it was thought for: looking after the association’s money and to ensure the financial stability and future of HOPE Cape Town Association. It is great to see that what you have dreamt of years ago suddenly comes into reality. So decisions have to be made to make the synchronise trust and association in a way beneficial for the work and people we care for. Exciting times but with two additional trustees duly elected and an expansion of the advisory board the work will bear the necessary fruits.
This week the board of the association is meeting, time is running for the welcome of the first ever director for HOPE Cape Town. This year, the 10th anniversary of the association sees hard work to put into place everything for the well-being of the organisation for the next years to come. It shows also how dedicated the board members are trying to achieve the best possible for the future of our work.

In October, the custom Germany trip is due again and preparations are also on the way for talks, encounters, workshops and all the rest ahead. Frankfurt, Munich, Aachen, Trier, Berlin, Dresden, Koblenz and maybe Hamburg are in the moment on the map, logistic is sometimes difficult, but at the end it will all come together to promote HOPE Cape Town again in Germany.

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

26.10.2010 Motorway A48 or who am I?

Tuesday morning on the A 48 – it is foggy in the Rhine valley and driving along the A 48 direction Trier it is a ride which reminds me on the life journey: Valleys full of mist and no view alternate with higher points of blue sky and sun – crispy looking colourful  leaves on the trees signaling the change of seasons. It reminds me our journey of life, where dark, misty valleys take turns with sunny chapters full of laughter and joy; coming and going with sometimes a surprising speed and completely unexpected after the next bend.

And while contemplating this change of views I ask myself: With all the turns in life, who am I? Always when I travel, I have to fill so many different roles: Whenever I am coming  home, I am automatically “child” again, son of my parents, brother to my sister. Meeting people while giving talks or workshops, I am an aids activist, or a priest on the left side of church spectrum, a fighter in the fields of HIV and AIDS for some, a fallen priest later rotting in hell for the right wing spectrum of Catholicism. I am a typical German for many South Africans – and a much too adopted South African for many Germans.
Who am I? What role of all these mentioned is the real Stefan? Or am I the person I see in my realities, the person, I see when I see myself in the mirror? Would those who praise or condemn me would do so, when they could bring all the pieces together, which makes me the person I experience day for day and week for week? Where do I put all the things happening in my deepest inner, all my dreams, desires, weaknesses, hopes and sorrows?
Sometimes I am not sure; but what I am sure about is that all who judge a person are terribly wrong because they only judge parts of someone and mix this up thinking it is the whole person. I know from myself that it is a life long journey to discover one self  – so those who think they know it all about somebody else judge only themselves..

Amazing, how thoughts are floating to my mind while driving down the A 48 from Koblenz to Trier – more than enough food for thoughts to contemplate life and the person living it….

Filed under: Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , ,

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