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Missionary Sister shows God’s love to Namibia’s poorest

Sister Ingrid Oletti keeps going.  Day after day, she makes the rounds in Katatura — a city in Namibia whose name means “the place where nobody wants to go.”

Sister visits the poor in Katurura

                  Sister visits the poor in Katurura

The German Missionary had served in the south of this African country, as a teacher, before coming to Katatura, a city just north of the nation’s capital of Windhoek.  Here the “upper class” live in tin huts, banged together from old, rusty barrels, car bodies and colorful advertising signs.  Others sleep under plastic bags, while their children live in scrapped cars. 

This day, Sister Ingrid steers her white car over roads without signs, searching for a woman who visited her at the St. Vincent de Paul Center earlier that morning.  She finds Naomi in a small windowless corrugated iron shack that actually belongs to her sister and brother-in-law, and their two children.  Naomi and her own four children sleep on the dirt-and-rock floor.  There is no light, no water, no furniture — and no protection against the bitterly cold African nights.

Sister Ingrid talks with Naomi, discovering that the family often goes days without food.  It is a common story, one this Missionary has heard many times before — but her attentiveness and loving concern make Naomi feel that this is the first time her new friend, Sister Ingrid, has listened to such a sorrowful tale.  Sister Ingrid promises Naomi food for her and her family, and teaches her to make fried-cake.  The Center will provide Naomi all the ingredients to make fried-cakes; Naomi can then sell the cakes, buy ingredients to make more — and have additional money to purchase food for her family.