Exclusively non-natives, there are 4,000 or so Catholic Christians among the population of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, a country in northwest Africa which is otherwise almost 100% Muslim. Serving this small congregation in the country’s only diocese is a bishop, priests and religious Sisters who come from 20 different countries of Europe, Asia and Africa.
The 27 religious Sisters living here have their hands full. Working in one of the poorest countries in the world, they care for expectant mothers, the sick, migrants, prisoners and the handicapped. They work in the schools and other educational facilities and teach the women, who have no opportunity to attend school, practical skills such as sewing, as well as reading and writing. On top of this, they care for many undernourished and malnourished children, of whom there are some 40,000 in the capital, Nouakchott, alone.
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Mark Riedemann interviews Bishop Ndi Okalla, from the Diocese of Mbalmayo, Cameroon. He shares his vision of hope about the African continent. Why it was called by Pope Benedict XVI a “spiritual lung for humanity.”
The contribution of the Church in education around the continent is indispensable to the development of most of these countries. Bishop Mbainayo emphasizes the importance of education to stop proliferation of radical islamization in the continent.