10 FEATURE Friday, August 18 2017 | NEW ERA Sister Sebastian: the ‘Mother Theresa of Nyangana’ Alvine Kapitako Nyangana shippers use to count the prayers. A rosary prayer is a set of prayers common in the Roman Catholic Church, said during meditation on events in the lives of Jesus and of Mary, the mother of Jesus. As a devout Catholic, Sebastian spoke of encounters where she had to encourage patients and villagers to consider being baptised in order to receive eternal life. “As Catholics we believe that a person has to be baptised to receive eternal life. So, if I see a very sick person and I know they won’t make it I encourage them to be baptised,” she says. She also added that: “If I see an old person (patient) who is very sick I get in touch with the family to ask their permission to baptise them if they are not baptised and for them to receive the sacrament,” she says, referring to the last rites. The last rites refer to the sacraments Catholics receive at the end of their lives, especially confession, Holy Communion and the anointing of the sick, as well as the prayers that accompany them. Through her interaction with the villagers, Sebastian has developed special bonds with the people she serves in the villages. Also, spending time with them has impressed on her to value her time while working, and to assist as many patients as possible. “When patients come and wait for long I am not happy, because I know that if they miss their transport to go back they would be stranded or struggle to get back home,” she said. She has thus made a point of it to assist those patients from far villages. She said she feels “so much pain” if her patients experience delays at the hospital. Her love for people has had an impact in the community and she feels that her efforts are appreciated. “The homba (chief) here supports us very well. He likes us working here,” she says. Sebastian does not work Photos: Contributed Sister Lovely Sebastian with other Catholic nuns at Döbra situated some 17 kilometres outside Windhoek. Sister Lovely Sebastian during a recent interview with New Era in Nyangana. For 13 years, Sister Lovely Sebastian, a Catholic nun originally from Kerala, India has worked with sick patients at Nyangana Catholic Hospital. Sister Sebastian, a registered nurse and midwife by profession, has been the matron of the hospital since 2013. Before that, she worked as a full-time nurse, often extending her services to villagers in Nyangana district, situated some 100 kilometres east of Rundu. Sebastian, who worked in Nyangana for most part of her career came to Namibia in 2000 as a nun and nurse, not knowing what awaited her. All she knew was that she wanted to serve humanity, just as Mother Theresa of Calcutta, her role model. The formative years of her life were influenced by the works of the late Mother Theresa of Calcutta, as well as the Catholic nuns at the primary school she attended. “From childhood, I wanted to become a religious sister. My role model was Mother Theresa and my desire was to work with the poor,” she told New Era recently from the comfort of her office at Nyangana Catholic Hospital. At the age of 18, in 1995 Sebastian became a nun in India. Not long after that she pursued nursing studies and became a nurse in 1998. Today, even though her siblings are married, the 43-year-old Sister Sebastian does not regret the path she chose. This is because she finds fulfillment and purpose in reaching out to the sick and less fortunate of society, she says. She has traveled the length and breadth of Nyangana district, as well as its surrounding areas, to preach the Gospel, encouraging people to become the best versions of themselves and pray with the sick and the suffering. “I know Nyangana district very well. Whenever I get off duty I would visit the people in the villages. I would pray with patients the rosary,” said Sebastian. A rosary refers to the string of beads that worin isolation. Apart from the other Catholic nuns with whom she works to reach out to communities, she has headed Nyangana Catholic Hospital as its matron since 2013. “I know very well that God is leading us. I remain with my call. It’s not really easy,” she said of her role as the matron. Even though she has an important task of ensuring the smooth running of the hospital, Sister Sebastian sometimes makes time for herself by visiting people in their villages. “My heart is with the patients; when they are sick I encourage them to go to church. I encourage young people [to realise] the importance of education and as a congregation we try to assist the very poor people from the villages,” she says. ‘I believe in prayer’ “The prayer atmosphere in the hospital has contributed to its overall success,” she believes. Just recently, the hospital reached a 94.4 percent milestone in terms of babies born HIV negative, despite being exposed to the virus due to their mothers’ positive status. “If you really want to care for the sick, you must be prayerful. I encourage the nurses to pray to have compassion for the sick. Even if they are not Catholic, I encourage them to pray,” she said. Yet, being a nun comes with its share of challenges, she admits indirectly. To cleanse herself, to remain focused, strong and pious, Sebastian attends Holy Mass (church service) daily. “As human beings, we are here to give the compassionate love of God to the people. Challenges and difficulties come, but it never puts me down because of the compassionate love of God,” she said, responding to a question on how she deals with challenges. ‘This is home’ Having lived in Nyangana since 2000, Sebastian does not consider herself a resident of India anymore. “I feel this is my home, because I get to meet my people (family) only on holidays, which is usually once a year or once in two years,” adds Sebastian, revealing that she has eight sisters and one brother. Her mother is also still alive, she further notes. “I was born an enthusiastic person and when I’m out of India, I don’t look for the Indian way of life,” she says, explaining that as a nun she has been prepared to live in such a way to fulfill her call. “I was really very happy to see this area. Yes, there are some differences, but there are also similarities,” she says. Talking about cultural shocks she experienced, although they were not many, Sebastian said: “I didn’t feel like I’m in an African country. Where I come from people work hard to sustain themselves. We stay in a family set-up. But here, many of the children don’t have both parents. So, it was really shocking to see that is the case.” For now, she is happy at Nyangana. “If I feel I’m tired I can say (tell the church authorities) and I might be posted to a different area,” she remarked.
Friday, August 18 2017| NEW ERA 11 Julius Indongo: Time to set talking aside This is an abridged transcript of an interview that Namibian boxing Champion Julius Indongo conducted in Omaha, Nebraska, this week ahead of his unification fight against America’s Terence Crawford this weekend. TODD duBOEF: It is going to be an exciting night on Saturday. This will be our third event going live on ESPN and what a way to start with Pacquiao, Lomachenko and now the title unification of Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo. We are going to be in Lincoln, Nebraska this time as Lady Gaga is in Omaha. We are looking forward to Lincoln, as that’s where the Cornhuskers are. This is an incredible thing to be able to do. A lot of time people talk about seeing good fights – guys fight guys that are accomplished – then there’s other guys that want the challenges. NESTOR TOBIAS: We are really excited. Julius has trained very hard for this fight. He is very focused and very comfortable in Omaha. We spent some time before we came to Omaha training at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club. JULIUS INDONGO: Thank you very much for this opportunity. I know Crawford is a very good and tough fighter and this is a big event. On Saturday night I will give everything I have and my focus and my game plan and everything is in position. Just waiting for the weigh-in. I try and not say too much before the fight, which is something that I am used to. I prefer to do it in the ring when my opponent is standing in front of me so I can do my work. I have been in boxing for a long time and not many people know me. I believe this is the time for me to show the world that a boxer from Africa from Namibia can beat a guy fighting in his home in front of his people. This is the best way to do it. I am confident in my styles and techniques that I have learned from years ago. On Saturday night it is going to be boxing – I am not sure if there is going to be a knockout but I know I can do that if I have to. I can say now that I have trained hard and my trainer is always there. TODD duBOEF: I also want to thank the organizations for accommodating this match because there was everyone trying that had fighters that had mandatories working behind the scenes to help put this unification together. We are all appreciative of everybody working together to help bring this match with the participants with all four titles of the organizations. We are very appreciative of them assisting Matchroom and Top Rank. JULIUS INDONGO: Yes I would like to also thank the organizations and Top Rank and Matchroom for pushing this fight and helping the negotiations to make this fight happen – for making it all possible. Question: You have two titles now, but what is your view of the possibility of having all four titles? JULIUS INDONGO: My view of this is that I have not focused much on that since I have been busy in the gym. I have not focused on anything but making sure of my performance on Saturday night. My focus has been in the gym to make sure my game will be the best ever. No one will ever forget about this fight. The organizations were involved in making this fight happen and I appreciate that but I won’t think much about having four titles until the fight is over. Question: How will it feel walking out of the ring with four belts? JULIUS INDONGO: It’s going to mean a lot to me – it will mean all of the hard work and determination got that achievement and it will create more opportunity for me. I will travel the world with the four titles. I will take them back to Africa – to my country. I am going to be very, very happy. Questions: How has your life changed since you won the two titles? JULIUS INDONGO: The thing that has really changed is – I do still live in my town in Namibia – and I try to stay focused and try to do the right thing in the public. When someone becomes known to the whole country, most Julius Indongo importantly I try not to roll with the wrong friends. I try and stay home and go to church after work and I do my training program twice a day. That’s the only way that I could say it can be done. Question: Do you live in the same place? JULIUS INDONGO: Yes, that is where I am staying and where I train. All of the people are very friendly. We don’t have too much of a division within the people of everyone in the country, especially in the city. There is nothing that can distract me wherever I stay or whatever I do – everyone will know in Namibia. Question: How much better is Crawford than Ricky Burns or Troyanovsky? JULIUS INDONGO: I cannot really say much on that because when I fought Troyanovsky and Ricky Burns they were both easier fights than I fought in the last fight, that I fought from home. The two world title fights that I challenged in were the best training that I have trained. I had never been as focused with the best game plan so it made it the easiest fights for me. They were both easier than we ever thought they would be because of the focus on them and the game plan. Question: Why were you able to focus more for those two fights? JULIUS INDONGO: The other fights were happening at home and we used to be too much like let a lot of people in the camp – we used to share invitations – for the two last fights anyway. The fight was for the championship so there was something that we needed to achieve and change and to improve our image (if we want) to be known in the world. We had to have focus only on me and the potential and that’s the only way the world was going to get to see me. The promotion had known what was happening with me and letting everyone else know. So now everyone was going to see something new again, I know. I have no doubt. I know. All I can say is just only if maybe knockout come it may be late. But waking up, the day of fight, be skilful and focused – everything is in position. The crowd or the fans, or Terence’s home crowd won’t intimidate me – that is nothing, I cannot afford it, so I travel the same way – it is always the same. Question: Since you won in the hometowns of the last two titles fights how much confidence does that give you? JULIUS INDONGO: Actually they are different conditions I don’t particularly mind because it is already past. My focus is that it is a blessing from God to keep me and not to let me wander in a sense, and to ask for a provision for myself, my president and my commander in the office that wherever I travel I will be representing all of Namibia. It’s like I have the whole country of Namibia on my shoulders issued by my president so I have to rely on the game plan and that is the confidence that I rely. So if I am stepping there I know that my country and Africa is on my shoulders and when the team travels from Namibia to the fight I can only focus on the fight so it motivated me a lot. So I have to focus only on this fight. Question: Where did you train for this fight? JULIUS INDONGO: When I saw Crawford requested to fight the winner of the fight between me Troyanovsky, which is when I started training for this fight because we don’t have any power and the only way to rely on the big guns when they are requested for it. So when they gave us the offer we had to go for it so that’s when I started training. I trained at home in Namibia – where I have always been training. (He came to the States early and trained in Freddie Roach’s gym in Hollywood). Question: Has there been a change in demographic of who is watching the fights? TODD duBOEF: I don’t think there has been a change in demographic I think the perception of the boxing demographic in the United States has been unfortunately tight-capped – an older demographic. We are looking at these numbers and obviously 18- 49 is the number that everybody wants and even with Kurt Warner and the rest of the Hall of Fame going on we went straight up against UFC that night and beat them in both 18-49 and 18-34 which are the most important demos. And I think additionally, for ESPN that week, we were the second highest rated 18-49 program with the Lomachenko broadcast and in fact over 50% of our audience was 18-49 where baseball was about 32%. We think that the story that it is an old sport and old people don’t care about it, which was largely spun out by UFC years ago and I think to a certain point there was some truth to it – older demos were on premium channels – the fact is this is very positive, young, multi-cultural through the roof and we are excited to put this on this broad platform. Question: Is it easy to focus and do what you need to do in your homeland? JULIUS INDONGO: I don’t think I have an issue with the fans or the population because it is already something I am aware of. All I have is to train and just be focused on Crawford and my game plan and do good on my preparation. Question: What do you have to say about this activity – this is your 4th fight in just over a year? JULIUS INDONGO: It really means a lot not only to me but also to my promotion where I train. When I began they weren’t planning to produce such an event or any opportunity like this or even that matches I had back home. It is something big and something huge and something useful and it is an appreciation for what Top Rank and Matchroom has put together and I appreciate these opportunities. -boxing247.com