Latest News from Playa Prieta and the school in Manabi (Ecuador), May 2016.
On Monday, Fr. Irvin, who takes care of the community of Playa Prieta, came to (Guayaquil) to visit the Sisters and celebrate Mass for us. The whole homily was basically giving thanks to the Servant Sisters for having decided to come back and stay in Playa Prieta.
Afterwards, he went to the school in Playa Prieta to celebrate Mass on top of the rubble, in union with the funeral of Sr. Clare. He told us that a lot of people were at the Mass.
Adults in Playa Prieta told us that some of the mothers of our students were trying to help their children understand that they would probably have to sign them up to go to another school. The children “rebelled” against this idea, and had told them that they want to go to their school, that they don’t want to study at another school that is not theirs, and that they would rather stop studying than go to another school. Many of them are willing to miss a year of school. The mothers told me: “Sister, you can count on me for anything: to cook food, make cement, pass bricks – whatever – because we have to build the school. If everybody helps, we can do it… you’ll see how we can, Sister.” They also told us that the Mass on Saturday was being celebrated outside at the community of San Jose because the church was quite damaged and that it was surprising to see how many people were at Mass. When a priest from Schoënstatt went there, almost everyone went to confession… They said, “Sister, even the most rebellious and hardened [sinners] went.”
The people there are helping and collaborating as much as they can. For example, a man from Guayaquil that prints the HM Magazine for us, offered to print whatever we need in order to ask for help to rebuild the school and the Sisters’ house in Playa Prieta.
Thanks to him, we’ve been able to print a giant canvas and hang it on the outside wall of the school grounds so that the people can see that the school is going to continue to be in session.
He also printed off, free of charge, a ton of flyers with the same information, so that we can give them out to the families that have their children in the school.
In the province of Manabi, the area most affected by the earthquake, the date established to start classes in is the month of July. We also want to begin classes on the same date, with the few or many buildings that will be constructed by that time.
Several people have evaluated the state of the school classrooms that remained standing as well as the conditions of the floor. Of all that remained standing, only the kindergarten classroom and auditorium can be used. Everything else will have to be demolished and rebuilt. The floors of the buildings, which are sinking and left with cracks, will also need to be reinforced.
Note from the Servant Sisters in Manabi, May 18th, 2016:
Today, May 18th, 2016, we began the day with a small fright: at 3 am we were awoken by a quake. The reading of the day, from the apostle St. James says: ‘You ought to say, if the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.’ With these words in mind, four Sisters and a group of courageous girls headed towards Playa Prieta. We were going to take away the rubble of the buildings of the School. With our heart tense, we watched as each part of our dear house was taken away, this house where for years we have been giving all to the Lord. The question that came up from within was: And what is left of all this? The response was immediate: the glory that has been given to God and which, by His grace and mercy, we will continue to give to Him. At 11:46 we were surprised by a new quake that forced us to stop the work. Since Our Lord has so wished and we are alive, tomorrow we will continue our work for His Glory and we are very, very happy. Thank you for your prayers, which are felt stronger than the quakes. Thank you, brothers and sisters in the Lord. May Our Blessed Mother guard us in Her Most Pure Heart.”
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