Recent news about the construction in Sacred Family School in Playa Prieta (Ecuador), June 29th, 2016.
The construction work on the grounds of the Sacred Family School in Playa Prieta, Ecuador, is not only advancing but growing more and more each day. There are more trucks and more hands that are collaborating, each one giving all that he can.
On Thursday of last week while we were working and trying to organize everything, we received a surprise visit from the Supervisors of Educational Direction in Portoviejo (Ecuador). The Ministry of Education ordered on a national level, that all schools that had been affected by the earthquake had to start the school year on Monday, June 27th of 2016. Our mouths dropped open and we tried to get the supervisors to see the desolating panorama that surrounded us due to the state that our school is in. We tried to get permission to start a week later, but there was no changing their minds. We had to start class on Monday with the students in the upper grades.
And so with the help of the community of Playa Prieta, we were able to start off the year. The town has let us use a house and a few buildings which have been turned into our provisional classrooms while the school is being built.
And how were we to let the parents know about this sudden change in plans? Providentially, and thanks to the Holy Spirit, before we knew that we were going to have to start the year earlier than planned, we had already called for a meeting with the parents and teachers of the school. We quickly got together the schedule and where each class would go, and we were able to inform the parents in the meeting.
During the meeting, Sr. Mercedes thanked the parents for putting their trust in the school and in the sisters. When she reminded them that the sisters had never thought about leaving Playa Prieta because of what happened, their eyes filled with tears and they confirmed their full support of everything the sisters are doing. Sister told the parents that the Ministry of Education had ordered for classes to begin on Monday, she read the schedule, etc. We explained how the construction was going and all that was left to do, she exhorted them to be generous, and to help each one in their measure. And to finish the meeting, how could we not mention the surrender and work of our Sr. Clare in the school. We said a prayer of thanksgiving for her life, for having been able to know her and being able to be with her this past year. People were visibly moved during this prayer and many could not hold back their tears. When the meeting ended, many parents came up to us to offer their help with the school. Some offered money, others a place for the workers and volunteers to stay, still others offered to work in whatever was necessary….they all left very happy.
Saturday, June 25th, at 8 A.M., there was a group of Lay members of the Home of the Mother in Guayaquil to help with the construction. They helped fix up the sister’s new house and then they worked on the school grounds. After mass, at 5:00 P.M., they went back to Guayaquil, tired but happy to have been able to help. Whenever they come to help, it’s hard for them to go back home! They say that Playa Prieta has “glue”, that here you can notice something almost sacred, referring to the place where our sisters died. We give thanks to God for these people who the Lord has put in our lives and our helping us so much.
On Monday, June 27th, we had the first day of school with grades 7-12. The sisters led the first half hour beginning with the morning offering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and then they gave a brief reflection for the day. Later in the day the students voluntarily helped with the construction work. They helped us move bricks and cement blocks, iron, etc. Our students are great!
On the night before the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, some of the workers from Telefonica came from Quito with a truck full of bamboo to start organizing the building of the classrooms. They arrived at 2 in the morning and set up their tents under the almond trees.
The Sisters in Playa Prieta.