|The following account about the December 26th storm which ravaged many areas of the St. Philips Mission is excerpted from the FeedBlitz blog on the Cabrini Ministries in Swaziland, Southern Africa. Sr. Diane Dalle Molle and Sr. Barbara Staley wrote:
We wanted to send word out to our worldwide community about the storm that hit us here at St. Philip's Mission.
On December 26th, at about 4 PM, a heavy rain started, followed by hurricane force winds, then a tornado. The storm was severe and did major damage. Among some of the damages: the roof to the house over our living room was blown off, we lost the whole kitchen to the children's hostel, we lost our maintenance and storage office, the roof on the girl's hostel was damaged and leaked and ruined bedding and other items, we lost a newly planted crop of chilies, etc. A lot of trees and debris were downed around the Mission so much that we could barely get around. We are estimating that the storm did about $30,000 in damages just to our facilities. Many of our community members in the area lost their homes, because the homes are not very strongly built in the first place. Electricity lines, telephone lines, and cell phone towers were down all over the place, and it's been very hard to reach people. Miraculously, we haven't heard of anyone in the entire area that was hurt in the storm.
We are staying strong in spirit and just trying to find the continuous energy to deal with all of the additional challenging demands of cleaning up after the storm, on top of our already demanding healthcare and orphan care efforts. We pray for the homeless now and for the support and strength to rebuild to continue to provide love and care to those in need.
Blessings and love,
Srs. Barbara & Diane
An update which was received on December 28th by Sr. Roselle Santivasi from Sr. Diane provides further information:
- electricity is back
- the retaining wall is down and cannot be repaired until the winter
- they lost some water supply but have water
- they already received help from the USA Embassy in the way of a visit and the use of a power saw to cut the numerous fallen trees
- tarps were given to cover the roofs that were damaged
- Swazi TV was on site because this is the only spot in the country that was affected
- Kids aren't scheduled to return until the end of January and hopefully all will be well
- the crops that were destroyed will be replanted because some workers are going into the city to purchase new seeds
- Srs. Diane and Barbara are sleeping well because they are just so tired and now that the electricity is back the fans are working again
- Srs. Diane and Barbara are so grateful for all the prayers and support from the province
Please keep Srs. Diane and Barbara, and all those affected by this storm, in your prayers.
To assist financially with the clean-up and restoration efforts, please DONATE.
Messages of Concern for Swaziland
Messages of prayers, concern for our Sisters and Cabrini Ministries in Swaziland continue to arrive at the Province Office. Communication with Srs. Diane and Barbara has been sporadic; however, they assure us that they are fine and that the mission is slowly getting back together. They still do not have phone service and they plan on going into Manzini every few days to pick up their e-mail and messages.
Members of the Cabrinian community have called or emailed to ask if the children and families in the bush were affected. Sr. Diane said that the children are fine, but many of the people lost their homes in the surrounding area. However, Sr. Diane mentioned that these types of homes can easily be rebuilt. They are still assessing the damage, but as mentioned in last weeks Update, the damage estimates range from $30,000 - $40,000.
It was good speaking with both Srs. Diane and Barbara. They reiterate that they are fine and thank everyone for their prayers and support
Here are some messages of support and prayer for our sisters and the mission...
Thanks for the update-please let the sisters know they and the children are in my prayers.
Judy Hamilton, New Orleans, LA
Thank you for the information. I will surely keep Diane and Barbara in my prayers.
Blessings to you.
Marianne McGowan, New York, NY
Sorry to hear about the mission in Swaziland. Sounds like the situation is piecing back together and under control and all are safe. Will keep everyone in our thoughts & prayers.
Charlie & Katie, Seattle, WA
Thank you for sharing this with me. I will send an email to our prayer circle at St. Margaret Church in Narberth requesting that they add Swaziland, the mission and the Sisters in their prayers.
Jean Findlay, Philadelphia, PA
Thanks for the information. Keep us informed as how we can help.
Loretta Gardner, Seattle, WA
Thanks for the information about Swaziland. I hadnt heard about this storm, and am so grateful to know that the sisters and everyone are okay, although physical damage seems extensive. Please let the sisters know that theyre in my prayers.
Sharon Morano, California
Thanks, Arlene, we were not aware of anything. We will pray for them.
Srs. Edvige and Rita, Chicago, IL
Thank you for sharing this information. I will continue to keep everyone in Swaziland in my prayers.
Florence Wingerter - New Orleans, LA
Our prayers are with Diane, Barbara and the children
Craig Surhbier, Seattle, WA
To assist financially with the clean-up and restoration of St. Philips Mission please visit:
To access the blog on St. Philips Mission in Swaziland, please click on: