3, Sep

Mary Tubor and Lawrencia Tamalko return to Ningil after the fire

Author: admin2

Mary, Grade 4 Teacher at Ningil Primary School, and Lawrencia, a nurse working in the Ningil Clinic, were determined to return to their respective Ministries as soon as they could after their convent was destroyed by fire.

The day following the fire the five Sisters from Ningil were evacuated down to the coastal region to Aitape. Distressed and in shock they were supported by the Sisters there and a few days later by Bernadette Pattison and Anne Lane who flew from Australia to Papua New Guinea as soon as they could.

It became clear the fire was caused by an electrical fault connected with the solar lights.  One of the Sisters who saw smoke, went to investigate had the presence of mind to quickly run downstairs and turn off the gas!

The Sisters tried to pull some things out but of course could see nothing in the dark.  By then the local people were there and tried to assist but called the Sisters as they could see it was a hopeless situation.

There was nothing else they could do but watch the building burn.  They and some of the people stayed all night.  The next morning, some of the people put mourning mud on their faces as if someone had died.  They also passed around the bucket for donations.

Elizabeth, Bernie and Imelda travelled from Aitape the next morning and brought the Sisters back to Aitape.

Anne Lane said, “Bernadette Pattison and I were in constant phone contact (from Australia) during this time with the Sisters in Ningil.  During my first phone call with Mary Tubor I could hear the roar of the fire in the background.”

“The first day Bern and I were in Aitape, we spent storying with the Sisters.  It was a most moving time with many tears.  The Sisters level of listening to each other and, as one said, giving each other the right space, was extraordinary.  It was one of those times when you feel out of tragedy comes a real gift.”

Sr Bernie Telemai wrote, “We very much appreciate all the prayers and messages of support from the Sisters in Australia and other parts of the world. It was a very sad experience for all of our Sisters here in Papua New Guinea and although everything was destroyed we thank God the Sisters were safe.”

 

Ningil Convent destroyed by fire

Ningil Convent destroyed by fire

 

The People Gathered with ‘mourning mud on their faces’ to express their sorrow for the Sisters

The People Gathered with ‘mourning mud on their faces’ to express their sorrow for the Sisters

 

The aftermath: total destruction

The aftermath: total destruction

 

View from front entrance of the Sister's house with some of the friends of Nano andlooking  to the Torricelli Mountains in the distance .   Taken 2013

View from front entrance of the Sister’s house with some of the friends of Nano andlooking to the Torricelli Mountains in the distance . Taken 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “Mary Tubor and Lawrencia Tamalko return to Ningil after the fire”

  1. Rosemary Grundy says:

    Thank you for this very moving coverage of the fire in PNG. When one is far away, it is difficult to “be in the experience”, so the words and pictures on the website have made it very real.
    It is a profound gift to have the courage and care of our PNG Sisters, knowing that their dedication to the people is such a high priority. It is also very encouraging to know that the local people are so supportive, being there in the sadness and loss, and then “passing around a bucket for donations” – out of their poverty there is so much richness.
    Thank you for sharing this. Rosemary G

  2. Patricia Hickman says:

    My thoughts and feelings too! Thank you for sharing that moving coverage of all aspects of the fire at Ningil. The local people gathering donations…How good is that!

    In 1970,I was living in our community in Sandringham Victoria, teaching in one of the primary schools and involved with the Parish YCW. The Curate, Fr. Ernie Smith, was a full time YCW worker before he went to the seminary and this year organised a group of the young men and women to go to PNG and carry out some service there. The whole parish was involved fund raising. The Bishop met with the group and the task they were given was to re-roof the Ningil convent (the original). However, the road to the Highlands was not completed and it was impossible to get supplies through then, so they were redirected to build in Sissano. Patricia Hickman pbvm


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