By: Fr. Andrzej Dzida, SVD
On 11th March 2015 our three huts were burned completely in our SVD’s compound in Lainya. On Tuesday/Wednesday night at 2.15 am I wake up, when I heard and felt fire gutting down the structures. When I went out from my tukul I saw a huge fire in my hut that spread very fast because of the grass thatched roof. At the same time, the huts of Fr. Praful and Fr. Bernard were had also caught fire. I didn’t have much time to take anything from my tukul. However, I took my passport and a few things that were close by. In other confreres’ tukuls fire was spreading slowly and that they had a chance to salvage some more things.
The circumstances surrounding the fire incident is now under investigation and the police have opened the case. Until now we do not know the cause of fire yet. The most important thing is that we are still alive, safe and sound! I only have small burn scar on my neck and head, but nothing serious.
The Diocese of Yei supported us and visited us. They helped us in procedural matters with police and we also visited Payam and Commissioner. She was shocked that our tukuls were burned down and she said that nothing like that had happened before in Lainya. The local official also wants cooperation from all to find out the cause of burning our tukuls. Recently Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe called us from Nairobi to express his words of encouragement and solidarity. We appreciate the work of our diocese of Yei. First of all, we cannot forget all our Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit from Yei (and Ethiopia) who supported us in many and different ways.
We have received a lot of encouragement from our SVD’s brothers from around the world, including the General Superior and Vice General. The religious congregations and diocesan priests have also extended their words of support and solidarity. We are very appreciative of their support and prayer.
I was positively touched by gestures of our Christians. Almost all my clothes were burned (including albs, chasubles, stoles, mass kit and other liturgical items). When I was trying to buy a belt to my last trousers one woman offered to buy it for me. Afterwards, when I was on the way back to our compound, another woman asked if she could buy trousers for me. She bought for me a few trousers from the second hand market. Finally, when I was back our Christians bought for us three mattresses and the Catholic Action donated bed sheets. Additionally, during the night two Catechists were staying with us in our compound.
Once more thank you for your support, prayer and solidarity with Divine Word Missionaries in South Sudan.