Except for college, all the kids are back in school, and the staff are taking a seminar on how to treat kids according to law (and love). Kids have graduated, and four new children have arrived. One of the newcomers is nicknamed “Nut” (that gives us three kids with that nickname), and is from the Bungkarn province. I served down there from 1967-75. His mother, who was a wee little lass in those days, died of AIDS two years ago. An aunt took him in and treated him like a slave. He is very happy to be with us, and P’ Wan, the housemother, has him firmly under her wing, and is force feeding the little creature! The other two new kids are girls, going into the equivalent of seventh grade. They are very quiet and polite. Their parents had AIDS, and one girl’s father is a drunk with AIDS, and the Welfare folks in that province did not trust him to leave the girl alone. The latest child is a four year old baby girl who is a tiny thing with AIDS, and she is crippled, blind and mute. She is exactly like Josie was, except this girl is always smiling when someone tends to her or holds her. She will be a blessing to Sarnelli House.
Other kids graduated and moved on. Nong graduated and has a good teaching job; Jack also moved on and is working for a company in Bangkok. Da(ling) traveled to Rayong to be a nurse in a hospital there. Tdon quickly got a job and will take courses on weekends to further his knowledge. Tai is working for a company like Starbucks and is happy. None of our kids with AIDS has finished college as yet.
Despite the terrible heat and lack of rain, workers are building the boys’ house out in our rice paddies. We successfully drilled a well there, but three of our fish ponds were bone dry. We are finally getting rain, and the fish re-appeared from hibernating in the mud, together with frogs. This bodes well for our bucolic dream of full fish ponds and rice fields maturing in water and green grass for the cows. Friends of Sarnelli House Foundation is sending $500 a month so we can buy corn for the cattle. The pigs are doing great, but the cows are looking quite gaunt. Up to now, they only had rice stalks to eat and this is not enough protein, etc., for cattle.
Every big school vacation time, we used to rent buses to take the kids to Pattaya and they would swim and travel around, touring various sites. We would stay at the Redemptorist Center in Pattaya, during the golden days of Fathers Ray Brennan, Pat Morrissey, Philip Banchong and Larry Patin. We always paid what we were asked, but I guess our numbers got too big. Now, each house gets to decide where they want to go, and for how long. The girls always wind up with their money at a mall in town, where they spend every shekel they have. Each child has an account of their money, and how and where they spent it.
We hope spring has already come to you and the weather is pleasant and the flowers and shrubs are growing in abundance!
God bless you!
Fathers Mike, Ole and Brother Keng, staff and children