Autumn 2010

 The latest news from Sarnelli House! Little Jonah, born at 6 ½ months, has now passed the 9 month stage (from conception) and is growing normally and looks more like a human being! As for the rest of the Horde, on weekends I have the girls out pulling weeds in the rice paddies and the boys repairing the road to the fields, and they are fighting like tinkers!

Thanks to Peh and Jit, who took a free course at a college in the midlands, we make our own soap, laundry detergent, shampoo and cleaning soap for floors and toilets. This job is done by our boys. They have vats and pails and huge wooden ladles for stirring as they work. The rice is planted and growing, and the rains finally came fast and furious. The boys from both our houses, St. Patrick’s for the abandoned and Jan & Oscar for the boys with AIDS, eat, pray, study, and work well together. Our girls churn out costume jewelry and want me to buy Skorski diamonds to make stuff. I have to explain the idea is to help themselves, not bankrupt the crowd!

The other day I was involved in a property wrangle between two villages, and the meeting was long and angry, and it was way beyond Heineken time. The sun was definitely over the yardarm. A truck pulled up with a girl who had left us in March and took off with a boy. The boy abandoned her, alone and pregnant in Cholburi on the Eastern seaboard, and took up with another woman. She was nearly 5 months pregnant; 16 years old and totally ashamed and humiliated. The thought went through my head of the father of the Prodigal Son in the gospels. The kid takes his birthright and goes out and spends it all. He has no one and decides all he can do is go home and beg forgiveness. The father greets him with open arms. I wondered fleetingly if the old man felt like kicking the kid right in the ass. But, I banished that thought and greeted her with open arms. I am hoping she will stay here, have the baby with us instead of with strangers, and then decide whether to keep the baby or give it to us. She is awfully young and immature to be a mother without supervision. She is an orphan who never experienced real family life. She is also a complete airhead.

Hiew, the young lad who nearly died with us is still improving. His mother, though, up and took off, leaving him with us. This actually is a real boon for Hiew, because we make sure he takes his medicine, etc. Surprisingly, for me anyway, he enjoys life at Sarnelli and does not miss his mother. Dtan, the half blind and speech impaired girl, has settled in and the staff, some of whom have AIDS themselves, make sure they stay busy and engaged throughout the day, while the healthy kids go to school. In the meantime, we wait for an AIDS mother to give birth. We talked her out of an abortion, and they do not want the baby, so we will take the little girl.

I don’t know how much gas is left in the tank, but this is a lovely way to spend one’s waning days! If someone told me 10 years ago that I would end my life while raising other people’s kids, I would have told them that they were nuts. Now, in my daft end days, I look upon them as my own. I suppose Alzheimer’s or some other such disease will take care of that thought!

Fr. Mike

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