September 2010

The rains, due in the latter part of May, have finally arrived near the middle of August! We planted rice until the August 15 deadline. We will have about 30% of our rice paddies unplanted. Also, the early planting without sufficient rain is a disaster! We will take what we can get. Main thing now is enough regular rain to get the rice going and safe. The boys worked the fields with a group of men I hire, a great group of guys; father figures to these lads, in fact. The girls are making jewelry, and we are sending them around to people who want to hold bazaars or fund raisers. The girls are really good, and the wee ones are fast and nimble. They run the thread through their toes, and build up bracelets and necklaces. Our two batik painters, Awe and Biew, are still at it, after 10 years, despite some serious bouts from AIDS. We need new patterns, but have found no one to draw for them. We have a half dozen women with AIDS working for us, plus 3 men who are infected. They are great workers, since they appreciate the jobs and feel wanted.
     Jonah, who was born at 6 ½ months, is doing well. He is still a tiny wee creature. We are supposed to take in a baby girl, not yet born, from a mother with AIDS. I talked her out of an abortion, and now wait to see if she gives us the baby or decides to keep it. The decision is hers.  Hiew, our 15-year-old lad who has multiple strains of TB and AIDS, together with some bacterial infections, is holding his own. I hired his Mom as his chief cook and bottle washer. If we sent her away, she would have no place to go, plus no money or food. We also took in a 13 year old girl named “Dtan”, who is quite sick. Her right eye is pulled up into the socket, and her eyelids are paralyzed and she has a bad speech defect; all due to cerebral bacteria. She is currently taking ARV medicine for AIDS, and TB medicine. We hope to get the girl’s eyes repaired soon. She is a lonely little thing, and wants to go home.  She can’t go to school right now, so she helps clean and fold laundry, etc.
    Father Chuck Beierwaltes, who comes to Sarnelli every year and is really dedicated for fundraising for the project, has been taking parishes in the Milwaukee Archdiocese this year, plus a lovely parish in Wheaton IL that has allowed us to come for a mission appeal every couple years. Fr. Dave Polek is another priest who gathers shekels for Sarnelli, and we are all happy to know that both of them are going to visit us this year. Fr. Dave will be here for several weeks, and Fr. Chuck for several months. We also have Fr. Paddy Power stationed at our Redemptorist parish in Kansas City who makes furniture and coffins in his dingy carpenter shop, and sends the proceeds to the kids. Paddy is still a tough old Irishman, despite his 80 + years!
    Mother’s day has come and gone, and this year was like any other year. Other school children brought flowers and kisses to their mothers on stage, while our motherless sat and stared stonily at the spectacle, or, heads down, sobbed quietly. But this year, we had a big party at St. Patrick’s and toasted their departed mothers with barbequed chicken, rice, pop and cake. I am going to do this every year. I should have done it right from the first year.
     We had the pleasure of a visit from the Reverend Mister Ole, our web master who was just ordained a deacon. Ole was here for 5 days, visiting the children and staff, and fixing the Computer Cretin’s machine so it works fast and efficiently (I am the C.C.!!). We are all hoping Ole will take over the work some day, after his ordination. Again, thank you for your kindness, and God bless you for your generosity and concern!


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