Easter 2011

Happy Easter!

     Here at Sarnelli House, we have already received an Easter gift. The Srinakarin hospital asked us if we would take in a 13 year old little girl who both has AIDS and is blind from the virus attacking her optic nerves. Her nick name is “Nut”, and our own blind girl, Ta Dum, now has a companion and a student! Yep! Professor Ta Dum is teaching Nut how to walk with a cane, and how to read Braille. Even the most unruly kids watch in quiet fascination as Ta Dum walks behind Nut, showing her how to gently keep the cane in motion, so as to avoid obstacles. Other girls lead her around to play and to lunch. Several of our girls are mean little pups, and hunt down naughty boys who irritate them. They hunt in packs, and literally pound the pee out of any boy they deem worthy of punishment. But they are good to Nut, and their protection reminds me of mafia movies.


     We also took in two boys who have some emotional problems. Only God knows what awful experiences and rejection they have had to cope with. They will first go to the psychiatrist in Nongkhai. I understand that the Nongkhai provincial hospital will also be given a few more psychiatrists, which will really help. Some of the boys have a hard time fitting in to society, but everyone reminds me to cool it and let the professionals do their job. Which translates as “Keep one’s coil of rope in the truck!” No lynch parties yet.

     The Redemptorist Easter party is going to be held in Chiengmai this year. The pastor of Nongkhai was asked to take a wedding, but he is being transferred and wanted to go to the party. So, I wind up with the wedding and will arrive a day late in Cheingmai. I will stay one night, and then fly on to Bangkok to pick up a laptop computer. My old laptop is in Charlene house, being used by volunteers. Before, they would go to the office and get on a computer, oblivious to the staff, who mans them all day long. This way, they have a computer to use at any time.
The hot season is here, but it is not as bad as the last 5-6 years. Of course, it is not over, but villagers speak hopefully about a normal monsoon season for a change. We need a lot of rain for our rice production. We have several foundations promising help to buy more rice paddy, but the price of rice has risen dramatically, and people are loathe to sell their fields. Even Fr. Joe Maier from Mercy Centre in Bangkok has told me he would buy us paddy, if we would grow rice for the children and AIDS patients at his centre. If we had access to water, we could grow two crops a year. 

     Some of our little people at the House of Hope have been quarantined with chicken pox. None of the cases are bad, but one of our older girls from Viengkhuk, Da-ling, had a horrible case. Since Da-ling aspires to be a model and possibly a movie actress, she was understandably distraught! As the pustules fall of, we are hoping she will have no scars. The other girls kid her about a possible career as a cloistered nun!
Summer school closes on May 8. We sent as many kids as possible to the summer school in Rosario. Many of the kids are true underachievers, and I don’t think the results are going to be startling. But for 800 baht per kid (20 Euro?), it was worth it. The kids had a good time this vacation. We had some really good and active volunteers from many countries here to help the staff and entertain the kids. May 16, we shall be lined up waving gaily, as the trucks pull out for the first day of school.

     With the Easter season upon us, we take this opportunity to ask the risen Jesus to bless us all, and especially those generous and sacrificing folk who keep Sarnelli lurching along, and the wee creatures fed and watered. The Lord has indeed blessed us with people like you, and the children are reminded of this regularly, and especially at their night prayers. Our sponsorship program keeps the kids in school, and the number of older kids moving on to senior high school and vocational training grows rapidly every year. Our college kids find work during the summer break and often can find part time work during the scholastic year. But if not, they can always fall back on the cushion of their sponsor. They don’t have families of their own, so they live vicariously reading letters from their sponsors, and seeing photos of the families who help them. 

     Times are hard, but we will make it, thanks to all of you!
Fr. Mike 

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