August 2012 Update

The beginning and middle of August was more dry and dusty than wet and rainy which proved a worry for Sarnelli House’s thousands of rice seedlings that have already been planted on Jomp’s Farm. However by the end of August the rain became more frequent and heavier  and now in September the Mekhong River in Nongkhai and Vienghuk is steadily rising and there are floods in parts of Thailand again, with people fearing another disastrous flood like last year that destroyed crops, homes and industries.


Lovely Nut who is 15 years old and blind from HIV/AIDS has not been so well lately. She has had some bouts of shingles, chest infections and oral thrush and it has turned out that her little body is resistant to all the ARV (antiretroviral) drugs available in Thailand. As the virus in her blood multiplies and she becomes less able to fight infections the doctors at Srinagarin Hospital are searching for a way to get her the ARV medicine she needs. Finally on Tuesday she started the new drug and it will cost us $350 /month for the forseeable future to keep her on it, and hopefully help her to fight the virus that has already taken so much from her. Despite her sickness Nut is the sweetest child who looks about 10 years old not 15. She is softly spoken and has been learning to crochet as well as learning her regular Braille with her friend Bank and their teacher Dap.


The majority of other children with HIV/AIDS are now entering their teenage years and many of them are on their second and third line ARV drugs which are available in Thailand. These however do have side effects and anemia, fat redistribution and kidney problems are some of them. In conjunction with Srinagarin Hospital we have started writing to drug companies to see if they can donate the newer drugs that are available that have less side effects.


Fr Ole has returned safely from the USA where he met many supportive and generous benefactors of Sarnelli House. He and Fr Bird and Br Keng are focusing on the homework needs of the kids. Often there is so much noise and commotion at homework times that is seems impossible that anyone could even read what they have for homework let alone do it. They have begun a mandatory study hour in the afternoons/ evenings for the kids to take the time out to do their homework and any extra study. They will help the housemothers with supervising the homework and so far at Sarnelli House with the separation of the smaller more obstructive kids, the scheme is working well.   


Fr Shea is due back on the 22nd September and the kids are very excited and gearing up for a big welcome home party. A spontaneous shout went up at mass when Fr Ole told the kids the date of Fr Shea’s return. As Fr Chuck is returning with him it will be a double celebration for everyone.


Kate Introna

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