News from Sarnelli House!
    We are definitely at harvest time, with the evening temperatures falling and the big orange harvest moon hanging low in the sky. The children had their Halloween party a little early (October 28) and we had the party in our new Joseph and Mary Hall. It was a great success,
and the older boys pulled out all the stops; a grass and bamboo tunnel that the smaller ones had to crawl through (in the cemetery) and the kids found rotten veggies and rotten unbroken eggs in their path, plus some of the boys threw fermented fish on them. A record amount of wee ones copiously loaded their underpants in fear and terror, and everyone said what a good time they had. (The laundry ladies hate this yearly party!) We had Mass in the cemetery for All Souls day nearly a week later, and that area still reeked.
    I will probably be moaning about this for months to come, but our
rice crop is going to be kind of grim, thanks to a drought and also a
type of rice I foolishly had the kids plant. The seed rice came from
the Xang Ming area; much of it donated. It had nice fat kernels and
the kids planted about 35 acres of the stuff. People who planted 90
day rice will harvest. People like me who planted the 150 day rice are
in trouble. We do have 5 fish ponds in the fields, and pumped about
1/3 of the water from each pond. The rice then did head out, but a
nice rain would have been wonderful. We are now harvesting, with
sickles as usual.
    Our Joseph and Mary hall is completed, and it is really a boon for
us. Kids can have their parties and plays and dancing routines there.
It is big and airy.  We have birds in there and they got in through
bathroom windows. I am getting screens made right now.
    The second semester of school has opened for two weeks now, and
everyone is just catching up on their slice of peace and quiet. The
older the kids get, the farther they range from their houses; out on
bikes fishing and hunting with their slingshots. Girls try to travel
to town as often as possible. I have teen age girls sneaking out at
night to meet boys. I am threatening to release blood hungry hounds in
their compound, from 6 PM to 6 AM.
    It is interesting that we have not received a child with AIDS for
over 8 months now. We are delighted if it means the amount of children
with HIV/AIDS has shrunk. We worry it is because of abortion. We still
are firm about keeping babies alive with attractive options, like
giving money to the mother, equivalent to their monthly salary,
throughout the pregnancy. We pay for their doctor and hospital bills,
and continue to give them financial aid for 6 months. They are free to
take their baby with them, or give the baby to us. Just don’t kill it
in the womb.
    Again, thank you so much for your interest and kindness, and the
children, staff and Father Ole, Father Chuck, Brother Keng and I pray for you every
evening, and at Saturday Mass.