October 2012 Update

Hello from Sarnelli House!

                I am back after 5 ½ months of home leave. I had all my medical stuff done, and it was great to see family, friends, and benefactors. But it was really wonderful to return. The morning after Fr. Chuck and I returned, we had a big party at the new Joseph and Mary Hall. There are some small problems to work out, but it is just awesome to be in a hall like that with all those kids and staff, and have plenty of room to play and have skits and plays, etc.   

               Unfortunately, the rice yield this year will surely suck. Because of drought, we will be lucky to harvest 20% of our rice. We feed and water 162 kids at Sarnelli, plus Outreach kids and also have about 50 staff who eat with us as well. We had really poor monsoon rains this year. We have about 35 acres of paddy rice, and like any farming community, the crops need rain. The last three years have been draught, while the central plains tend to flood. Also, I opted for a type of rice that has nice fat kernels, but takes 5 months from planting to harvest. So, you can blame God and Mike Shea for this year’s dismal crop.

                Other than that, our new herd of Brahmin cattle are well, and Fathers Ole, Bird and Brother Keng, (the new staff) are city boys, and complain the cows eat like elephants! We bought about 15 piglets so I took a truck out to the fields to witness the arrival of the swine, but never made it, since I did not have 4 wheel drive and got stuck. The chickens and ducks are still small, so not many eggs as yet.

                The kids all seem happy, and they still have a couple weeks out of school. We picked up two more girls. Both are from the central plains, and one girl is being stalked by her father, in collusion with the mother, who is a witch by any definition of the word. The girl is 14 and has been beaten and raped for years. The cops caught the guy, but he is still free prior to trial, and is looking for the girl to silence her. Really evil parents, and the girl is a sweetheart. The other girl is 12, and she is being stalked by a couple drug addicts. Her grandmother sold her to these creeps, so they could use her for drug money. She comes from the slums of Bangkok. It is lock and load time, in case they come close to finding them. 

                Halloween is looming up, and the small ones are being told ghost stories to prime the pump, which culminates with a load in each pair of pants, activated by spooks popping up from behind tombs. The laundry ladies hate this party. God bless you all!
               Father Mike

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