August 2013

The rainy season here in Northeast Thailand has been a good one – so good that the mosquitoes have taken advantage of the water everywhere and Dengue Fever has stricken a number of the children and staff at Sarnelli House. This season 16 children have visited the doctor with high fevers, tiredness, lethargy and no appetite -  they all had blood tests and were found to be positive for Dengue Fever. Some had to be hospitalized for 3 -4 days and have their blood checked regularly to monitor for signs of bleeding that could be fatal. Thankfully none of the children had the bleeding variety of Dengue Fever and all have recovered - their resilience is astounding. 4 staff had  Dengue Fever also and had to have almost 2 weeks off work to recuperate.  

With Fr Shea is in the USA shaking the money tree alongside Fr Chuck and Fr Dave Polek, those great supporters of Sarnelli House, and Fr Ole in Europe, the staff at Sarnelli House with the help of Br Keng, Br Tik and Fr Joe are in full farming mode, and everyone has been working hard to keep Sarnelli House functioning as normal. 

Although it is still muddy and wet,  we are coming to the end of the rainy season and  there are now more outbreaks of sun, and clothes can be dried and muddy roads have hardened slightly so that they are passable once more. The rain has caused new life to sprout everywhere and everything is green and seems to be growing before your eyes. The rice has been successfully planted on Jomp’s Farm and with all the rain the weeds are growing alongside the young rice saplings. As no pesticide or weed killer is used on the farm, the weeds have to be pulled out by hand – here’s where the staff and teenagers do their weekend work. Amidst the usual cries of protestation from the girls, one day of the weekend has been spent out in the fields saving the upcoming rice harvest from being strangled by weeds.

Work continues with the livestock and the pigs and chickens are slaughtered to feed the hungry hordes. Recently 150 new black chickens have been bought to replenish the diminishing chicken stock.

At school half yearly exams are now over and the cramming and panic of kids trying to remember what they have learnt has stopped.

Mothers Day known as the Queens’ Birthday in Thailand is coming up next week and it will be a bitter sweet time for most of the children at Sarnelli House as they face the loss of their mothers from sickness, death or abandonment. The housemothers however will do a wonderful job of helping the kids to assuage some of their loss and grief with extra helpings of love and care.   

All the kids and staff send their love to Fr Shea as he prepares to undergo some health procedures and to Fr Ole as he works with the Redemptorists in Ireland to secure funding for Sarnelli House.  We wish them both a speedy return home at the end of the month.

Kate Introna 

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