May 2013 update

 The children are enjoying their two month school break, and the folks on the staff are grimly counting the days until they get them back in school. As folks on the other side of the world suffer through snowstorms and chilling weather, we on this side are suffering from intense heat. We had to change the water in the swimming pool, because the showers did not work, and no one told me that there was a broken water pipe. Now, 5 kids are suffering from ear aches, and I personally think the chlorine is not keeping up with the volume of urine in the pool. I’d swim in a water buffalo wallow before going in that pool!

Work on Sarnelli House (the boys’ section) continues. The roof is safely on. That wing has been completely rewired by professionals, and next will be the new ceiling. The 80 children from Sarnelli are scattered around to other houses, and the girls are doing fine with their elder sisters, but the little boys are finding out that the older boys at Jan & Oscar are not amused when they draw on the walls or start fires all over the place. Some of the weaker-minded boys are budding arsonists. The staff usually confiscates their cigarette lighters and admonishes them. The J&O boys pound the daylights out of them. The latter method seems to work much better.

Both of our retaining ponds have been dug. Now we are waiting for God to give us rain. The ground water level is dangerously low, and three of our fish ponds are dry. The folks here bought a 12 rai piece of paddy land last July while I was home, and the rice yield was only 6 bags of unmilled rice. This year, we will load the land with our fertilizer pellets, and hopefully will have enough water for a bounty crop.

One of our calves is a heifer whose mother died in “calfbirth”. A lovely old lady down the road is raising it for us. My cousin Michael O’Connor came over for a visit with his wife, and brought the calf “Mary” a big plastic bottle and big rubber nipples from Fleet & Farm. We raise Brahmin cattle. Mary only knows humans, and the old lady doesn’t want her to return to the herd Mary does not know until she gets bigger, for fear they will injure her internally if they slam into her with their horns. I remember my dad warning my brother Jack and I to be careful of heifers or yearlings that are used to humans, because they can kill you while they are playing. Mary doesn’t have horns yet, but she nailed me in the hip, and I now know why people get hip replacements.

May the Risen Lord bless you and yours!

Fr. Mike

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