April 2014


As a callow youth, I remember the Burma Shave signs along highway 45, east of Eden, Wisconsin. “Spring has sprung, grass has riz, where last year’s careless drivers is”. We are happy to report that generous donations from all you folks are continuing to keep the runts of Sarnelli House fed and watered! Actually, they are, for the most part, no longer runts. They are growing like weeds, and eating like wolves. Kids that were babies and wee ones when we first started taking them in 15 years ago, are now taller than me, and proud of it. Me, I am shrinking with old age, and proving myself not the sharpest tack in the box. They are computer whizzes, and get on Facebook and Twitter and all those other social networks that I can only read about. But I can take them to the gym, and out lift them all, at the age of 75!

The two month spring break is here. Kids who finished M. 6, and are on their way to college or vocational school, number about 25 kids, both from Sarnelli and our Outreach Program. But they won’t start school in May anymore. Thailand is changing their schedule to copy all the other school times in ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations). ASEAN kids will be able to study in Universities and colleges here, and Thai kids can study in ASEAN schools. So, those kids will start school in August sometime. So, we will have lots of help in our little fertilizer factory, until August!

Fr. Ole and Brother Dtic took 16 teenage girls and three housemothers to a Karen village in Chiengmai province. Word has it that the girls ralphed up their cookies throughout the mountain hairpin curves, and the kids were calling the drivers “Captain Ole” and “Captain Dtic”. I don’t know if they were being sarcastic or not. All I know is, one of those vehicles, now reeking with vomit, is mine.

Father Ole, Brothers Dtic and Keng have mixed up the kids in various houses. We always separated them by gender and health, but since our children with HIV/AIDS are quite healthy now, we re-arranged the kids into schools and schedule. Older boys (M. 4 and up) stay at Jan & Oscar. Younger boys stay at St. Patrick, and grade school kids of both sexes stay at Sarnelli. Older girls stay at Nazareth House, and their younger friends stay at Viengkhuk. The babies and kindergarten kids still stay at the House of Hope. This move takes place on May 1, and we are finding out which housemothers are unpopular with the kids. An announcement about the transfer of a house mother was greeted with applause and cheers, until some of the kids found out they would be accompanying her. I had nothing to do with this, but found myself being followed by teen age girls, breathing threats of Jihad. I guess they figure I could stop the transfers, if I really wanted to.

We are to take in four girls with AIDS in the next few weeks. So, as some kids graduate or find jobs and move on, there are kids ready to join us. It is comforting to see children come in, ill, friendless and abandoned by relatives, and then sink into the comfort, care and concern of the staff and kids. I really wish that all our sponsors and friends could witness this transformation. Folks sacrifice so much, but do not get to see the results.

Again, thank you and God bless you! We hope you have a blessed, happy, and warm Easter, with spring finally sprung!

Fr. Mike

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