March 2015

Being an Irish fellow, I’d like the start out by wishing everyone a Happy St. Paddy’s day! I have tried brain washing our urchins into being “Irish” with a party on that date, but some of our young maidens snarled at me “we wouldn’t be caught dead in green!” When they were younger, they would happily take any color of clothes, just so the stuff was new and would fit. My efforts to make them Green Bay Packer fans also failed.

School is out; and the kids are out of school, save for a few senior high kids, who will be starting their “summer” vacation in a week or so. Quite a few of the younger kids will start their summer school at Rosario School. Some of these kids had brain damage from cerebral meningitis; others were hurt by the earlier type of Anti-Retroviral drugs, and I guess some are just dumb. Other kids, older now, will be going to stay with relatives for a couple weeks. Each kid gets bus fare back to us, if it doesn’t work out. A couple years ago, when we first started this experiment, one of our lovely young girls was delivered to her relatives, and nearly beat the van back to Sarnelli House. She was told how bad her mother was, and people openly wondered if she would be the same, etc. We also have no idea where the relatives of some of these kids are. In two cases this year, though, we found the mother of one boy and the father of another. Both thought their children dead, and were overwhelmed to see the child, and immediately took them right in.

On a grimmer note, this is the first year we have had a deficit budget. We lost three big donors last year, and some foundations have told us that they are overwhelmed with groups like us seeking financial help, and turned us down. So, we have a six million baht ($150,000) deficit. Fr. Ole is working on plans to reduce expenses, and it would be much worse, if we did not have the farm. We have two big expense sheets we never had before. One is the huge influx of young girls, 11, 12, 13 years old; all molested, raped and threatened by close relatives or family friends. Some men with AIDS also believe that they will be cured, if they pass on the virus to a young virgin.  Also, our program for pregnant girls, accepting their babies and finding them jobs or bankrolling their schooling, so as to stop them from killing their babies via abortion, is a big chunk out of the budget. And, although the courts and Welfare Departments give us these kids, they do not help with any financial support whatsoever.

So, in retrospect, maybe we should not have begun these programs. But we are Redemptorists, and I think we have an obligation to help the orphan, the lost, the destitute and the most abandoned. We definitely need to renew our trust in the Lord, and also look at the faces of these children, and see how happy and fulfilled they are. We are so thankful for our sponsors and donors. We really appreciate the sacrifice of our workers. They are simple, good people; and are the surrogate parents for the children who have no one who really care for them. We are not a business, so will never be able to sit pat on our wealth. But God gave folks like you who love and sacrifice for them. And, for this, we give fervent thanks.

Father Mike

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