May 2015

Hello from hot and muggy Sarnelli House! The worst of the hot season is over, and now we wait for the coming of the monsoon season. Our fields are plowed, and the lads are busy preparing the rice beds. A huge volume of rain water is needed to fill up our fish ponds. We took a great load of huge fish from all of our ponds during the dry season, and now we need to re-seed them with various types of fish. The monsoons usually come in the latter part of May, but with el nino on the horizon, only God knows when the rains will finally come.

The little boys of Sarnelli House have taken to playing on the farm equipment behind the offices. I am about the same age now as was my grandfather, old Mike, who, 70 some years ago, used to chase us out of his machinery shed with a stick. I am now doing the same thing. At my approach, kids tumble out of the shed like the money changers in the temple. This old Mike, like his grandfather, can’t ever catch up to the little runts.

This year, quite a few kids went home for a month or so to visit relatives and even parents. Some returned within a week, missing their friends in Sarnelli. Most of the kids, however, had no place to go. Older boys and girls work and earn money for their clothes and other trinkets or phone cards they want. The boys do farm work and the girls make jewelry and work in the bakery, selling their wares.  

All of our schools for the 155 children under our care have begun the new school year. Overjoyed staff waved gaily to departing urchins, who glared balefully from the bowels of the truck hauling them off! It took weeks to buy clothes and sew names grade levels on children’s blouses. School uniforms, boy and girl scout uniforms and sports clothes and shoes are required in all Catholic and Government schools, and uniforms all must be spic and span. Hair must be cut short. Every once and a while, girls come home from school bawling and demanding that I go kick some teacher’s butt, for chopping up their long hair.

We have some long term (3 month) volunteers here. A couple from Holland and their friends built a house for themselves behind the machinery shed. They started a foundation in Holland to help the work of Sarnelli House. Ben is a physical therapist, and his wife Angelique works in a bank, and sings professionally with the “De Ja Vu” troupe. Also, Brian O’Riordan, from Cork Ireland, an English teacher is also here for three months, teaching English to our kids.

In the middle of this month, Fr. Ole will go to Switzerland and Germany for some visiting and fund raising. He will return around June 10, and I will head to the U.S. early June for the same purpose. We posited a 5 million baht deficit this year, our first ever deficit budget (US$150,000). Foundations in the U.S. that helped us along in the past either have failed or restricted their funding stateside. We are getting another infusion of little babies, and may well also have to increase our staff at the House of Hope. Time will tell if our efforts are successful in raising enough funds to keep the wolf from the door.

In conclusion, thank you so much for all you do for these kids; for your interest, kindness and concern and generous sacrifice. May the Master bless you and yours!

Fr. Mike

Go Back