May 2016

The kids had a nice long school vacation, and now they have gathered back here to begin the new school term, around May 16. There are clothes to be bought; names and class designations to be hand sewn on shirts and blouses. New shoes; new school bags, new boy and girl scout uniforms; new sports jerseys and pants to be bought. High school kids who join ROTC also must have their uniforms and boots bought and polished. Now that the government has opened ROTC to girls, this suddenly is an added burden! But once the crush and confusion is overcome; the kids given all their gear, an exhausted and weary crowd of housemothers gather to wave goodbye to the trucks ferrying the runts to school. The song of the day will be the Thai translation of “Oh what a Friend we have in Jesus”!

News has it that “El Nino” is going to give way to “La Nina”! This is good news for us. After New Year, it was so awfully cold that snow fell just north of us. Weeks of really cold weather and no indoor heating made me feel my advanced years. And then, near the end of February, came ungodly hot days. It was hotter here than India or Pakistan! We have days of 44-45 degree Celsius weather, with no rain or relief in sight. I hope to head home in less than three weeks, but would go home on a Sopwith Camel, just to escape the heat. (My first 16 years upcountry, I had no electricity, fans or refrigerator, and lived through it. Last week I was in the foothills of the Nongbualampoo mountains for only two days, and nearly died).

The boys are gearing up to make fertilizer. I bought a small tractor with a front end loader, so they can turn the manure easily. They were doing this by hand, and it was very unhealthy. We bought them Wellingtons and masks, but they would not use the masks, and many of them kept their boots clean, and waded in barefoot. Thanks to our Brahmin cows, we have plenty of manure, and we will buy nitrogen and potassium, etc., to mix with the fertilizer. I won’t let anyone smoke while doing this. It is a volatile mixture, until the pellets finally dry out some.

Every year, Our Kate takes 12 children (two from each house) to a luxury hotel in Hua Hin, just south of Bangkok, for 5 days. A very good friend of the children, Christopher, does this once a year. The kids sleep, eat and play in great surroundings. I understand this will be our final year, since Christopher is being transferred by his hotel chain to another country. During the last night, one of our littlest girls, Miss Maggie, woke up Kate to tell her she had to go to the bathroom. Kate got up and stepped into something suspicious and squishy. When she turned the light on, she found a long line of poop from the little girls’ bed to Kate’s. She used some of the white towels to clean up. Then, she could not wash the brown out. This, if for no other reason, should effectively seal any chance of further invitations.

God bless you, and we pray for you daily!

Father Mike


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