October 2017 Update

Hello from wet, dank, damp Sarnelli House! Usually, we report on sick children, but now some of our staff are ill. Gung, our super woman who has her finger on everything and is number two in charge and amazingly everyone respects her, gave birth to a still born baby girl. She is home, grieving and recovering slowly. Dtuk, who is preparing to be secretary for our Sarnelli House Foundation, found out at her young age that she has cancer in her thyroid gland, and has undergone two operations.  

              So far, we have had a great monsoon season. The monsoons should begin to wind down soon, leaving huge potholes in the roads, and jungle-like trails leading into the fields and paddies. Hopefully, we will have a bumper crop of rice and straw again this year, and then fix the roads.       

              One of our girls, Miss Wan Phen had finished her studies and left us to seek her fame and fortune. She was one of 3 girls who were stoned and chased from school and through a village, while in 4th grade. Their sin? All three were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. (Two of these girls are still with us, and still studying. Wonderful girls). The governor of that province asked us to take the girls, and now they are in college, save for Wan Phen, who came back to join us, while 6 months pregnant. Her husband, a really nice kid, was working construction in Cambodia, and joined her shortly thereafter. I hired Wan Phen as a cook, and her husband joined our little band of caretakers; guys who cut grass; clean the swimming pool; lay tile; weld, do plumbing, and other repair jobs. Wan Phen delivered a baby boy, and now the baby, together with 4 other babies from the House of Hope, plus 4 boys from Sarnelli House, were baptized Saturday.   

              Despite the torrential rains and a muddy, treacherous road into the 12 rai site, Auhn and his construction workers are steadily building the second cottage for boys. The road is one kilometer (5/8 mile), and if a vehicle is going in and one coming out, one of the vehicles has to back all the way out. No room to pass, and no place to get off the road so the other vehicle can pass. I have had to back out twice to let a truck in, and we have to do something about that. (I was thinking of buying a motorcycle, but word got out and I was told that in no way was I to ride a motorcycle anywhere, being that I am in my 80th year.) We are still waiting for the Power and Light people to come out and hook up electricity. Soon, we can repair the road, and begin to furnish the cottages and the main house, and also drill another well, and put up a water tower. And, of course, clear the 5 foot high elephant grass and begin working up the garden area. 

              Fr. Ole has been transferred to our International School in Minburi, but makes regular trips up to give us invaluable help. We really miss him. Fr. Ghee has now moved to the rectory at Pai Si Tong, and is pastor of 4 villages. I am his assistant for Masses, sick calls, etc. Brother Keng has finished his University courses, and is now waiting for word on his diploma. Our three German volunteers are working hard; two girls with kindergarten boys at St. Patrick’s, and Noah stays at Sarnelli House. A few other volunteers have joined us for a few weeks at a time. Brian and Kate continue to be vital cogs that keep the machinery of Sarnelli running smoothly. Brian is our fund raiser, and teaches English at various houses, and Kate is our experienced nurse, and does many other things, including our Newsletter. Kate is also our conscience, and thus has earned the nickname “Mother Superior”! 

              We hope this letter finds all the friends of Sarnelli House in good health and we pray for you daily!

God bless you and yours!

Father Mike

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