April 2018 Update


              April 13-16 was traditional Thai New Year, with all the Buddhist countries in the area celebrating as well. The temperatures were high, and the parched earth was rewarded with a big storm that turned grass green and put out fires, and cooled the weather down considerably. I am recovering from a stroke, so don’t type so well, and my letters tend to be short. My right hand does not work as well as it should so my letters are not very interesting. I am lucky in that one of our volunteers from Maastrict, Holland is a Physical Therapy trainer, and he drives me to exhaustion every week. But it is working!

              Here, we tend to sit on our laurels, until something happens. At Viengkhuk, alongside property where we built and renovated three houses for the junior high school girls of Sarnelli (currently 21 of them) the government recently built a 4 lane highway, which took away the drainage ditch that sent monsoon water to the Mekong. They also claim some property, which is actually owned by the diocese and not us. Any compensation will go to the diocese, and the diocese is gearing up to sell their land there. So, I am building a new house for these kids in the tiny village of Don Wai, next to our Nazareth House for senior high school girls and college girls. We think we got enough donations to finish the house by the middle of May, but the construction workers took the week off to celebrate Songkran, so we might not make the deadline.    

              Other than that major distraction, the children are relatively healthy, and the school year has  come to an end. This means two months of kids wandering the lanes and trails around the villages, looking for excitement and adventure. Older kids are off taking exams to get into the school they have chosen. We just pray the kids stay safe, and that we get the chance to give them some trips and treats.

              A couple of our girls are working construction on the new building. Awn and Pawb are mixing cement and sending the mud to the plasterers. They hope to lose a little weight in the process. I was hoping some of our other girls would follow suit, but little interest was shown. Two other girls are working in a restaurant and another at a local supermarket, however. Some of the boys have taken jobs planting trees and plants, and all these kids put their salaries in their bank accounts to hold for the future.

              Last week we took in a 5 day old baby boy. The young mother had taken a lot of drugs in Bangkok and her brains are fried and the husband isn’t the brightest bulb in the box. The mother would not breastfeed the boy, which might have been a good thing. The boy drinks gallons of milk and sleeps a lot.              

              Again, thank you. We appreciate all the kindness and interest you have shown these kids. We tell them to thank people like you by living good lives; being kind and generous, and to be a help to society in general. In the meantime, we pray for you and yours. By prayer and being good people like you is their only way to thank you for your interest and generosity.

Fr. Mike

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