April 2021 Update

Happy Easter!

    The hot season ushered in Easter this year, with heat indexes up to 110 degrees F. And worse is yet to come. Sarnelli has a new priest, just ordained, who took Holy Week services at Don Wai, helping the pastor. Fr. James also had services at the Sarnelli House chapel for the children. Most of the kids will have their last day of school on April 5. I took the opportunity to make an 8 day retreat during Holy Week.

    We had a joyful welcome for our Aussie nurse Kate Introna and her husband Brian on Palm Sunday. Kate has been gone for nearly a year, and Brian for close to five months. Time will tell if Brian can renew his work visa. Kate will stay until June and then she has to return home, to start the visa process all over again. I thought that making Sarnelli House a Thai Foundation would help us in securing work visas for volunteers, but obviously that is not the case. We are still hostage to the bloated beaurocracy of the Immigration people.

    Work and cleanup from the March 5 storm continues. Our workers and kids are re-roofing houses as quickly as possible. The pastor and villagers decided to cut the eucalyptus trees down to about 3 meters, and they are huge trees that re-grow fast. Those trees were on church ground, but ran along our fenceline. Well, they sawed and dumped tree trunks and huge branches right in the play area of Sarnelli House. Thank God school will be out soon. The older boys can saw up and get villagers who make charcoal haul away the wood. The villagers wanted me to help pay for the company that came in with an extended arm and crow’s nest to saw from the top down. When I saw where they dropped the trees and branches, I was very uncharitable and profane in my refusal.

    Our little baby boy is still in the hospital, and although he still has convulsions, the doctor is quietly optimistic that he will live. We have some other kids at the House of Hope who have similar problems, and some of them are the result of botched abortions. Doctors and nurses do tell women that there is an option to an abortion, and that option is a home for the child at Sarnelli House. I don’t know how many women refuse to reject the idea of an abortion, but we do get unwanted babies. Some of the girls, when they grow up, find out that they are suddenly wanted again. I don’t have any charity for people who show up to demand a girl. Often, the girl has no idea of who these people are. Girls are wanted for their dowry price, and also for work. I run people like that down the road pretty quickly.

    Thai New Year is always celebrated from April 13-15, although the throwing of water and talcum powder usually starts on April 12 through April 16. For the second year in a row, the government has forbidden the celebration. Eating and drinking in groups, gambling, water fights, etc., are all forbidden. Along the Mekong River, we still have no cases of Covid, but the decree forbidding fun is nationwide. Go figure.

    God bless all, and stay safe and healthy!

Father Mike, the staff and children.

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