May 2021 Update

    In the seminary, about 65 years ago, we had a song “Tis the merry month of May”. Well, there isn’t too much merriment this year! Covid has finally reached the Mekong River, after being in the country for way over a year. Being an old man with health issues, I am pretty well locked down at my house out in the rice fields. Thank God I have some exercise equipment out there, and am able to cook my own meals. Covid was pretty well tamped down for nearly a year. But now a variant is here, and everyone has to mask up, and you can’t get into any store or bank, or even a hospital or doctor’s office, church or temple, without a temperature check and a hand washing with some sticky goop.

    The economy here sucks big time, thanks to the government’s inability to purchase enough vaccine. Americans are said to be flying back to the U.S., in order to receive vaccine injections. Almost of our kids who finished studying and went out to get jobs have returned; laid off work and penniless. I have them working on the farm and in the vegetable gardens, helping in kitchens and with the babies and rug rats at the nursery. In return, the get room and board, food and medicals, plus a salary, which is usually 2/3 of what they would make outside. Right now, we have 21 of them! The kids are really lucky that a family in Atlanta is helping with their support money and medicals.

    The children, about 140 of them, have differing feelings about not being able to spend the school vacation time (which has been expanded by about 3 weeks) going to the mall or movies or Waterworld, etc. The boys take it in stride, but the girls resent the rules and most are having the vapors and foaming at the mouth about the government regulations. Every once and a while, I will hear a herd of them clomping up the stairs, coming to blame me for their predicament. I point out that I don’t work for the Public Health Department, but that doesn’t stop them from snarling and growling.

    The kids were supposed to go camping on April 16, but the police and army have checkpoints to keep people from going from one province to another, and they certainly would fine a couple of trucks loaded with kids, and send them back home. We are hoping they lift the lockdown in May, and the kids will then have the opportunity to go camping. I just hope the mullahs in the government don’t forbid the sale of beer, like they did for 3 months last year.

    You are assured of the children’s prayers, and stay safe and healthy! God bless you!

Fr. Mike, Fr. James, Brother Keng and staff

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