October 2019 Update

October, 2019

This is the time of year that the sun is scorching hot in a cloudless sky. The nights are cooling down, and early mornings are cool and breezy. Perfect weather for rice that has headed out, and the weather would be ripening the kernels. However, in this northern part of Issan, as it is called, we never had monsoon weather so our rice endured drought as other parts of the country endured floods. The kids have eaten all the glutinous (sticky) rice we harvested last year and kept in our granary. Sticky rice is hard to find in the market, and the price of rice bought by the kilo has nearly doubled. What with scarce rain, our rice paddies are choked with weeds. I forbade spraying, because spray for sale here is extremely toxic, and makes the sprayer very sick if they don’t wear rubber boots and gloves, and wear a mask and protective glasses. The spray gets into the food chain and drinking water, and many people get sick and die from the poisonous concoction. At any rate, no rice means no grist to feed our fish, animals and poultry. No straw for our Brahmin cattle to eat, means no manure for our fertilizer machine to make pellets for next year’s attempt to grow rice. We have no irrigation system in our area, so we are truly frustrated.

               Last month we lost our beloved Housemother, Grandma Wan. In early October, we got word that a man from De Pere Wisconsin had suddenly died. Shawn Mulhern came to visit 2002, and he returned to make videos of the work, so we could show them to folks who would otherwise have not seen the people and the children for whom we work. Shawn got us mission appeals from a few churches in the De Pere area; especially St. Francis Xavier parish in De Pere itself. We offered Mass for Shawn with the staff and children at the Children’s Mass on October 5.

               This month schools closed in Thailand after the first semester. We have over 30 kids studying away in various colleges and vocational schools, plus about 16 rug rats and babies at the House of Hope. That leaves about 115 kids ready for excitement and adventure. Some 10 volunteers from Holland came to put off a Field Day for the kids. It was ungodly hot, but many of our younger staff joined the kids in fun and games.

               Our pregnant girl is due next month. She stays at the House of Hope. We brought her up when she was a very young child. She went out to study and work and did not continue taking her ARV medicine, and then got pregnant. The doctors at the University hospital are monitoring her progress in taking new medicine. The grade school girls who live next to the House of Hope help with the babies during the vacation break. They fight to hold and feed a bottle of formula to a baby, who doesn’t always appreciate the attention!   

               One of our first housemothers who retired last year, is back working with our young lads, planting a huge vegetable garden. But it is quite complicated, and veggies are growing in what looks like cupcake holders. A water tower has been erected, and we will have our own irrigation system with water and liquid fertilizer flowing to gardens in the rice paddies nearby. Years ago, I received a grant from some Irish and dug a huge deep fish pond that we didn’t use for years. I remember we had a heck of a job getting the back hoe out of the pond, since ground water was rushing in. Several farmers nearby assured me we would not go without water, since ground water will always be there. Peh and her young lads are already furnishing the various houses with vegetables. They are still plowing and preparing vegetable beds. This project will save us a lot of money, which can be used to help buy rice for the runts to consume.

               Here’s hoping everyone has a happy Halloween, and we pray for you and your intentions every evening. God bless you all!

Father Mike

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