July 2020 Update

Dear friends of Sarnelli House,

    Thailand has had only 58 deaths from the coronavirus, so they are opening schools starting today. The kids are actually looking forward to going back, even the boys. The lockdown kind of got to us all.

    One week ago, we had a scare. Electric lines caused a fire under the roof of Jan and Oscar where the grade school girls live. Some Power and Light people were working in the village, and came to help. Smoke was pouring out over the eaves, and they used axes to open up the roof. A huge volume of smoke and sparks issued forth, together with a huge green snake, birds, and lizards. Those electric guys came sailing down the ladder to avoid the snake. Thankfully, only a big bird nest caught fire. But to hear the little girls tell it, the incident rivaled the Great Chicago Fire. The fire burned all the rubber or plastic off the wire running in, so we had to pay to replace it, because the fire was on our property, and didn’t start on the main lines running down the road.

    All of our kids who were laid off or fired during the pandemic got back to Sarnelli. They had some harrowing tales to tell about their treks home, since most of them weren’t paid, and there were no buses or trains running. They all had to go into quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. They ate like wolves and rested a lot. Some of the girls asked me for help to take some courses during this time that pertained to work. Jobs are scarce here right now, and it is optimum time to study. A couple girls left us, since they got jobs in 7/11s. I remember taking them in when they were so small and sick, and now they are grown, healthy  and mature. It still was hard to see them go.

    We bought bikes for every house that held kids able to ride. The boys at Sarnelli House proper take long rides and are collecting helmets, glove and riding shirts. The girls bike to various houses to help with babies and rug rats.

    On the 29th of June, the feast of the Mother of Perpetual Help, we had Mass in our chapel (after nearly 3 months) and have a big party for the kids and staff. The menu was pork and noodles, ice cream and cake and Coke. This was our first party in three months.
    Our nurse Kate was released from quarantine in Sydney and is now getting checked and diagnosed to see if she needs an operation on her back. Everyone misses Kate, and especially her husband Brian.

    Again, God bless you! All our 157 kids are healthy and we hope you are all safe and well!

Fr. Mike


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