March 2020 Update

    The children are almost all out of school. So we have two months planning activities and riding herd on over 150 kids. They all have their special wants and needs, and workers on our aging staff are hard put to stay up with them. Just so that no one, child or staff, gets hurt or killed!

    We are in our sixth month without a drop of rain. I have never seen the Mekong River this low, and this bodes ill for our deep water wells. Our ground water depends on the depth of the Mekong, and I am afraid we will be pumping mud soon. Usually, we plow the rice paddies in this month, so that the first rains will soak in, and not just run off. This makes the planting of rice so much easier.  But if the weather turns out like last year, I will tell the folks to hold off until we actually get a couple of rain storms. I don’t want to waste money preparing the paddies if we will not get sufficient rain to sustain growing rice. We will need every baht we can get just to buy rice. The price of milled rice has already doubled, and will continue to rise. We feed about 200 people each meal at our 7 houses at Sarnelli, and plus that we buy all the rice, cooking oil, dried food and eggs we give to people on our Outreach Program. 

    We also have a milk program for the poor. Poor people used to be able (for a short time) to go to the nearest government clinic or health station, to get milk formula for babies. That has been halted, and poor mothers were coming in with their babies, begging for milk. Thank God that some Thai foundations and charitable organizations help us, together with money from outside the country, especially the Vatican and the Redemptorist church in Limerick, Ireland.

    Fr. Ole has started some musical bands at Sarnelli. Middle school girls with their ukuleles sing while playing English language ballads, and the boys band has a 9 year old as head singer. Fr. Ole manages to bring hidden talents out of the children, in soccer as well. One of our lads is studying and playing for a youth team owned by the Rayong Soccer Club.

    This past month Kate has been a whirling Dervish, what with nursing our sick children, arranging lodging and meals and other work at our guest house, and pounding out her Spring newsletter. Brian and Brother Geng are working on schools and lodging for our graduates, as they climb the scholastic ladder to a higher level. Brian is writing donors as we hunt for help with our education expenses. Fr. Ole has been appointed superior of the Redemptorist community in  Khon Kaen (about a three hour drive south of us), and he is the man in charge of financials of the Thai-Lao Province, which is alone nearly full time work. And he also takes time to come to stay and work at Sarnelli House. Everyone is praying that he stays healthy, what with all that work and running around. 

May God bless you and we pray for you all, daily!
Father Mike

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