September 2020 Update

September 2020

    I can’t recall a duller month than this August. No kids got seriously sick or got into serious trouble. Five babies and toddlers at the House of Hope came down with Chicken Pox, but all are ok now. Even the staff stayed healthy. School continues on like in the old days, before Covid. Burma has a second wave of Covid, so provinces along the Burmese borders were closed. The death toll here remains at 58 (unchanged since June 2) and the country has seen over 3,200 cases. Some of the older girls are restless, and kicking against the goad. Thank God Brother Keng is patient and cool. Once they get into school in town, they all want to go to a boarding house, and collect money from us for support.  The latest girl came in with demands and threats, and I showed her a couple photos of her and a boy eating and swilling alcoholic drinks at a restaurant that one of her friends sent me. The restaurant and bar is in a huge complex called “Chic Chic’. It is filled with teenagers at night, and there is a lot of underage drinking and drugs being done there.
    The weather here remains unstable. Some parts of Thailand have suffered from floods, and some, like our part of the country, see intermittent rain and stunted rice stalks. My mother used to say that if I didn’t shape up, she’d slap me into next year. This year has been such a nightmare that I wish she was here to make the attempt!
    The children ask me when volunteers will come back to Sarnelli House. I think it won’t be until next year at the earliest. The government is loathe to open up, since the great majority of cases of Covid come from outside the country. The latest five who were found to have Covid were two French kids, and three young women from the Philippines who came to teach English in Thai schools.
    We are still waiting for our nurse Kate to return from Australia. Her husband Brian is torn between waiting for her, and going to Spain the visit his brother, who has brain cancer. Everything is in a frustrating hold for both of them. Fr. Ole has been transferred to Bangkok permanently, so the Redemptorist superior has promised me he will transfer a young priest to come help, sometime after New Year. So, we will wait and see…...
    We hope and pray that all of you are healthy and well, and not unduly affected by this virus, which has caused so much misery to people. Loss of health, inability to visit grandparents, parents, children, friends and considerable financial and economic losses; all because someone ate an undercooked bat or something.
    May the Good Lord keep you all safe and healthy, and may you soon be able to get out and live normal lives again!

Father Mike  

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