September 2021 Update

After three months, we finally got what looks like a short monsoon season. The monsoons usually begin in late May, not late August. Up to this point, there was flooding north of us in China, and south of us in the Malay Peninsula, but we would get only sparse showers. The rice looked pretty pitiful, but has recovered somewhat. And for this, we are very grateful. Thanks to a lovely donor in Hawaii, we have a flock of chickens and ducks. So, the kids have at least eggs, vegetables from out gardens, fish and rice. We have only 4 mama pigs, and had them artificially inseminated. If the process didn’t work, we will try again. We don’t dare buy any piglets to raise, since there is a swine virus in Southeast Asia, and don’t want to take a chance. 

    That ends the rustic report! Covid, the Delta variant, has reached the Northeast, and especially the provinces along the Mekong River, which were spared the virus for 18 months. The vaccine rollout is really slow. Only about 9% of the Thai are vaccinated, and recently,  the Nongkhai province got 65 jabs of Pfizer. The Health Department has promised 65 jabs for Sarnelli House’s older kids. We have 62 kids, but no one believes we will get the vaccine, because American vaccine is said to be better than the Chinese stuff, and rich people and officials are buying up the vaccine for themselves. Around the beginning of the month, I was talking to a young lady. I did not have a mask and have not been vaxxed. The lady was suspected of having Covid, so I was put in a 2 week quarantine. She later was tested and proclaimed Covid free, but I had finished my 2 week sentence by then. Thank God, the kids and staff are still safe.

    The best news is that Brian O’Riordan is back from Ireland, and doing work that the rest of us are incapable of. His wife Kate is not only nurse, Mother of many, writer of the monthly newsletter, but also keeps up on the histories of each child. With my mental talents fading , it is great to see them, plus Brother Keng and Father James taking responsibility for much of the work. God had indeed blessed Sarnelli House.

    We are desperately waiting for schools to open up again. The kids are restless and I accused some of the older girls of practicing pole vaulting to get over the fence at night. It will be great to see the school trucks rolling down the road, and the house mothers, and older kids helping them, get some rest and relaxation during the day. But babies are still in the pipeline. We made the government put the newcomers in quarantine and checked carefully for signs of Covid. With all the kids we have who are HIV positive, I am not taking any chances.

    Finally, please stay safe, careful and healthy. We pray for all of you every evening at the children’s night prayer, and at their Saturday morning Mass.

Father Mike, and all the staff and kids


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