August 2022 Update

Dear Friends of Sarnelli House,

I want to apologize for missing the July newsletter! Covid had struck for the fifth time at Sarnelli House. The older kids who had escaped it before caught it this time! Also, I finally caught it. I had been warned that Covid was very dangerous to old folks. The kids were lucky to get very mild cases. Some of the older staff had some serious bouts. I had a bad cough and a sore throat, with a fever. I was 10 days in quarantine, taking medicine the hospital sent out, and quietly going nuts. I consider myself lucky I had a mild form of the virus. I think we have to resign ourselves that Covid is here to stay; at least into the foreseeable future.

Other than the return of Covid, the urchins in kindergarten dragged home “Hand and Mouth” disease, a cousin of bovine “Hoof and Mouth” disease. Ugly sores, easily transmittable. With medicine and salves, it lasts about 10 days. The wee ones were hurt and confused when no one would hold them or hug them. The kids who attend that particular government run kindergarten have so far brought home head lice, scabies, Covid, and now this. I dread to think what they will bring Monkeypox home next! But there is no tuition, one free uniform and a free lunch. Privately run kindergartens are expensive and no freebies. But I think I will try to find some money to put the kids in the Catholic kindergarten, run by the Sisters of Paul de Chartres, in Viengkhuk.

On July 9, we lost a lovely woman who was my housekeeper back in 1984 in Viengkuk. She was a widow with three daughters, and was a loyal hard working woman who hardly had anything to say. In 1998, when I started Sarnelli House and had 9 kids and no place to put them, she told me I could have her little house. She would move to Pai Si Tong with relatives. She said I could pay her when I was able.  The little hovel had two rooms, one on top of the other, with a little cooking area attached to one side, and a tiny little bathroom and toilet tacked on to the other side. Before I went home to troll for shekels, I had a well drilled and re-wired the little house. It was October before I returned to pay her 80,000 baht ($2,700). Now, all three daughters work for Sarnelli House and do fabulous work. The daughters took super care of their mother while she was sick.

The monsoons have still not arrived. Our rice fields are almost all planted. We pumped from all five of our fish ponds. Now, we need rain to fill the ponds. The weather patterns are all screwed up.

I hope all are well and safe from sickness and viruses. God bless you all.

Fr. Mike, staff and kids


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