August 2009

Hello friends,

This month we had another new addition to the House of Hope. Previously it seemed that the new House of Hope opened in 2008 was built on a very large scale, but now the method in The Rev’s madness is clear. He could foresee the ongoing need for a warm welcome and a shelter for children in need. Little Kaen is a 6 month old boy from Nong Seng up in the mountains where the children go camping every New Year. His mother is 17 years old and the eldest of 5 siblings the youngest is just 18 months old. Kaen’s father has left. They all live together with their parents in what can only be called a 3 walled shack built above the mud, tied together with rope and string. The floor has gaps in it and the roof leaks when it rains. All they possess are clothes. Kaen’s grandfather picks up what work he can day by day; planting rice or working in the fields, but there is very little permanent work available. The family has no land and no home of their own. Kaen’s mother felt she couldn’t care for him and with her mother already caring for a toddler they wanted to give him away. The Outreach Program will help out with food for the family and if funds allow, try to buy them their own land that they can work and grow enough vegetables, chickens etc for themselves, with the goal of eventually selling their produce to make a living. Little Kaen now brings the total number of children at House of Hope to 21. All are growing in mischief amidst much laughter and love.

This month Tadum was surprised with the great gift of a Tandem Bicycle – a bicycle built for two. It’s amazing how generous people, can think alike. Amongst other generous visitors, we had Angelique and Ben from The Netherlands here for 3 weeks, they always come with many practical ideas and are passionate in wanting to improve the lives of the children and adults at Sarnelli, and have generously raised money for the building of the new Clinic beside Sarnelli House. They came up with a great idea of a Tandem Bike for Tadum who is blind and can’t ride a bike like the rest of her friends. They happened to be in Chiang Mai and went to a bicycle shop that happened to be owned by a Dutchman who happened to be browsing the internet looking for Tandem bikes to buy. Ben immediately told him the plight of Tadum, he ordered a bike to be made in China and to be sent over. Angelique and Ben left on Saturday 15th August to go back to Europe and on the same Saturday afternoon a fellow Dutch countryman turned up at Sarnelli with a Tandem bike in the back of his truck. Tadum is delighted and so are the designated front seat drivers. So it’s around the village with beaming Tadum as the constant on the back seat, and a change of drivers at every pit stop.

Bomb the young 14 year old girl with TB and AIDS, who Fr Mike has written about before, and who came to live with her Mum near Sarnelli is doing well. The TB in her neck has healed up and she is putting on a bit more weight, although she has been having a difficult time emotionally. Her mother has found a new boyfriend in Mau U’s dad, and has moved in with him, which meant Bomb was living by herself at night. When Bomb was encouraged to either live with her Mum or at Nazareth House she refused. From the other side of the world came the order to get her to Sarnelli House pronto. A meeting was held between Bomb, her mum, her new boyfriend and the senior staff at Sarnelli. Poor Bomb, all she wanted was things to be as they were before and to be with her Mum, but her Mum was very direct in saying to her that she had to have her own life now. Bomb couldn’t stop crying, it seemed she had experienced so much upheaval in her life and here was another separation to overcome. However, she eventually agreed that she would move to Sarnelli. The plan is for her to start back at school and eventually move in with the girls her own age at Nazareth House. Bomb is now slowly settling in at Sarnelli, although she remains aloof at times from the littler kids’ activities. On the weekend I saw her laughing and running with the other kids which was a great sight, and like all the children here, God willing, she will slowly come to know she is loved and accepted.

All the kids are eager for Fr Mike to be home. At Sarnelli House I am asked 2 -3 times a day “ …when will Fr Shea be home ?” I tell them the end of the month and they go capering off filled with that pent up excitement that can only be expressed by jumping and skipping. So safe trip home Fr Mike, your kids eagerly await your return. I think they can already smell the pizza party.


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