November 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

    For Americans, Thanksgiving is a sacred tradition where people gorge on turkey, trimmings, stuffing, pie and Rolaids. We Redemptorists, Thai, Vietnamese and Americans will continue that tradition over here at our annual November meeting. We are having special meetings Thanksgiving week to prepare to become an independent Province. It will be one more year (2010) before the task is completed.

   The new school year has started, and the older kids spent their weekends harvesting rice. The younger ones haul the bundles to be tied and then they load the bundles on trucks to be taken to the threshing area. When the kernels are deemed sufficiently dry, a little thresher mounted on a pick up frame chugs in to thresh. The straw is saved for our animals, and the rice is stored in our granary, to be milled and eaten. We also planted a lot of regular rice (in comparison to sticky rice, which northeasterners usually eat). The older girls demand this, because they claim fat people like old Uncle Mike eat sticky rice. Regular rice, they say, keeps them slim and trim. I have news for them. “Thunder thighs and hippo-hips” are passwords of the day for them and almost all of my staff.

   Saturday October 31, we held All Souls Day Mass in the Don Wai cemetery. Loads of people came from all around to honor their dead, even some Buddhist families who have some teenagers buried there. Sarnelli House has five children buried in a fenced off area of the cemetery. People bring food, rice, fruit and soft drinks to eat after the Mass is finished and the graves are individually blessed. I was trying to chase my drooling flock of 165 (even babies like Maggie and Kaen came) but the villagers told me to sit them down, since they made plenty of food. It is always a nice get-together, since relatives come from afar as Bangkok.

   That evening, we had our annual Halloween party, which starts with skits and costume parades, and then a pizza and ice cream supper. Then, the kids head out to the cemetery to try to gross out the little ones and then march down a deserted lane to our 9 rai orchard. They return to sing, dance and scarf down more food, pop and candy before heading home. Sunday Nov. 1 was the Mass in the Viengkhuk cemetery.

   A few days ago, a lady doctor and some nurses and workers came to give us a lovely 12 year old girl named “Mae”, who has TB of the lymph glands and AIDS. It was great to see the love and concern these women gave her; keeping her in the hospital for 6 weeks, so that relatives intent on getting her land and house (everyone died from AIDS in the family). We are on the lookout if these dirtballs show up.

   The children, Catholic, Buddhist and Animist, pray for you at evening prayer every night at Sarnelli House. Again, thank you so much for your interest and great generosity towards these kids.

Father Mike CSsR

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