September 2009

Hello from Sarnelli House!

I have been back home in Thailand for three weeks, and it feels like three years! It was great seeing all the kids and know they are doing so well, healthwise. Maggie, our smallest runt (2 months old), is healthy but still has to get her HIV/AIDS blood tests. She is a solemn looking little thing who is healthy, but never smiles. I keep kidding her housemom Peh that Maggie is retarded. But Maggie is smart enough to start to yowl if I hold her too long! Kaen, our 7 month old baby whose teenage mother gave birth and then skipped town, is healthy and putting on weight. His grandparents are very poor and had him on sugar water. Kaen has a cousin (or aunt), about 3 1/2 years of age, who was also orphaned, so we picked her up as well. She is a lippy little thing who is afraid of no one! The family lives in the Nongbualampoo mountains, southwest of here. We have been taking these old people rice and food, and the local St. Vincent de Paul society, run by Fr. Peter Inthi, CSsR, is petitioning the government to give these people some land so they can grow a garden and build a decent house.

During this past week, we also were given a 12 year old girl named “Nook”; an 8 year old boy named “Tay”, and a 6 year old lad named “Mawk”. They are nice looking kids, and Nook is Catholic. They have different fathers, all who took off for other women, and their mother died of cancer August 25. They have two older brothers who are married, whose wives didn’t want the kids. They were scared at first, but now fit in and have friends. I often wonder what kids think and how they feel when they are rejected and abandoned by family and friends.

Our rice looks good, but we need more rain. The crop has a long way to go before harvest. We have our fish tanks, huge ones, ready to raise Pla Duk. The pigs are bought and people are muttering about swine flu. The stud pig is named “Rol”, after the friend who donated to the whole project. We also bought more chickens and ducks. I refuse to allow geese, stemming from a terrified childhood when Grandma’s ganders would chase me and peck me on top the head, and pound the poop out of me with their wings. The bucolic life kind of sucked right from day one.

Little Mimi was given us by her mother as she took ARV medicines, and tried to settle down with a job. We rented a shop for the mother and helped her buy stuff to sell. This is part of our Outreach Program. But she wound up borrowing money from people and then could not pay back. She came one day for her day out with Mimi and took off with her. We think she is with her mother in Khon Kaen. We have no rights over Mimi, but the little girl eats like a wolf, and we want to make sure she is O.K. Also, we are not sure what happens if Mimi’s mother has a turn for the worse. Mimi is half Japanese.

That is the latest from the northeast. Thank you again for your help, prayers and interest in these children and their lives.

Father Mike

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