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I hope everyone had a good Halloween. We took our kids to my parish in the Nongbualampoo foothills. I have a parish up there with a huge lawn. I built a big pavilion, bathrooms and toilets, and a huge water reservoir to catch rain water. The kids camped out with their ghost masks, etc. Kids made themselves up to look hideous. The wee ones, who were experiencing their first Halloween were scared out of their wits. They responded by peeing in their tents, being too afraid of meeting a goblin in the dark toilets. But, for the most part, everyone had a good time. Two days later, school opened for the second semester.

I have had a king-size case of shingles for two months now, and I hope the end is near, one of these days. Since I caught the shingles from a girl with AIDS, I was quarantined for 30 days, not allowed to hold or play with the kids. It is almost as bad as malaria. We are having nice weather and it is hard to sit and watch other people work. In fact, I am slowly going nuts, just drinking green tea and a restricted diet of gruel I usually wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole.

We currently have 53 children afflicted with AIDS, plus another group of 6 kids too small for the AIDS blood test. We just took in a little Lao girl of 4 years old. Her mother, a lovely young thing was working at the Good Shepherd sewing center, but she decided she could make more money by returning to her former profession. I woke up last week to find Miss Jieb sobbing on the steps of my house. Ma was long gone. But Jiep has settled right down and she is going to kindergarten. She needs to go to a dentist too. That will be a real thrill. Now, I have to figure out a way to get her Thai citizenship.

Miss Lyn has been to the gates of heaven more often than any child we ever took in. She has been in and out of the hospital, and although she eats a lot and her intestinal problems have been solved, she is still terribly thin. She is a lovely gifted girl, but TB and AIDS have ravaged her severely. She is quite a painter and I am always coaxing her to paint. Right now, she is recovering, praise God, and finally putting on weight. She is eating like a wolf.

Our two latest little girls were allocated to us by the police and courts. 11 year old Miss Lay and 7 year old Miss Bob were brutally abused and raped. Lay was abused by her natural father for 5 years and had no known relatives to take her in. Bob's folks refused to leave Bangkok and come up when she was hospitalized. It took a while for them to adjust, but they are now content and happy at Our Lady of Refuge house in Viengkhuk, with their 32 other friends.

The 17 boys at St. Patrick's Home stay busy. They raise pigs and chickens and fish. They are all country boys, abandoned by AIDS parents who either died or just disappeared. All the kids have been harvesting rice. We have a lot of rice to harvest, since some people in the village gave us their rice fields to plant and harvest. They ask for nothing in return. They are too old to do the fields, and their children have left to work elsewhere. In some cases, it is like the story of the widow's mite.

God bless you all!

Father Shea
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