Before Christmas, I had warned the runts that it was going to be short rations, because of the grim state of the economy. But, thanks to so many people, they received nice gifts, and also had a big Christmas party. They partied for hours on end. I took them camping in the mountains over New Year. The boys were excited about camping out in the cold, and the older girls were whining piteously, demanding to be left alone and left home! They all have unbelievable excuses not to go! But they enjoyed themselves, despite the fact that some older boys bought 5 bottles of White Lightning (rice whiskey) and one girl got so drunk she threw up all over the kitchen. I issued a jihad against the lads and they came in to confess. (This is a stunt I was guilty of as a callow youth, so I did not shoot any hostages).
Two months ago at Sarnelli House, we picked up an 11 year old boy named "Bern" who has AIDS, and last month, two boys, one named "Man" and the other "Biah" arrived, also with AIDS. Then, just before Christmas, a crippled little guy, 6 years old, named "Kiat" ("Tadpole") joined us. It is always traumatic for these sick, orphaned little creatures, to be thrown into a herd of rodents. It doesn't take long for them to join the crowd and wallow in the trough!
Last week, a truckload of family brought a 15 year old girl to me. She was unable to walk, eat, or sleep, and had skin problems and was crying bitterly that she wanted to die. She did not want to go to a doctor, so I got up in the back of the pick up, chased the relatives and listened to her story. Her parents had died of AIDS, a few years back, and she was barely acknowledged at school, and despised in the village. This alone is bad enough for a 15 year old girl. Then, a relative raped her, and threatened her not to tell. She wound up with AIDS herself, and just wanted to die. It was a good week of work, love, encouragement and understanding. Today, she told me she wants to stay and live here at Nazareth House. Her grandma is with her and loves her. Grandma is amazed at the progress she made. Little does she know.
One of my girls is a lovely young 18 year old lady who, months ago, fed her Our Lady of Refuge friends a bottle of booze. (I found out when they were lined up on the pavilion, blowing their cookies after sucking down a bottle of Old Outhouse). She fled before I could kill her, and arrived on my porch on New Year's night, all tears, thin, and begging forgiveness and a new start. She was working as a waitress for 110 baht a day, and studying until midnight for school. So, she is back in the fold, forgiven, but in a boarding house in town. I have two more like her, but they are not as audacious. This girl comes from the slums of Bangkok. Three more months, and she graduates from high school. She wants to go to beautician school, if she doesn't wind up in jail first
We also had a Christmas party for our 55 OUTREACH kids, but over 100 tykes showed up, hopeful of gifts and a good meal. We were prepared for an overflow, and Santa gave them all heavy jackets and other gifts, plus a big bag of candy each. Again, thank you so much for your help with these kids. We pray for you and yours every evening at Holy Innocents chapel.