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July 2006
Dear All,

We have four holidays here in July, since it is the beginning of Buddhist Lent. The kids hope of a trip somewhere were dashed when I announced the rice shoots were ready to be planted. The older boys had prepared the paddies by pumping water (other areas of Thailand are doing well this rainy season, but we are in a drought area again), using a new pump I bought and one of the Kuboda garden tractors to run the pump. We pumped from our fish ponds, and the older boys plowed and dragged the paddies. Small kids pulled up the rice shoots, and some tied them in bundles, and the older kids and staff planted the fields. I have a few more rai of rice field, since the guy who owns fields next to the ones we are doing told us to go ahead and plant his fields. The kids understand that this is one way they can help themselves, and the older ones teach the younger ones. Rice fields up in Pai Si Tong will be planted next week. Hopefully, the monsoons return and we have a bumper crop.

We have just two big mama pigs left, and I think they took vows of virginity. Grandma Wan is putting mysterious herbal remedies in their swill, promising swift action, but they are just getting fatter and meaner. We put a young boar in the pen, and he barely escaped with the family jewels. There are puppies and dogs everywhere. We don't let the kids of Sarnelli House who have AIDS raise any animals, since many of them are allergic to so many things. But the kids at the House of Hope have puppies, but there are at least two babies and toddlers there with AIDS as well. St. Pat's boys and Viengkhuk girls have dogs. I have been threatening to have a barbeque of roasted dog, but the girls anxiously point out that the dogs won't let anyone in the compound after dark.

Miss Lyn is fiercely clinging to life. I take her and blind Ta Dum to the Star Mart, etc., to buy food and snacks, but she is not putting on weight. I just found out the doctors took her off ARV medicine to concentrate on the TB. Sick as she is, if the truck is going, she wants to be wrapped in a blanket and taken along. She has two months to turn it around, or she will just fade away.

Up in the mountains near Nong Seng, I have a small parish, named "St. Eileen", and 3 acres of land on the side of the mountain. There is still no electricity, but just vague promises. I have a small chapel and a tiny house up there, and now thanks to a very generous donor, we will build a pavilion with a kitchen attached, plus toilets and a bathhouse for the kids. We have tents, etc., and it is a nice grassy place for our kids and even village kids to camp out. There are mountains and waterfalls, etc., to tour in the area. I have a sign made: "KERRY HILLS", which was the name of our Aberdeen Angus farm in Wisconsin. My mother named the farm, and it is gone now. So, it is now Kerry Hills of northeast Thailand!

Again, thank you so much. May the Good Lord and His Mother continue to bless and protect you. Please pray for Lyn. We do not want to lose her!

Father Shea
30 letters from Fr. Shea on 30 pages, go to page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
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