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Dear friends,
It is now the mid year school vacation, and we have little people demanding action and trips to God knows where, and older ones complaining of boredom and ennui. Every time I pass the House of Hope, beady little eyes follow me. Life is a big guilt trip, so when I get down from the mountains tomorrow, I will take the whole miserable little horde of those wee ones to the Star mart. I mentioned this to the house moms of the House of Hope, and they just shuddered. Past trips have been mayhem, with quarreling runts and howling babies, fighting over a bag of something that the store has oddles of.

I have been back home in Thailand for five weeks, and it feels like five months! When I left for the states back in June, a lot of the kids begged me not to go, remembering Fr. Dick, who went home last year for cancer treatment and didnít come back. One little girl, 6-year old Miss View, solemnly told me that I didnít have to go to the States to buy her the skirt and blouse she wanted. When I got back, I had a gift for each kid. But, View would come to see me a few times a week, to inquire if I had unpacked my bags yet. The fourth time, she snarled, ďIf you are unpacked, where are my skirt and blouse?Ē I told her that she said I didnít have to bring them. Lovely little View suddenly turned into View the Hun. So, the Big Jieng department store had a nice outfit I bought and gave her. She is smugly satisfied.

A few weeks ago, we had heavy rains and winds, as a typhoon came across Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Roads in and out of Don Wai were cut and under water. Actually, the rains came just in time to save the rice. We have plenty of water now. Also, fish farms flooded, and our guys from St. Patrickís skillfully waited downstream with nets. All four houses are gobbling fish these days. The only drawback is the snake population also heads for high ground when it floods, and high ground in Pai Si Tong was our little gym. Nothing gets adrenaline going than a snake hanging from a power rack.

The 14 older girls are in their new dorm, and next we will build a 4x8 meter computer room, so that the girls can do their homework, and not have to rent other computers, or line up for school computers.

On October 29, we will have the blessing of the Charlene Richard Guest House in Don Wai, and the Holy Innocents chapel at Sarnelli House. The villagers in the area will join us, and will prepare the food. Vietnamese from Thabo who sold us building material will furnish the food. Some of Fr. Dick Strassí relatives will join us, together with the good folk of the Lafayette LA diocese. They raised the money for the volunteer house. Again, thank you! We pray for you and yours every night.

Father Mike
Father Shea
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