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February Letter
The weather has passed from really cold to pleasantly cool, and the kids have colds from constant changing weather.With wind and no central heating, the kids are either getting over colds, or catching colds. They all, young and lder, come up for hugs and consolation, and if they have colds, I chase them away like rabid dogs. In the last 5 years, I have had more child-induced colds and flu than I ever had in my 65 years of previous existence.

Years ago, we had a little boy here dying of TB and AIDS, named "Dutch Michael" (Coosmans). Little Dutch Michael's father was a human dirtball, who cared only for himself. Those were the days before AIDS medicines and the new TB drugs, so Michael died. The poor little guy never smiled; just laid in his cot and feebly tried to hang on to life. At the beginning of this year, a new boy arrived, named "Boy" (we now have three "Boys"). He is a very sick little lad, and looks just like Dutch Michael, to the point that some of the staff actually call him "Michael". He has AIDS, but incredibly, does not have TB. The family is really poor (the father dead, and the mother a Laotian), and so we have taken him in. I must say he is a foul mouthed little pup. Some of the girls in Sarnelli were threatening to slap his face, but we are urging kindness and moral pressure on the lad. Our latest girl, Joy, has a really bad skin disease, She was too ashamed to bathe for fear other girls would see her disease. She needed to bathe several times a day, and get medication massaged into her skin. Other girls assured her that they had the same problem before ARV medication took over. Her skin is a lot better, and she is putting on weight. She is a real sweetheart, albeit kind of sensitive. The baby Hippo is becoming more comely by the day! She still has a long way to go! Little Bunny went in today for her HIV test. We now wait anxiously for results.

In 3 weeks, school will be out, and we will be faced with 135 little savages wanting to go places and do things. These days, however, they are not on the same page. Boys want adventurous hikes in mountains and forests. Little kids want to be trucked to swim and to see things. Older girls want to be left alone, with their phones and chat rooms and boyfriends. It is this last category that is driving the staff nuts. Every once and a while, the staff drag me in to rave and scream and threaten, and the miserable strumpets just sit and file their nails and stare off into the distance. No one is afraid of me any more.

God bless you!

Father Shea
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