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September 2006
Dear Friends of Sarnelli House!

The Horde from Hell are all doing well and have two more weeks of school before the first semester break of 4 weeks. I’m already getting nervous. It’s like waiting for Attila and the Huns to ride again.

We just received a lovely little Lao girl, 4 years old, named Jieb. Her mother was a lady of the night, and decided to continue this profession, despite help from the Good Shepherd nuns. I found Jieb sitting on the steps of my house last week, broken hearted. She is now at the House of Hope, and in kindergarten at Rosario school. I now have to figure out a way to get her Thai citizenship.

I have mentioned before our 13 year old girl named Lyn, who is very ill with AIDS and TB. We are on pins and needles watching her eating again, slowly gaining some strength (really slow!) and relieved to see her diarrhea recede. I have her on baby food, and small portions of Soy milk. The doctor wants me to get a mother who has a new baby and ask for some breast milk for Lyn. I have, of course, relegated this job. I’m not about to sidle up to some young woman and ask her for breast milk! But I bought some Gerber’s baby food, plus other soft Thai foods.. I hire her to draw and paint pictures for me. She has a big piggy bank that she demands that I “feed” regularly.

Our two girls who were sexually abused are doing fine. 7 year-old “Bob” is a bundle of energy, and races up for hugs when I show up, and then speeds off in another direction. Lay, 11, asks the housemothers to kiss her good night, and even the other girls line up to hug and kiss her before she goes to bed. She never had tenderness or affection shown to her before. She has come a long way, but still has some emotional traveling to go. I’ve started to tease her a bit, at which she pretends to get exasperated and runs squealing to the house mothers.

Our blind girl, Ta Dum, has discovered stitching and needlepoint. Gung has her stitching and it is unbelievable what she can do. I told her that if she keeps it up and makes purses, etc., I won’t sell her so as to buy a Harley Chopper.

I bought over an acre behind the cemetery at Don Wai. We are replanting teak trees and I will drill a well there. We will put up light poles and have the place well lit at night. Here, we will build the new AIDS girls’ dorm, two older girls to a room, and a kitchen where they will do some cooking and a room for handicrafts. They will have, I hope, a nice little dining area. Once the building is finished, Buddhist businessmen from the Nongkhai-Udorn area have promised to furnish the rooms and the kitchen. Construction starts December 1.

Again, thank you for your interest and concern. We really appreciate your generosity to these kids with AIDS, since we could not do the work without your help, and the help of other kind folks. I especially want to thank our two web masters (www.sarnelli.org and www.sarnelliorphanage.org). They (Wolfgang Siebeck and Bro. Ole Tantikul CSsR ) sacrifice time and talent to help us. We would be lost without them! The kids and I continue to pray for all of you daily! May God bless you!
Father Shea
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