On June 6 I will hopefully be on the Big Tin Bird, heading for the
U.S. and serious trolling for shekels for ten weeks. Despite the
generosity of all the folks who help, we will come up short before the end
of the year. But, I am writing, not to whine, but to thank
School opened two weeks ago, and there are only 8 kids at home,
either too young or too sick to join their comrades. Right now though, we
have 5 kids hospitalized with pneumonia (one of them being poor Cebo). I
just got over it (was sicker than a poisoned pup for three weeks) and I
hope I didn't pass the virus on. I was in the House of Hope last week, and
Don Rak demanded to be held and hugged. I tried to explain to her that I
was sick with a virus. She turned disgustedly to her friends and said,
"Don't go near him. He has Avian flu!"
The nuns kicked up
tuition big time; and have compulsory feeding until grade four at school.
So, from kindergarten to fourth grade, the kids have to eat the school
swill, and they are vociferous about how bad it tastes. The nuns also
changed the girls' uniforms, which thrilled the girls, but not the Old
Pro. The runts were taking their own lives into their hands while taunting
me about "no more hand-me downs".
The rains are coming, grudgingly. I
was thinking about not doing fields, but everyone else is plowing, so some
of our workers have begun plowing our fields. I will be home when they
plant this year, but the staff will help the kids plant the seedlings as
always, as do villagers. They have huge feasts after planting rice, and
are sore for days afterwards. We have been in drought for three years, and
hope our fortunes pick up some this year.
AIDS-infected adults still
stream in, as others either get well enough to go back to work, or, as
still happens, die from the virus.
I had hoped not to have to build
anything for a year or so. Even turned out offers to help build something.
Now, however, after a sizable influx of little girls to the Girls' Home, I
need to build a dormitory. Kids are sleeping on the floor, which they do
in Thailand but not downstairs, and the rains tend to bring on the creepy
crawlies, such as snakes and scorpions! So, I had $7,500 on hand and
borrowed $18,500 (for a total of one million baht) and began construction
last week. We will have two older girls to a room, and maybe build a
computer room for them later on.
Young and old, they are very
interested in this building, and I am getting plenty of unwanted advice
from them all!
The kids continue to pray for those who are
concerned and love them. Everyone have a nice
Fr. Mike Shea