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May 2009
This is the wonderful time of year when the rodents go back to school! This past week was wild, as children prepared their school back packs, and uniforms had names sewn on the blouses. Hand-me-downs were re-sewn and shoes polished and repaired. The new school year has opened, praise Jesus!! What with the kids in the Outreach Program, we will be sending over 200 kids to school. We pretty much pay in full, too, although I need to visit the nuns to cut me some slack. These sisters are nice though, and will help when possible.

Well, despite the anxiety and worry as the economic problems whittle down help for Sarnelli, the poor and the sick still keep coming. In this past month, 4 teenage girls, fast friends, came from the Bungkaen district of Nongkhai province. One girl Fa, has AIDS, but her orphaned friends are very protective of her. I was worried that they would form a clique, but they all have found new friends here.

Our resident Aussie nurse, Kate, took the Outreach Team downriver to visit a girl named ďBombĒ. Bomb has TB of the lymph glands; AIDS; and now has developed oral herpes. I have never had a girl sick like this who lived through the ordeal. Bomb and her mother were living in a filthy hovel near a chicken coop and the owner chased them, fearing AIDS. So, I had a room free in our guest house, and Bomb and her mom will live there, as I put Bomb under a strict quarantine. All the room had was a bed and a fan. So, with money donated from Lafayette LA., I sent out the troops to buy a little refrigerator, a 14 inch color TV; a clothes cabinet, and some kitchen utensils and the means wherewith to do their laundry. Monday, Bomb went to the University hospital and I pray to the Lord that we can cure that TB and oral herpes. She is a lovely looking young girl. It must be so very difficult for a teenage girl like this to bear with taunts, insults and rejection. All of my girls react with horror and revulsion if they sprout a few pimples.

The merry month of May isnít so merry anymore. We need to cut costs and downsize some way, but not hurt the work we do with the children, the poor and the abandoned. I am not smart enough to know when this is going to end, but I donít think anyone knows the future. I am not much of a spiritual guy (as friends will attest) but one pledge I made with the Lord is that I would organize and do the work, but He had to find the shekels. So far, thanks to generous and concerned people He has kept up his side of the bargain!

Again, thank you all so much for your support! The kids pray for you and yours every evening at night prayer at Holy Innocents chapel. God bless you!

Father Shea
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