Since my last few letters to some of you, at least, had received
discouraging news about the health of the children at SARNELLI. I can write
today with some better news.
First, that terrible virus that went through all three of our hostels
seems to have finally left us. We still have two young lads in the
hospital, "Palm" with bacterial meningitis, who was in a coma for days; and
one of our newest arrivals, "Jawt", who has some lung problems that he
brought with him. Five children are taking TB medicine, and three of them
are in quarantine at the newly built "HOUSE OF HOPE".
Routine check-ups of the kids from the nursery showed "King", "Don Rak"
and Dtang" had TB as well. The rest of the children were then tested, as
were all of the SARNELLI kids. The three "angels of death" were re-tested,
and then the doctors said they were negative for TB. The tots had two chest
x-rays within a week. I shall wait to see the results of the tests for the
other 40 kids, before any further action. The next step would be to take
them to a private hospital and have them checked, regardless the price.
The staff has been run ragged. Big Peh was felled twice by that virus (
which some called "Son of SARS"). Since I moved Gung from St. Patrick's to
SARNELLI, they both have been working way too much, sometimes 24 hours a
day, every day. I ordered them to leave SARNELLI and rest a few days, but
as long as there was a sick child, they would ignore my orders and pleas.
Almost all the staff contacted that virus, and most of the children.
We need rain badly, like you probably do, considering the temperatures you
have had in Germany....worse than Thailand ! The rice paddies are dry and
cracked, and we are hoping and praying for rain...for everybody, not just
us. We will certainly be able to buy rice if the rice the children planted
burns up and dies. But it is the poor farmers in the interior that will
suffer the most. They have no river and usually not enough water and good
soil to do vegetable gardens.
Our two handicapped women are doing a great job, both in the office and
also teaching the kids handicrafts and cooking and baking. We are able,
thanks to donations from friends of one of our priests in the U.S., to get
them new, lightweight, modern prostheses.
I hope that by now the weather in Germany is quite pleasant and that all
had a good summer! Please continue to pray for us, as we do you !!
Love from us all !
Fr. Mike Shea
Peter at Sarnelli House
Peter from Edinburgh, who is supporting the children of Sarnelli House
and Pattaya Orphanage Trust in so many ways, visited Sarnelli House
deliberately on this special day.
After the sermon there was enough time left to get a good impression
of the whole project and meet all of the children. Peter was especially
impressed when he saw our happy bunch of rascals running and playing,
in spite of their severe illness.
Our kids here love friendly visitors, even more, if they have bags
full of toys and sweets! And be sure, Peter and Eh had a lot of
presents for them.
I am pretty sure, we will see Peter back here in the near future!
Michael, Fon, and ...
On July 26th, 2003 a memorial service was held at Sarnelli House for
the children, who died of AIDS even though there were in the care of
everyone here. It was the day, when Fon died just 4 days after Michael
last year. All older children, the staff and a lot of friends and sponsors
attended the mass held by Father Shea for four children. Most of the friends
only knew about Michael and Fon, David and Lea died before we came into contact
with the Sarnelli House. It was Michael, who show us the way to this place...
James Calder, a sponsor who is always keeping in the background, handed Mike
a donation of 10,000 Baht, and Erik Kuijpers, the sponsor of Ice, supported
the meeting with another 2,000 Baht.
After the sermon we had a lunch together, and Father Shea had the chance to
tell a lot about his work here and the Sarnelli House.