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I Love Thailand TV Program

December 22, 2016

On the 20th and 21st September 2010 a film crew from Channel 9 Thai TV ('I Love Thailand' Program) came to Sarnelli House. They produce and run a weekly program shown on Sundays at 3pm about foreigners working in Thailand and contributing to Thai life. The program is in Thai.

The producer had heard about Fr Shea and his work at Sarnelli House and after some negotiations the reluctant TV star agreed to a 2 day visit of filming and interviewing. When word got around as it did very quickly that the crew were coming to interview Fr Shea, there were many squeals of excitement heard from the girls and staff. The host of the show is a young Thai man named Andy Kempimook, a celebrity in Thailand who has been on TV and hosted shows and released Thai pop music and is a bit of heart throb to say the least.

Everyone got to work to make Sarnelli and the other houses look TV worthy- there was the scrubbing of driveways, redoing of photo boards and the excitement of possibly being on TV.

The big day finally arrived and the crew of 7 set up their equipment and began with an informal chat with Fr Shea to understand more about him and the work he has done. After this Fr Shea showed them around all the houses, and the fields and the filming continued non stop for the day. Initially there was a bit of concern that as Fr Shea spoke more Laos than Thai there may be a problem with understanding him. But all went well and Andy and the crew were a fun crowd who enjoyed Fr Shea’s sense of humour and the cameras continued to roll.  

On Monday evening after the kids returned home from school, Andy interviewed some of the teenagers and staff. Everyone ended up at Sarnelli House for a big party which Andy hosted, he had the kids up doing games, singing and dancing and everyone enjoying the entertainment immensely. After the meal was served by the stars themselves - Andy and Fr Shea, all the children who had a birthday that month were called up,  lights were turned off and 5 birthday cakes with candles lit were bought out and happy birthday was sung with great gusto. Don Rac from Our Lady of Refuge Home for Girls read Fr Shea a beautiful note saying how much she and all of the children loved Fr Shea and a final tribute was sung.  Andy was in demand for photos, and he very kindly sat through hundreds of kids and staff standing glassy eyed with stardom or fidgeting with excitement as their photo was taken.  The staff had to eventually drag Andy away as the kids were coming back for second and third shots   and Andy would have been gracious enough to look smiling and happy through it all. 

The following day started early, mass was filmed in the Sarnelli chapel before school, and the clinic was visited. The patients had been forewarned and had turned out in large numbers to see the star. By lunch time all the footage had been taken and the film crew was really pleased and impressed by all they had achieved.

On 2nd October the show was run and everyone sat down with great excitement to watch it. There were tears from some of the staff and older kids – it was a great tribute to Fr Shea’s work and the children and staff who love him so much.

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