St Patrick’s House is open again

St Patrick’s House continues to provide shelter and love to another cohort of Sarnelli House boys. It was first built in 2001 with donations from the Marist Fathers in Australia and has been home for boys for the last 15 years. There was a short break for 2 years when an influx of boys meant a new house and they all moved to the Jan and Oscar House on the same compound as St Patrick’s.  More changes ensued as more children arrived but this year in May after extensive repairs, St Patrick’s House reopened.

Eleven boys aged from 4 to  9 years old now bring life and noise back to the old home.  A fence has been erected around the fish ponds to prevent the boys falling in and the ground out the front of the house have been cleared. Swings are in use  and an old, in need of repair trampoline, which the boys can’t part with is constantly jumped upon.  Ms Daen formerly of House of Hope, is in charge, she has worked at House of Hope since it first came in to being, and as well as running the bakery she is running St Patrick’s Home. Two lovely sisters one of whom used to be helped by the Outreach Program, and then worked at Our Lady of Refuge Home for Girls Vienghuk, has returned to work with the boys. The little ones love these two ladies who are patient and kind.  Another lady from the Outreach Program has been employed as cleaner and she is proud and happy to have work. Cebo who grew up at Sarnelil House from the age of 7 years old and who is now 22 years old works at St Patrick’s also. Finally our long term volunteer Lara Kolz from the APO church in Oberhausen, Germany is living and working at St Patrick’s providing that extra bit of love, attention and play, and immersing herself in the boys’ lives and the Thai culture.  The histories of the boys vary, some are the result of rape, or families affected by HIV. One boy has both parents blind and they could not care for him. Others boys have been abandoned as their young  mothers were cast out of their families because of the shame of  teenage pregnancies. One little boy was cared for by his crippled grandmother as best she could, until he started crawling and then she tied him to a tree, because she could not run after him and keep him safe. He was with the grandmother until he was two years old.  Because of the smaller number of children at St Patrick’s they don’t have to compete so fiercely for love and attention from the housemothers. Even so the boys are rowdy and lively but also in need of cuddles and affirmation.

There are often encounters with the girls who live at Jan and Oscar House next door that don’t end well for the boys, they are vastly outnumbered and the girls are not meek and mild !  Fr Ole, in a valiant attempt has started football training with the boys from St Patrick’s and the girls from Jan and Oscar House in the afternoons. It is too early to tell how successful he will be, but one fight was broken up after the girls accused the boys of cheating. A quick raid into the boys’ home and a few well aimed fists meted out their rough justice! Football training will resume when Fr Ole has the energy.

Meals are in the shared dining room next door to St Patrick’s House and are well supervised and separated from the girls’ table. The boys learn to keep the grounds clean and sweep in the mornings before school and in the evenings. There is lots of room to roam and play and the boys are definitely enjoying their new home.