Two new arrivals


The last two weeks have been a busy time with the arrival of two new girls bringing a total of four new children who have arrived in January 2015.  One of the girls is 10 years old and has been sexually abused  by a male member of the family. She has HIV and TB and she is sick, malnourished and looks like a little, old woman. The male member of the family who molested the child has been protected by the grandmother and his wife as they don’t want to lose a bread winner and he is still living with the family. Their poverty is alarming; they have no electricity, their kitchen consists of an outdoor fire under a straggly tree and their possessions are few, their bedding and clothes dirty and torn and they live many kilometers from the nearest town on a rubber plantation. As the little girl became sicker and sicker the grandmother cared for her as best she could until the welfare people got involved on a rare hospital visit, where she was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.  Now at Sarnelli House, she has been isolated from the other children in the room in the clinic for almost 2 weeks while she starts her TB treatment. A house mother stays with her, prepares her meals and gives her her tablets. The sweet, shy thing is becoming more accustomed to running water, a bed to sleep on, light to see at night and food available whenever she is hungry. Despite the huge change in her circumstances and being taken away from all that she has known, she is adjusting well. Luckily she has a little cracker of a friend who is staying with her as she is suspected of having TB. This little girl is nine years old and she has been looking after her small 9 month old brother since he was born. Her mother gave birth and then left them. She feeds him, cuddles him, plays with him and carts him around hoisted on her hip that she has to jut out to accommodate him. Her uncle has TB and they all lived together with her grandmother. But her uncle did not take his TB medications properly and the two children were likely to become infected. The Thai welfare department bought them both one Friday afternoon to Sarnelli House and dropped off the little girl and kept the baby. The big sister was distraught and sobbed when they were separated.  She went to stay with our new little old woman in the clinic and after a day of reassurance that she and her brother would be reunited once their health was assessed, she became a little girl again. She is smart, loud and sassy already figuring out where all the treats come from – namely Fr Mike who has to withstand her literally climbing up him,  like one would climb a tree to hug him and to cajole sweets and money out of him. Both girls will go and join the other girls at St Patrick’s House when their health has improved,  bringing the total number of little girls in that house to 19 – which means it is fairly bursting at the seams with squealing little creatures who provide such entertainment and give such joy.


Feb 2015

Kate Introna