The wind has shifted to the north, and although it is still hot and humid, our rice is ripening and we are now beginning to harvest a bumper rice crop. We plant so that the paddies do not ripen all at once, to give the harvesters time to harvest methodically. Our fish ponds are full of water, and the road to our 6 acre plot is impassible. We have to walk in, but in a few days, we hope it will dry enough that we can take our tractor with the blade and plow the roads so the pickups can travel without getting stuck.
Halloween came and went without fanfare. All of Thailand is in mourning for our departed King, so no parties or festivities for at least three months. It is strange to have people visit but see no dancing or singing by the kids.
The first Saturday of this month will see the cemetery here at Don Wai filled with people for our All Souls Mass. Our little cemetery with our departed kids and sponsors such as Gary Smith and Creston Smith, plus Fr. Dick Strass, will be nicely decorated and candles will burn on each little gravesite. Catholic cemeteries all over Thailand have Masses in the cemeteries, and people bring food and drink, and afterwards divide up all the food to make sure everyone has enough to eat and drink. Our runts descend on the folks like locusts, and have a grand time. In the past, people would not let our kids near, for fear of contacting AIDS from them. Those days are passed, thank God.
Fr. Ole has spent the last few years developing his soccer teams. He has a team for the smaller boys and older boys; plus a team of our girls. It took a while to develop a winning combination, but the boys come home now with trophies and heads held high. The girls get beat pretty regularly by village girls; also trained by Fr. Ole, and our latest priest, Fr. Ghee, who was ordained last year. The practice and games really are a great incentive to the players, and it sure has perked up spirits in the houses that hold our smaller kids.
Brother Keng is busy interviewing and finding schools for our graduates to go, when they finish senior high school. He does a great job checking out school and boarding houses, etc. He also spends his weekends at college in KhonKaen University, taking a graduate course in Education. Fr. Ole is also taking a graduate course in Finance. Kate and her husband Brian keep very busy; she with her nursing duties, and Brian with fund raising, and both do a myriad of other tasks to keep the ship afloat.
We did some hiring to facilitate the work of Sarnelli House, as some of the older workers quit or retired. We are in the process of opening St. Patrick’s for 11 little lads who attend kindergarten. Their presence at the House of Hope was not appreciated, since they were too rowdy and would keep the babies awake.
We wish all our American donors and friends a Happy Thanksgiving. We wish ALL our sponsors and donors and supporters good health, happiness and peace!