Saturday, 13 May 2017 15:58

 

 

 

An amorous deck hand learned a painful lesson when he targeted a proud and resourceful Klong Toey girl as his child bride

By Father Joe Maier, C.Ss.R.

Published in Bangkok Post, Sunday Spectrum, May 7, 2017

We never knew mum when she was young and not yet ravaged by cheap booze and hard hot years under the Southeast Asian sun doing unskilled sweatshop labour, living wherever there was work on the decks and holds of rusty out-of-date cargo ships in the Bay of Bangkok.

When only daughter Miss Tip whispered to mum "Today's my 14th birthday", there on the cargo ship, mum had another excuse to get hammered one more time. There wasn't much beauty left, but even the slight traces still showed she was a beauty in her days of yesteryear. Just like Miss Tip, a Klong Toey beauty with a good complexion and sturdy stature.

Mum was an amiable drunk who would agree to almost anything after a few. That's when this guy -- a fellow sweat on the cleaning crew -- told hammered mum he wanted to buy Miss Tip. True, he used some nicer words, but the meaning was the same.

You see, all this started with this sweat, missing a couple of teeth, going bald in front, with arm tattoos. But not with proper meaning and symbols, like from prison, nor even the tiger tattoo. He was a day hire contracted to temporary work on the ship. No one knew him very well. He was a stranger. Not Klong Toey born. Didn't go to school here.

He came up to hammered mum, big grin, showing his missing teeth. Came right up to her, right there on the deck, in front of everyone. Offered 4,000 baht for the hand in matrimony of 14-year-old Miss Tip.

Proud of himself, like he was doing mum and Miss Tip a favour, he said the ship's captain could say the words and make it formal and all legal, which wasn't true but sounded uppity yuppity. Besides, the captain could say it in Chinese as this was an old Chinese leased cargo ship. Certainly unsafe in a storm.

Mum's words were quite clear. We are not low class from the rice fields -- my daughter is a Bangkok-born Klong Toey girl and we have dignity. She's strong and healthy and can hoist and carry 50kg rice sacks better than most of you men. And she's pretty with nice skin, has good teeth and can work all day in the sun and not get sick. And no one has ever touched her, and if you do, I shall toss you off the side of this ship.

PLEASURE PLACE

In spite of the booze, or maybe because of it, mum knew of these things. Things you don't always learn in school. Her earlier days weren't always "pretty please with sugar on it and flouncy pink". She and a neighbour lady, totally loyal to the end, who rushed mum to the hospital when she came back on the bus from the ship … but back to that in a moment.

These good ladies had worked a Klong Toey pleasure place for lonely sailors at the mouth of the port, just a few steps from the ships and no customs officials and immigration folks to deal with. And a nicer place called the Mosquito Bar (now closed), also at the mouth of the port. Air conditioning, karaoke and all. Mum and her neighbour had a reputation with the Port Authority Police. Any amorous sailor who advanced too boldly would be snookered with unopened beer bottles by mum and her neighbour.

Back to the wedding plans. Mum, quite indignantly, said no dice, it has to be at least 4,500 baht. But the sweat didn't have that much cash. He would have to pay in weekly instalments. Mum said again no dice, the money has to be up front and in cash now, and not just promises. Besides, what if you don't like my beautiful daughter Tippy. You can't just return her as damaged goods, give her back, like, trade her in … and expect your money back.

When Miss Tip, who was asleep on the deck, heard about this, and then realised they were talking about her and her life, she was horrified. The sweat came over and tried to put his arm around her. In self-defence, she kicked him in his lower regions. Screamed at mum. I hate you. I hate all of you.

Seeing no place to hide, she tried to crawl over the railing, to jump that dangerously long way down off the side of the ship into the ocean. Death would be better than giving herself to this sweat who wanted her for 4,500 baht in weekly instalments.

She didn't quite make it over the rail. Some quick-acting folk grabbed her in time and wrestled her down. The sweat came over. She managed to kick him again, but this time she had a better position and really kicked him hard.

That ended any marriage plans.

The captain was totally miffed. He radioed for a "lighter" and put Miss Tip, somewhat hysterical, and her drunk mum on the small boat to the wharf about half a kilometre away. He shouted harsh words for them to never come back. He sent the Klong Toey foreman with them and told him to make sure they had pocket money for the three-hour bus trip to Bangkok.

The story doesn't get any easier.

The foreman made sure mum and daughter boarded the right bus. At first the bus people weren't going to let dishevelled mum on the bus, but Tip promised she would take care of her, keep her quiet and make sure there were no problems. There weren't. Mum slept all the way. Yes, she snored loudly but Tip kept shaking her.

Arriving at the Ekamai bus terminal, 10 minutes from Klong Toey, Tip had calmed down after the three-hour bus ride. Knowing she was safe for the moment, she got mum to their rented shack.

Taking one look at mum, her loyal neighbour lady from years gone by brought Miss Tip to us in the slums for safe keeping before taking mum to the emergency unit of the nearest hospital.

Mum died there three days later. Never left the hospital. Hardening of the liver, plus complications. As the nurses told the story, mum died gasping "Tell Tip I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

CLAPBOARD CASKET

At the cremation, the sweat with the bad teeth who wanted to pay Tip's dowry price in weekly instalments showed up to pay respect.

He was repentant. Tried one more time. Told Miss Tip that he would take her in. She could be his wife. He would take care of her. They could work on the ship together. He also told his story that he had given Tip's mum 2,000 baht as a down payment. That's when he said, if she refused, he wanted that money back that he had paid her mum, now lying dead in a clapboard casket with no lid, donated by the benevolent society for the very poor.

Tip panicked again. Ran out of the temple into the nearby slaughterhouse. She said later she felt safe there with the pigs and a couple of stray dogs who lived next to that particular holding pen.

Seems that though she was a stranger, the dogs took an immediate liking to her. The cremation went on. Tip came back once she saw a policeman there and felt safe.

Mum had worked, sometimes for two or three weeks, on cargo ships anchored off the coast some three hours from Bangkok. She was part of a day/night team that brought their own cooking utensils, living literally on the deck of the ship. Cleaning, working in the hold of the ship. Anything. Getting 350 baht for working shifts of six to eight hours.

Hammered mum had been hauling her daughter Tip along with her for five or six years. There was no one at home in Klong Toey to care for her, and Tip could also earn money. She was safe -- until this sweat with bad teeth wanted a child wife.

Miss Tip is safe now and in school. Enrolled even though she is beginning at 14 years of age. It's never too late. Now Miss Tip also wears a locket around her neck with an old picture of mum when she was pretty. She says mum is in heaven and has stopped drinking. She never knew her dad, but mum used to say he fell off the side of a ship in a storm. That was a couple of months before Miss Tip was born.

SACRED TREES

 Back to the sweat. One of our house mums, a sturdy lady, is a distant cousin from the same village as the sweat. She knows why years ago, according to village law and lore, the sweat had to leave the village suddenly and never return, at least for 20 years. She told this to the local police and they kindly mentioned this to him, so he is out of the picture. The sweat doesn't dare come around now.

 It's 100 days now since mum died, so schoolgirl Tip brought two lotus leaves the fresh market lady had given her. She wouldn't accept any money for them because Tip said she wanted them for the ceremony to pray for her mum, and that mum didn't drink in heaven.

 A snippet of mum's hair and a bit of an old dress were placed in the folded lotus leaves. Tip took them to the temple to place them at the foot of one of the sacred trees, sending away any bad spirits. Together with us she placed a medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who protects children.

Tomorrow is another school day. A happy day. She wants to be a teacher and teach little girls like herself.

Monday, 20 March 2017 03:18

Dear everyone

The children are so very proud.  They tell all their friends:  “I’ve got a new home”    and my mum says that she didn’t have to borrow a lot of money so she doesn’t have to find a second job to pay off the money because our family didn’t have to borrow very much to pay for the construction.  

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And dad, even though he’s never done much carpenter work, helped a lot in the construction and that cut down labor expenses.  And his boss at the factory is an understanding guy, and let dad work with the neighbors on the house construction, for two weeks, and didn’t even cut his wages

 

The houses are simple steel frames, so much stronger than the old ones, and will be even more beautiful as soon as the flowers grow.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

This was always a gentile slum – a nice low-low economic community, but still always gentle, and now with the new homes, it is more gentle than ever.  You walk through the area, and you feel good, and no fear of danger or violence – just nice people.  True, they grew up next to the pig holding pens, and the butchering -   maybe seeing violence all their lives, has made them nonviolent, after seeing so much brutality. 

 

I speak for everyone in the community – especially the children, thank you to all of you who have helped so very much in giving our 41 children and 24 grand-mothers granddads, plus mums and dads plus some kitty cats’ new homes.

 

Again, thank you. 

Fr. Joe and all of the children.  

Monday, 13 March 2017 04:45

 

Published in the Bangkok Post, Sunday Spectrum, March 5, 2017

By Father Joe Maier, C.Ss.R.

That wasn't like Master Gaw. He was the toughie of the second kindergarten class, as rough and tumble as any four-year-old boy in our Klong Toey slums. Not afraid of ghosts that might lurk in a dark corner or under the bed. The kid feared nothing.

But something changed. This was different; this was scary. So they ran, the toughie and his mum. Had to. Mum's man -- her "live-in" -- could have killed them both. He was "drug drunk mixed with booze". They say druggies and boozers don't mix potions. That's just not true. And when they do mix, the potion is potent and can be lethal to anyone around.

That's what sent mum and Master Gaw running barefoot in the middle of the night. Mum cut her foot but kept going, running like mad, a petite and bleeding woman, stumbling and falling but never dropping her kindergarten son -- a large kid for his age.

Read more...

Friday, 24 February 2017 08:18

 

Just some ‘goings on’ – Our team was here at 5 a.m. this morning to ready itself to take 40 of our senior citizens to ‘Make Merit’ (indulgences) at three well known Buddhist Temples in the outskirts of Bangkok. The bus is leaving at 7:30 a.m. and should return about 6 p.m. (depending on the traffic)   You know… on pilgrimage

Recently, Bangkok city was said to have the most terrible traffic of any city in the world. Maybe that’s true – at least it feels like that some time.

 

And yesterday the International Rugby team from New Zealand came to visit our kids. What a glorious day and the kids were ecstatic and could not get over how big and strong the players were. The team manager gave us a donation from each member of the team, plus a signed ‘football’ and ‘jersey’ - personally signed by each member of the team… and these of course are true treasures. And the beginning of what we hope in the future one of our kids will get a scholarship to the Bangkok Rugby academy here in Bangkok.

And I didn’t tell you that a whole troop of international bikers came to visit, on their impressive Harley Davidsons with noise and smoke and all – and gave a donation, and ice cream to the kids and gave everyone a ride up and down the street on their’ choppers’  - and also some of the staff. An Amazing day for the kids – truly great guys.

 

And in the Mogan South, we have a nine year old girl who was born with a growth under her tongue and of course difficulty in eating and tasting and swallowing   but most of all can’t speak clearly – so the other kids in school make fun of her, plus she already has a “Mogan” accent and afraid to go to school. Yesterday, after we struggled to get all kinds of special permission to leave the province where she lives on the Island, and go to a large Government Provincial hospital for an operation to remove the growth  (from birth)  about 150 kilometers away  - and we had permission for her mum to go along also who doesn’t speak much Thai, so one of our team traveled with them.

Right now her mouth is a bit sore and even though the doctors could not operate in fear of her loosing ability to taste, she got some strong injections and medicine to kill the bacteria and hopefully it will shrink the growth.

Read more...

Tuesday, 07 February 2017 12:22

 By Father Joe Maier

Published in Bangkok Post, Sunday Spectrum, January 29, 2017

It's not one of Klong Toey's finest hours. In fact, it's an ugly moment -- a monster moment. Stray dogs attacked and almost killed a two-year-old child. This all began at midnight in a particularly dark alley of Klong Toey in Bangkok. Auntie Dang, a 62-year-old grandmum, got the call to go to work. "Come quickly," the voice on the mobile phone demanded. "The game is about to start. We need a dhon tang."

"Dhon tang" in slum slang is a "lookout lady". Dhon tangs are paid by gaCSmblers to watch for police or, worse, for gangsters who trash gambling pits and steal the money.

Auntie Dang is the head of a dysfunctional Klong Toey shack with no table, no chairs -- only a refrigerator, one fan and a single lightbulb over a squat toilet. This is where she lives and sleeps on the floor with her three grandchildren. The middle grandchild is Master Jai, the dog-mauled two-year-old. Also in the shack is Auntie's younger alcoholic sister. She has two of her own small children. Lastly, Auntie's own adult daughter crowds into the place every now and again. She does nightly service at a local karaoke joint that serves every need of its customers. A grog shop, they call it.

On the night in question, Aunty Dang hurried down the dark alleyway outside her shack next to the Slaughter House Flats. She told a neighbour that she'd gone out at midnight to buy a bowl of noodles. That's her story.

A nasty pack of dogs were there, gathered near the Slaughter House Flats. Auntie always carries a walking stick and she whacked the nearest dog -- just for good measure. Sent the dog howling.

Two-year-old Jai had watched her leave the shack. She swore later that she hadn't noticed him. Or maybe she didn't want to notice. No matter.

He was supposed to be asleep and stay asleep while she was gone. If he woke up, the blaring telly would keep him occupied. Or would it? He wet the bed and woke up soaking wet, smelly, hungry and, like every two-year-old everywhere, afraid of the dark. He chased after Auntie.

He cried out to her in the alleyway. She didn't notice, or maybe didn't want to notice. No matter. The gamblers phoned again, told her to hurry, hurry. They needed a lookout.

Jai couldn't catch up. She disappeared around a corner. He lost track of her, fell and began crying louder. Maybe he startled the dogs. No one knows. All we know is that a pack of seven or eight dogs savagely mauled a terrified boy. He was too young to holler "Help me, help me", so he screamed only "Ma, Ma, Ma".

Ma wasn't within earshot. She was already on patrol for the gamblers.

After midnight in the slums, residents turn an ear towards commotion. It jerks you awake, pulls you from your bed. There were screams as though from a baby -- "Ma! Ma! Ma!" -- and dogs barking, snarling, fighting. People emerged from their shacks and ran towards the commotion. They swung sticks, legs, anything to chase the dogs away. There was silence. Later, doctors would count more than 100 punctures on Jai from toothmarks and scratches too many to count. Jai's skin had ripped off him like peelings from an orange. Intestines were exposed.

The locals knew the boy and they began to shout for his auntie: "Dang! Dang! Dang!"

Through the din of gamblers she heard them. She arrived at the scene to find a crowd gathered around her tiny grandson. Her neighbours screamed at her, cursed her; some women even hit and kicked her.

Jai remained unconscious in the alleyway. Auntie Dang gathered up his body and looked around for help. A motorcycle taxi driver said he would take her for free to a hospital seven minutes away. Arriving at the hospital, she said she didn't have any money. The hospital treated the boy for free.

Miraculously, Jai didn't die.

UNIVERSAL SLUM RULES

Today Auntie Dang must wear her shame. Everyone from around the alleyway and the adjoining Slaughter House Flats knows what happened that night. Auntie Dang broke the rules. The universal slum rules on proper ethics and etiquette. Gambling scams and drugs are bad, but criminal neglect of two-year-olds? That's lower than the lowest -- the rock bottom rule to break.

Jai survived, yes, but we still don't know how his body will recover from more than 100 infectious bites. Some of the bites barely missed puncturing his left eye. He will see again, doctors say, but the eye will forever be scarred. As will Jai. No telling what nightmares await or how the vicious attack will affect his psyche.

So, this story is one to be told and retold. Mistakes become lessons in that way.

As for Auntie Dang, she's not yet divulged her role in the story. Her version of events goes like this: She took the expected call on her mobile phone. There were a couple of new players at the table, strangers flashing money. At the same time, there were rumours that that night's game could maybe expect to be interrupted by cops or gangsters.

The voice on the other end of Auntie Dang's mobile promised to charge the strangers a fee to join the game and that fee would become the dhon tang stipend. She sees nothing wrong with taking the job. In her mind, the consequences that followed are not her fault.

"Stupid brat." That's how she later referred to her two-year-old grandson. She says the mauling he endured was "his own karma" -- bad luck inherited from his bargirl mum and long-gone slum father. A neighbour recorded her saying it.

In interviews with police she skipped that part and said only that most nights Jai would sleep through all the noise of the slum and the loud TV. This would allow her to leave in the middle of the night and scare up some income as a dhon tang.

The fact Jai was mauled by a pack of dogs, blame the mother, she said. Her daughter should have been home watching Jai instead of working in a slum pub until the wee hours of the morning.

As a general rule, slum grandmothers who have lived all their lives on the far side of the law do not tell the truth. It can complicate life; make a mess of things. Usually, when you are responsible for this, that or the other, recounting the story exactly the way it happened would bring only more problems -- such as questions about gambling dens. That's the Klong Toey mentality. So grandmothers lie to avoid responsibility.

The morning after Jai's mauling, the Bangkok municipality collected 51 (yes, 51) stray dogs from the immediate area. But that is only a beginning; there are many left. People are now afraid to go out at night without a big stick for protection.

In the slums everyone knows who's responsible and who's at fault for Jai's near death. But in finer quarters of Bangkok, people only know what they saw in the papers and online: news of a dog attack and horrid photos of a child's face posted on Facebook.

Today, if you could see Auntie Dang at the hospital, you might not recognise her as the slum's dhon tang guilty of child neglect. In her new role as Jai's doting grandmum, she looks all cleaned up with hair freshly combed. You'd think she'd won the lottery. And, in a way, I guess she did.

WELL-ENDOWED ENVELOPE

The other day a well-dressed lady in high heels came into the hospital and asked where this poor granny was who had cared for the dog-mauled two-year-old boy. The pretty lady had seen the news and grim photos of the boy on Facebook.

She found Auntie Dang and handed her an envelope -- a well-endowed envelope intended to help Jai. Then the lady pulled out her camera phone and took a "selfie" to show her friends that she had actually delivered the donation for the dog-mauled boy.

This was the third such envelope of the day delivered to Auntie Dang. She'd received two other well-endowed envelopes the previous evening, but that money was gone. Lost them playing Hi-Lo.

Usually, when old ladies gamble, they do not play Hi-Lo. It's too risky a game for elderly blood pressure. They prefer a more mundane, genteel form of gambling. But Auntie Dang was feeling heady and lucky with her newfound "wealth". For a day she was a "player" -- not a slum dhon tang.

No matter, the money had been donated with singular intent: to help Jai. Naturally, Auntie Dang says her intention was to win and turn the donation into even greater wealth. But it's anyone's guess whether or not the money would have ever benefited Jai.

So, what of tomorrow? Well, Master Jai shall fully recover. Hopefully. Meanwhile, we can make sure all of the children crowded into Auntie Dang's shack go to school. This will inject a bit of regularity and food into their lives.

As for Auntie Dang, the police asked enough questions of enough people that they were able to stop the gambling. For now.

They also gave Auntie Dang a stern lecture about childcare versus child neglect. Will she listen and learn? She swears she will -- even swore in front of her Sacred Statues to love Jai with all her heart.

Do we believe her? No matter. For now she remains Jai's primary caregiver despite the obvious gamble. 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 09:19

 

Dear everyone.   Blessings for Chinese New Year and the whole year of the Rooster.  

 

Xin Jia Yu Yi Xin Ni Huad Xai 

 

The Soothsayers tell us, that these are very special days.

 

Beginning with today, Thursday.  The day we are to have paid all our debts and give red/pink envelopes to all the children and younger members of our family.  The money is to be fresh bills, and of an even number, 40 or 60 or 80 Baht, and yes, they can go and buy candy, but they are supposed to keep the money, so that they will have money to use all year long.  That means, here at Mercy, me being the oldest, and being “Father Joe” to prepare envelopes for everyone.  

 

Then tomorrow Friday, is the day to pay respect to our ancestors and to make merit at the temple, or in Church.

 

Then Saturday, is the day to relax.  No work.    To go and visit near-by relatives. To have a special meal, already prepared by the grandmothers and mothers for weeks already.  The annual house cleaning should already have been done.  In the kitchen, the rice cooker is to be sparkling clean, ready to cook new rice, and thus have rice to eat for the whole year. 

 And  to wear red clothing – the color of joy, of happiness, or at least a red ribbon,  but certainly not dark colors.

 

 

 

Here at Mercy during Holy Mass we tell the children that they cannot say any bad words these whole three days , otherwise the words will  stick in our mouth all year, and come out in our conversations, even when we don’t want them to.

And lest I forget, we must have firecrackers.  Absolutely necessary to make noise, and frighten the nasty spirits back into the old year where they are caught, and thus we can begin the New Year happy and joyful.

 

All of us here wish you a Joyful and Blessed New Year.

 

Prayers – Fr. Joe and our 150 Mercy children, and all of our 33  slum shack schools and camp site schools, and 3,500 kindergarten kids and the sea gypsy kids and everyone.

Monday, 16 January 2017 05:02

Flood

 It is a New Year and Mercy Centre is thriving as always with childrens play and laughter at every corner. The weather this time of year is pleasant, not hot not cold, no flood and no harsh sun. However, in the South of Thailand it has not been like this. Over Christmas the Southern provinces have experienced an unusual bad monsoon and almost half of the country has been flooded resulting in over 30 deaths, broken train tracks, collapsed bridges and closed airports. People have lost their homes and farmers have lost their crops.

  

Our Mercy home in Ranong was also hit but thankfully nothing more severe than a flooded 1st floor and some broken furniture.

Others were not that lucky and on Wednesday during the annual staff meeting we all gave donations to be sent down to help those affected in the Southern provinces.

 

Childrens Day (Sports Day)

Saturday 14 January is the national Childrens Day in Thailand and all over Bangkok there will be fun events and activities for our Klong Toey kids to participate in. This day is all about enjoying life as the young and celebrating the new generation and our Mercy children will be accompanied by the house parents and travel to as many fun events they can manage in a day :)

 

Today Friday 13 January the Thai schools arrange their yearly Sports Day and all of our Mercy schools engaged with amazing outfits, happy songs and great enthusiasm to show their athletic skills and most importantly strong team work. We even had an Olympic Flame!

For more great pictures and a video from this super fun day see our YouTube and Facebook

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0jjC8hOJss

https://www.facebook.com/mercycentre/?fref=ts

 

45th Anniversary

This year, 2017, it is 45 years since HDF Mercy Centre opened their first school doors and the first set of childrens feet were skipping of excitement and loads of energy to start learning writing and arithmetics; and grateful parents that finally had a place their children could be safe, fed and cared for while they worked.

50,000 Kindergarten graduates later HDF Mercy Centre will be hosting a series of events and activities throughout the year. To honor the ones who have supported us and made it possible to continue and expanding for the last 45 years; and also to invite new members of our extend family to join us and help us spread the word of the children and every partner we have in the shanty slums of Klong Toey and Bangkok. Please do join us to show the world who we are and most importantly how amazing our children are and that we will continue to work in partnership with the poorest of the poor for many more years to come our job is far from done.

 

Stay tuned for more information of upcoming events!

 

Happy weekend to you all

 

Prayers,

 

Father Joe

Friday, 21 October 2016 04:56

Dear Everyone, 

We are somber but joyful today.  Somber because of the Passing of His Royal Highness, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.  Yet joyful because of his 70 years as Father of our Beloved Land.  We miss him, and as one hears on the streets, the Thai expression goes:  

Our Beloved dad has died and then they all continue:  but don’t worry, we his children will look after the house and our home.

And that is what today is exactly about.  We are looking after the house, even though there has been a death in the family. Life goes on. 

- Right now the best way to show loyalty and to mourn is to pursue the King’s teachings and we in the shanty slums of Klong Toey will do exactly that.

Also joyful today because we are celebrating this wonder of life with three hundred & eighty elderly folks –   mostly grannies who care for our school children. Officially it’s National Welfare Day here in Thailand and Klong Toey, and usually we would have a big party. Today we celebrated in honor of His Royal Highness – we are all wearing black (we wear black every day but today we wore an extra nice black shirt), we said a beautiful poem about our deepest respect for His tireless work. And that we will continue to honor his name by doing our best for the country, for the people – and we had 99 second of silence, in remembrance of Rama IX.

Our staff and 10 of “our” street kids handed out bags of rice, noodles, canned food, cooking oil and hygienic products to our glorious grannies. National Heroine day would be a better name.  Where our grand ladies - wrinkled and grey. However, as the wonderful French expression goes - the BLOOM IS NOT OFF THE ROSE.  Our grand ladies with their five & six year olds.   Look after as best as they can; that the kids do their homework, that they shower in the morning and that they remember their backpacks when they are picked up in the afternoon. These lovely grand ladies do all this while the mums are working or missing and they are reasonably nice to the dads when/if they come around sometimes.

So yes, there is rice and cooking oil, but also a bit of candy for their grandchildren whom they care for – make a home for.  

Our school here at Mercy Centre normally has 350 children.  Today there are about 100 as it is October School break, and most of the children are with their older brothers and sisters, also out of school for a few days, or have traveled to the Provinces to be with relatives who work the rice fields.  But we keep school open for the remaining 100 who have no other place to go during the day, except our school. So yes, we have school, but more games and sweets and some nice person just gave us enough teddy bears…. About 100 teddy bears so there is enough – one for everyone.   The same for the slaughter house school - they need a place and we give them a place – A home. And all you good folks who are reading this, share in this ... are giving our kids a home and a teddy bear.

And together with the grannies and the kids and the teddy bears we will continue our work in celebration of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 70 year long reign - His Endless Mercifulness is Imprinted in Every Thai Heart Forever.

 

Thank you   

 Fr Joe & all the kids and staff

 

 

 

Sunday, 16 October 2016 02:48

Dear Everyone,

Thank you for your condolences and prayers.  Condolences + to share sorrow = compassion. A beloved friend sent us this Greek word: Silipitria. I am told it means ‘to mourn with’ those who are experiencing a great loss, to feel it deeply, personally. Like compassion, to walk through someone's suffering with them. It's very Christ-like.

The whole of Thailand is somber at the passing of His Majesty; flags fly at Half Mast, there are no partygoers; even Bangkok's notorious traffic crawls along unusually quiet. Yesterday, we celebrated Solemn Requiem Mass with our entire staff.  This morning, again, with the children during our regular Saturday morning Mass.

But to dwell in sadness and defeat is no way to honor His Majesty. However sluggish we may feel, life goes on. It must. Our children here at Mercy know that “The Father of our Nation” has died.

So what can we do, they ask? They decided, on their own, to say Three Catholic Hail Mary’s each night for a month. Also, they promised -- really, really deep down promised -- to take extra good care of our home here at Mercy.  Even though we are orphans, we do have a home. So, in a children’s way: Protect Our Land, our home. This includes taking care of each other. Making sure we all do well in school. And when we meet kids on the streets, who are homeless like we were, we will invite them to live with us. Doubly so if they are sick, so we may take them to the Hospital. And, of course, the children will continue to care for all the stray doggies and kitties outside our Mercy house (but they cannot come into the house-- thus sayeth Fr Joe’s rules).

So, we ask all of you, our family throughout the world, to join us in "Silipitria" and in prayer. Together we may send good blessings to our orphan children so that they grow from this great loss.

 

 Prayers for all.   Fr. Joe & all of us.