Ben's death

A while back, I wrote about a little guy, 13 years old but he looked about 8, named “Ben”. Ben came to us shortly after Piyanoot, and he looked like somebody in Dachau (Nazi prison camp). He was brought in by the staff of the Loei hospital, and the lady doctor said that Ben’s parents died of AIDS, and relatives boarded up their little shack, and put Ben in the hospital and left him there. Poor Ben would sneak out of the hospital and get a samlor driver to take him home and they would find him sitting on the steps, waiting for his parents. Ben never had a healthy day with us. We took him to doctors and hospitals and any place he would have hope of help. He finally went back to the University Hospital in Khon Kaen. On the evening of June 20, he used Yu’s (a housemother staying with him) cell phone to talk to Nu and Gung, both of them in charge of Sarnelli. He wanted to be able to come home. They gently told him they didn’t have oxygen nor I.V.’s, and proper medicine for him. (Ben had AIDS, TB and meningitis). He began to die a few hours later. He begged the housemother not to leave him. The nurses gave him all the help he could, but his heart rate soared, and he died at 7:00 AM. Gung and Nu were devastated. Staff, with Kate, our Aussie nurse, went with them to pick up the body. We cremated  him upon arrival, because of the intense heat and fear of contamination. Ben was Buddhist. We will have a funeral Mass for him on Saturday.

Other bad news is that the monsoon season is still not here, and it is 7 weeks late. Our pump at the Sarnelli House well is beginning to pull up mud. To have the water table this low at this time of year is very alarming. Our fields and paddies lie dry and fallow. So far, our prayers for rain were unheard, and I was thinking of hiring a witch doctor. I told the little girls that in Old Testament days, people would sacrifice a little girl every day to Baal; an immolation in exchange for rain. They all agreed that the Baby Buffalo should be the first, despite her bellows of rage. It is to the point that no one believes me anymore about anything!

Last Saturday (June 19) we had a funeral mass with Piyanoot’s ashes and put the ashes in a little tomb with her photos and dates on the cover. She joins Josie, Knock, Kirk and Nam Phon in our little cemetery. They will be joined soon by Ben’s ashes. All were cremated, save for Josie.    

On a brighter side, a young mother had come to me last year with twin baby girls, desperate for milk. We bought milk for them for 20 months. The twins are a little over two years old, and the mother and aunt are quite ill, and have come for medicine. The aunt has AIDS, and I think her sister (the twins’ mom) might be HIV Positive. So, a Thai woman gave me baby clothes, and they fit the twins, plus I am giving the family a sum of money every month to make sure the girls will have enough to eat. They are cute as bugs.

Ben’s relatives did not want him in life or in death. Strangers from Sarnelli took care of the poor little guy and mourned at his death.   

June 23, 2010

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