Many of the 30 families, devastated by January's fire in Khlong Toey, now have new homes.
Thanks to our many generous Mercy Centre friends, rebuilding work has been carried out at a lower cost than was expected. One mother told us she didn’t have to find a second job, because her family didn’t have to borrow very much to pay for the construction.
Even though he’s never done much carpenter work, her husband helped with the construction which also cut down labour expenses. His boss at the local factory has been sympathetic, and let him work with the neighbours on the house's construction for two weeks, and didn’t cut his wages.
The houses have steel frames, and are stronger than the old ones. Residents say they will be even more beautiful as soon as the flowers grow.
Father Joe has described Khlong Toey as a gentle slum - a nice low-low economic community, but still always gentle. Now with the new homes, he says, it is more gentle than ever. People can walk through the area and feel good, with no fear of danger or violence.
Father Joe says he's very grateful: "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 grandmothers, granddads, mums and dads (plus some kitty cats), new homes."