This collection of Bangkok Post columns from Father Joe Maier, aka the Father Teresa of Bangkok's squatter slums, reveals in intimate detail the collateral damage and consequences of the world's gaping economic divide. But it doesn't beat us over the head with stories sappy and sad. Rather it tugs at our hearts, it provokes and angers, and it occasionally teases laughter.
The street children of the Mercy Centre are from the abject poverty of shantytowns and most are orphaned, abandoned, neglected and/or infected with HIV. But they are survivors. The ones who make it to Father Joe's Mercy Centre are NOT poor, Father Joe likes to say. They feel sorry for the poor and have empathy for them. And in these newspaper columns the resiliency and spunk of Mercy's street children reveal spirits that are rich and abundant.
Although the Mercy Centre has opened dozens of preschools in the Klong Toey slums of Bangkok, Father Joe insists here that the students are the real teachers, and in Welcome to the Bangkok Slaughterhouse he allows the narratives of their lives to instruct and inform us.