Amecet n'ainapakin (Shelter of Peace) is a ministry of Youth With A Mission (YWAM)in Soroti, Uganda. We are reaching out to HIV infected and affected children. We also are caring for new born babies, who lost their mother after the delivery. The third group of children we help, are children who need a safe place, they mostly come via the police. In this blog we want to share with you our stories, our pictures, our needs and blessings!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

In Memoriam: GIPAS....

This morning Gipas passed away in Soroti Hospital. Gipas has been in Amecet twice. He was HIV+ and had trouble taking his ARV medicines at home. The first time he stayed for two months in Amecet and he went home, against our advice, but he wanted to go home... The second time he came back in September 2014 and he stayed with us until February 2015. Again he wanted to go home, we were worried about him, but he is 14 years old and if he doesn't want to stay, what can we do?? We saw him regularly, he was not doing very good, but also not very bad....
Last week we heard that he was admitted in the hospital, Janneke went to see him, he was very sick of malaria. Then we heard on Sunday that he was discharged and went back home, but got very sick again and he was back in the hospital. Yesterday I went to see him, I was shocked, he was unconscious, the mother told us, for 4 days already.. They had done tests and he was on IV. medication, but it didn't look good... While my colleagues talked with the mother, I talked to Gipas, just telling him that Jesus loved him and that Jesus was with him. That he must be so tired from all this sickness, he could let go. I prayed for him, holding his hand. This morning I heard the news that he died early in the morning.
I am so grateful that I went to see him yesterday, I don't know what he heard from my talking, but I believe that God wanted me to go there.
I am feeling sad and angry, I believe that Gipas could have been alive, if he would have taken his medicines better... At the other hand, when we went to his home this morning, where they had already brought him, seeing his mother and grandmother cry and seeing his small body lying in the coffin......I know that Gipas is at peace now, no more sickness, no more medicines! 
Dear Gipas, enjoy the beauty of Heaven!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Youth meeting with Brenda and Davy...

Today we organised a special youth meeting, to meet two of our visitors we have staying with us at the moment. Brenda and her boyfriend Davy. Brenda is very familiar to the HIV+ youth that we have had living with us in Amecet. Brenda is HIV+ and she is very open about her status.

 Her foster mother wrote a book about her; "There is a little dragon in Brenda's blood". She calls the HIV virus a little dragon. As long as we take our ARV medicines, the dragon stays asleep, but when we skip our medicines, the dragon will wake up and will make us sick. This little book has helped us a lot to explain to the children what HIV is and what it does in our body. 
We have had contact with Brenda and with her mother, When I was in Holland in 2012, I was able to visit Brenda, together with my four daughters.
(Sarah, Brenda with Cathy, Mary)

Begin of this year, Brenda approached us with the question if she could come for some weeks, together with her boyfriend. So that is how they came in Amecet. After talking with Brenda and Davy we asked her if she would be open to meet our youth and share with them. Brenda and Davy were very open to that. So we organised a meeting with our youth, who is HIV+ and have lived with us in the past and we also gave some invitations to some of the Organisations who also work with HIV+ youth. It was only possible for the youth who lives in Soroti, but we had a group of around 45 people.  Half of the group came from other organisations  and met us for the first time.
We all sat under the tree in the garden of our Amun home. Brenda shared about her HIV+ status and how she came as a refugee in The Netherlands, where her mother died of AIDS. How she was taken into a Dutch family and how she lives positive with her HIV+ status. 
Then Davy shared, how they started their relationship and how Brenda had shared with him that she was HIV+. I was very impressed by their openness and their desire to help others to be open. There were a lot of questions from the youth, they all struggle with the same, it is scary to be open, what if the people will reject you???
Of course there are differences in the culture in Uganda and the Netherlands, It was also good for Brenda and Davy to hear the struggles of the youth in Uganda. But there was a real openness, being HIV+ united everybody. They knew where the other was talking about and there was understanding. At the end of the meeting there were still more questions to ask and experiences to share, everybody had enjoyed and many participated. We might organise more meetings like this, not always with teaching or a programme, but to listen to one another and to feel free and safe enough to ask questions and to share about your struggles.

Brenda and Davy, thank you so much for your honest story and you humble example!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Party time....for Gabdesia!!!

 Today we celebrated Gabdesia's birthday!!! She is 14 years now! It is really worth a party, there were times we thought she would not make it until this day! But she is stronger now, the NG tube is out, she is gaining! Every day another little step!!! It is good to celebrate those steps.
 Gabdesia is happy and enjoying this special day!
We pray many more candles will be blown in the coming years for Gabdesia!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Collins suffering has come to an end..

This afternoon Collins passed away. His suffering is over... In the morning I went with him to the doctor in Bethesda hospital. His blood levels were much improved and he needed no more blood transfusion at the moment. But the doctor was very concerned about his heart, for heart failure. She heard murmurs in his heart. So we got some change in medication and in his intake of milk and fluids and we came back home, to review in one day again. Th whole day he did not bad, it looked even if he was more alert, but this afternoon his heart just stopped...... and it was over!
The situation is difficult, both of his parents are in the police cells. the Police officer who heads the family office in the Police, came even in the afternoon to see how he was doing.
I feel sad, at the other hand I really believe that God brought this little boy into Amecet for his last days, He didn´t want him to die by himself, alone in the hut. His mother had abandoned him for two days and when they brought him to Amecet, he was already  in a serious condition. We were able to minister to him, to pray, talk and sing for him. he didn´t want to be hold, I think that was painful for him, but we could hold his hand or touch his face. 
We have been a doorway to Heaven for him!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Two sad story's about suffering children..

Last week we received a call about a child who really needed help. It was far, 1,5 hour drive, so Simon went the next day and found the family. The mother was very sick and the little boy was very malnourished and sick. He brought the baby, Jackson to Amecet. He was never tested, but his mother is very sick of AIDS. There is a big chance that Jackson is also HIV+. He is coughing bad, so the chance of having TB is also there. Many tests were done, and we know now that it is probably no TB, he is on antibiotics now. The HIV test is done, we have to wait for the results. But with love and attention he is already doing so much better!!! The mother was hiding, she didn't want anybody to know, but it could have cost the life of this beautiful little one!
Then on Sunday afternoon 2 ladies walked into the Amecet compound, carrying a small boy of 11 months old. The story was that he was abandoned by his mother in the house for 2 days. They (the neighbours) took the child out of the house and went to the police. The police wrote a letter to us with the request to care for the baby, while they were looking for the mother...
 The baby was swollen and when we gave him a bath, he just stopped breathing... Janneke ran with him to the clinic, next door. And there they found out that the sugar level in the blood was extremely low, he was just going into a coma. After giving juices and sugar he was doing better. We did more blood tests and urine test and he was just so sick of starvation...  A schedule was made to give every 2 hours milk by NG tube, his mouth is full of wounds. It seemed that it went fair,..
In the meantime, Simon and Elias went after the mother as well. And they found both parents, alive and very well!!! At the moment they are not so well, because the police took them both into the cells. 
The condition of the boy, we know his name now, Collins is not getting better, his breathing is not good and his hands and feet are very swollen and cold. Janneke took him to another clinic, Bethesda Hospital, here in Soroti. The doctor examined him and again blood tests were done, this time his HB was very low, while we had done it on Sunday evening and it was okay. He needed to get blood transfusion as soon as possible. Janneke got blood for him at the main hospital, thank God that there was blood!!!!
She came home with the blood and Collins and he was hooked up.  We gathered together around him and prayed for him, for God's healing power and also against all the rejection he had suffered from. That he will have the spirit to fight!!
His poor swollen legs, painful and cold, his hands are also swollen en cold. This little man went trough a lot already and he has still a long ways to go! Please pray for him, that the blood transfusion helps him.
This are just two stories from children who came in Amecet during this last week, Pray for the staff, we have a lot of little baby's now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Who knows Margaret (not her real name??)

In our Blog from June 19, I wrote about the tracing of two girls, who were both brought to Amecet by the Police. One of them was picked by the parents, after someone saw the picture and called them. But the other girl is still with us. She must be around 3 years old and at first we thought that she didn't understood Ateso, the local language from here, but she does, we don't know her name, she said something like" Margret", but not really.. We call her now Margaret and she reacts...
She was left behind in a local bar, somewhere in Soroti. So Simon went there to ask about the mother, they didn't know her, she just left her child and disappeared!! The people in the bar said that she mighthave come from Kumi, a town 45 minutes drive from Soroti. 
We have put her in the local newspaper, we did radio calls, nothing, no reaction!
So yesterday, Simon went to Kumi, he went there to the local radio station for radio calls and he has been putting posters on different places in Kumi.




At the hand wash stand from the restaurant....





At the shoe repair shop and the airtime kiosk....













The local hang-out places....













At the public notice board....












At the bicycle taxi stand.....







At the Health Centre....













We hope and pray that there is some one who knows Margaret and can direct her to her family.....

Saturday, July 4, 2015

An update..many stories...

 I haven't written much about the children, but today some short news updates about some of them: We went to visit Richard in the village. We brought him to his grandparents 4 weeks ago and we were anxious to know how it went. It is far, 2 hours drive, deep in the village, but our team came back with good news!! Richard is happy, he gained (!!) and the family is doing well with him, they care and like him!!
 Last week we got a new born baby, very small and he looked a bit yellow. Now we do have an incubator, but no special lamp for the yellowness So Janneke got our incubator outside, with the cable through the window and Lawrence in the morning sun. Lawrence is not doing so well, he is not drinking well, can't regulate his body temperature so good, so we helped him... we had to take his temperature many times, and he got warm, so we took him back inside. But it was a creative idea! 
 Catherine came by with her baby Theo! She is doing so well and the blood results from Baby Theo came back negative, so we are happy for them. He was a small baby, but he is really gaining and she is a wonderful mother!!
 This is baby Dorcas, still feeling miserable, her mother abandoned her and we got the news that also the grandmother didn't want to care for her. She had oedema, the skin starts already peeling off and she is not drinking well, we had to give her a NG tube and a cannula for IV medication. She is doing better, and the grandmother came to see her, it was all wrong information, the grandmother was in the hospital caring for someone and this all happened at home. She is willing to care for Dorcas after Amecet. So we are happy that there is a home waiting for Dorcas when she is healthy and stable again!
Earlier this week a woman came with two baby's, together with 2 gentlemen, to Amecet. The baby's were twins and looked miserable. The story was that the mother died last week and the father had died when the mother has been pregnant, he was poisoned. The mother died from malaria. The lady was the sister from the late mother, the two men were uncles. they had no letter, no medical papers, there was a lot of confusion, After talking with them and getting some directions, we told them to go back home with the children, to pass by the health centre and come back with letters from the local counsellor and the medical papers. They left and promised to do so. Two days later, Simon and Emmanuel, decided to make a surprise visit to them.... He found out that the lady, who said that she was the sister, is the mother of the twins and the father was also around. Nobody had died, the grandmother felt very bad and ashamed about her daughter. The neighbours were all very upset about the mother, when you come in the village and you visit a home, all the close neighbours are coming to see who the visitor is who is coming in a car...  If the mother would have been honest  and asked for help, we would have given help. The grandmother understood the situation very well and will get involved in the care for the bay's. Our door is always and still open for them.... It is good to visit the homes to get the right story!!!!
Then I end this update with Emmanuel, he was brought into Amecet on 31st of December 2014. he was abandoned by his mother, who is mentally ill. You can read about this in the blog of January 1, 2015. He was a small baby of 1.8 kg.
The mother was HIV+ and we had fears that also Emmanuel might be HIV+, in the beginning he was not a very happy baby... But we did all the tests and he is HIV-!!! 
And this is Emmanuel now!!! He is almost always laughing, a very happy boy. They have been looking for his mother, but she has gone and never came back. We have been putting his picture in the newspaper several times, but nobody came. We are looking for a family for him, because he needs to belong in a family.