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!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Amecet Investigators....

Today I want to write about our two Amecet investigators, Simon Orugon and Elias Iga Okiror! They are our Social Workers, but I often call them investigators. They do a lot of work in  Amecet involving tracing the families of the children, talking with the families and counselling the families.
 Simon Orugon
 Elias Iga Okiror
These two men are doing so much work for Amecet and in particularly for the children. They both have a heart for children and you can see that in the way they work and talk with them.
Many times children are coming into Amecet without the true story and to help re-settling the children, back in their family, we do need the truth!!
Yesterday, the Police came to bring a girl from around 11 years, they had a letter from the police office. It was a strange story, the girl had been living with a guardian in Soroti, (both her parents had died). Now the guardian had died and she was roaming around Soroti, she didn't know any other relatives... Simon had a talk with her and took her in the motorcar to the place where she had lived (she first didn't want to say where). They found the house, where her auntie lives, who was looking for her. So after talking, the girl was resettled at her auntie's home.
There was a little boy brought into Amecet, some time ago. The mother had ran off and left the child at the neighbours. We found the grandparents, but they didn't want to do anything to do with the little boy. They rejected him. But we got the contact of the brother of the grandfather, who lives in another town. He is very willing to receive the boy into his family, to him it was a shame that the boy would go to a strange family. It does costs some phone calls, talking and time, but this little boy will stay among his relatives and will grow up, knowing where he belongs!
Last year a little handicapped boy was brought to Amecet, he only weighed 4 kg and he must be around 5 years old! He is still living with us, doing much better, weighing 6,5 kg now. Through asking, investigating and searching, Elias and Simon found the grandparents, who are going to care for him. There are so many stories we have found the relatives of the children. 
When a child is abandoned, we always put their picture in the local Teso newspaper. It helped in some cases, to get to the parents or relatives of the child. Radio message over the Teso radio also may help in some cases
When the child can talk, we try to get names of relatives or maybe a village from the child. We had a child in Amecet who had been on ARV's, so we went to several clinics where they give ARv's to the patients, to talk with the nurses and to post a poster.
Simon  en Elias sometimes take the child to the village the child mentions, to ask around if people know the child and if the child maybe recognise the shops, road or other things. We feel that it is very important to trace the relatives of the children, so we can start talking with the family to bring the child back to them. It is sometimes a long process and  not always easy, when people reject the child  and you have to find another safe place for the child.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Twins Martha and Mary are going home.....

 Remember, half December 2014 we got the small, premature twins in Amecet. One of them, Mary, stopped breathing on the first day and we had to ran to the doctor. It is a miracle that she is alive!!! We had struggles in the beginning, but now they are two beautiful little girls. They drink well, are both around 4 kg. in weight and they can cry loud when they want to be picked or when they are hungry! On the picture, Anneke and Leya are holding them, they more than doubled their weight  and they areso cute!
The father and his brother came to pick them, together with the grandmother. They were so happy to receive them back and we were happy to hand them back to their family. We are glad that we could help in the crisis after the death of the mother, but home is where they belong........... 
We are also happy that we have two children less to care for in Amecet, because we are quite full. There are a number of children who are dumped and found and brought to Amecet. Very sad when you think about them, a little boy of 1,5 years old, just found somewhere in a trading centre. This little boy is crying a lot, he is really scared of being left behind. When you bring him to bed, you have to wait until he sleeps, otherwise he screams the whole room awake again. Simon and Elias, our Social Workers have been really working hard, trying to trace family. And we have some hope for several children. That we found relatives, who are willing to care for them. That makes me happy!
Gabdesia, the 14 year old girl who lives in Amecet since August 2014 is not doing well. She is so weak and weighs only 15 kg! We feed her with a NG tube, because she doesn't want to eat. The doctor changed her ARV's into stronger ones, this is really the last thing we can still try. Please pray for her, we put a mattress on the veranda, she can't sit so long and we don't want her to be alone on her bed. So we sometimes put one of the smaller children next to her. On this picture she tickles Rose and enjoys her company. We need to see a miracle for her! And we do see miracles happen in Amecet, so there is still Hope and we don't give up!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ivan arrived in Amecet and pool games......

 Three days ago was Ivan brought to Amecet. He was a sad looking boy, suffering from Kwasiorkor, a form of malnutrition which makes the body to swell, from oedema. Often are these children irritable because it is painful, the legs and arms are so swollen from the oedema, in Ivan's case, also his back, hands, feet  and face are swollen. He is now on a protein rich diet. But he doesn't want to drink, so we give milk by NG tube, but he does wants to eat. He lost already some weight, which is the fluids, so he is doing well and.... he smiles and plays a bit. His story is sad too, his mother is killed by his father and his father was taken in prison, but wanted to escape and is killed by that attempt. There is nobody who wanted to care for this little boy of almost one year old. 

 We are waiting for the rain, some days ago we got a bit of rain, everybody was happy, but it stopped again. It is very hot, dry and very, very dusty. So today we decided to open the little swimming pool and put in a bit of water for the toddlers.
 Uncle calvin helped cleaning, there were many dead frogs in the pool and a lot of dust. As you can see , the boys were ready to help... Justin and Mark are already in the pool, waiting for the water...
 Mark got the idea... we need water in the pool!
 Yes, now the fun can begin! Left is Norah, the only girl among the toddlers talking with Mark, Justin is waiting for more water and Abraham is already sitting in his corner....
 Helen is teaching them how to splash the water and that was fun.
Auntie Dominique brought Richard in the water, but he didn't like it so much, it was too wet for him.
After a while they all got tired. Justin was put on his potty, and fell asleep right there!!
We had fun, but we do hope for the rains to start soon... It is so hot....

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Honor the aunties...

Today was Women's Day. So it is a good opportunity to honor the Women in Amecet!! We had cake and soda and a small gift of appreciation for each of them. We thanked them for the good job they do. It is very busy at the moment, many baby's and then four toddlers who are all very mobile and do all kinds of things you do not want them to do!!!
Here we (they) are singing the National Women song. Very serious!!! 
Helen and Josh helped me to make all the hearts on the little presents (soap + airtime)

We are thankful for the work the aunties do in Amecet, we can't run the place without them. We have struggles, but we see so many children do so much better now:

 Thomas came in October 2014, was very sick, but is doing great now. A beautiful, cute little man!

Richard was left behind in a garden. He is gaining every week and we see progress in him.

The premature born twins, Martha and Mary are two little healthy ladies! They will go home next week!

Of course there are also  children who are giving us worries, Gabdesia is still very sick, Janneke takes her every week to a counsellor in the Hospital, she seems to have given up to fight for her life, then we have two babies who are not gaining and struggling, on and off on IV drip,  We have two children on a NG feeding tube, but we do see that our work makes a different. And the aunties are doing a big part of the work. And if we are a bit down, we look at Thomas, Richard, Martha and Mary or we look at our four toddlers, who are every day in for a naughty joke!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The quintuplets became quadroplets..(De vijfling die een vierling werd)

Simon got a telephone call today from a Police lady. There was a family in the village who had quintuplets, they were around 6 months old and they were not doing well. We decided to go and look, out of experience, the situation is not always the same as they tell you. On the other hand, five baby's is a lot of work, there might be a chance that one of two of them is not growing....
So we went this morning, with the police lady, who also didn't know them herself. It was a long drive and the road became a path and after that a very small path, but we made it...... And the story was very different... There were no five baby's, but four. And they were not 6 months old, but 1 year and 4 months. And they were not doing bad, they were doing good. They were all walking, they looked well nourished, one was a bit smaller than the others, but not to be worried about. We even knew the mother and the baby's. When they were born in Soroti Hospital, in November 2013, the doctor called us, he was worried about the youngest two. He suggested that we would take the two smallest baby's for a while so the mother would not be overwhelmed. But the father of the children refused, so they went home. We met them again in the feeding centre in Soroti Hospital, some months ago. But to see them now again at home was good. 
The children were all looking good, much better than the last time we saw them. Also the mother was now more relaxed. The last time she was so worried and occupied with the children, that she was a bit confused. The lady is 38 years old and she has now 11 children. And to get four in one time, I can understand that she was so worried and didn't know what to do. 

We had brought porridge flour, sugar and soap. And a bag with clothes, for baby's of 6 months....... So we couldn't give them, they will come to Soroti and come for some bigger clothes in the next weeks. But we had some balloons and some little dolls, which we gave. They had never blown a balloon, so I was busy blowing!

I was very happy that the baby's were okay and that we didn't have to take any of them to Amecet. I had some blankets with me, you never know... But Amecet is so full!!!! We have several beds with two baby's instead of one. Sunday the police brought a small baby, maybe a couple of months old. He was abounded in a house by his mother. We are full, but what do you do? This baby was starved, so hungry and he has problems with drinking. He wants to drink so badly, that he gets all uptight and tense that he can't drink.
His name is Emmanuel, it is so sad to see such a malnourished child, who is so tense and worried looking.  We pray that he will pick up soon and be more relaxed and smiling.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Adoption - Reunion

Amecet is not an orphanage, but we do get many children who are orphan or abandoned. As Amecet, we want to bring the children back to their families, we don't want to have them in Amecet for a long time. So we do work at their resettlement, within 2 months. If the child is emotionally and physically fit to leave, we would like the child to resettle within their family clan. But we also get children who are left behind in the hospital, on the road, or are found in the bush or something.... Simon and Elias (our social workers) try to trace their relatives. We start with a advert in the local newspaper, we ask around, we hang sometimes folders with a picture of the child. If nothing works....... if we don't find any relative, the child is than ready for adoption. We go first for the local adoption, so the child will stay in their own culture and country. As for now we have around 38 children who went for adoption, out of Amecet. Some international adoption, some to foreign families who are living in Uganda, but most of them went to Ugandan families. Today we invited 19 families to come with their children, to Amecet.
It was wonderful to see the children again and especially to see that they all do so well. The Probation Officer Mr. Ekallam was there, he spoke to them. Some of the parents shared some issues, but there was no parent who had difficulties with the children, beside the normal issues. 
In the mean time took Elias the older children to talk with them separate, to ask their opinion and experiences. That also came out good. We want to help the families to get the legal documents for their children, we are going to connect them with an organisation of lawyers, who help people for free with their legal issues, when they can't afford it. It will be so good for the future of the children, when this is all arranged well. 
Ofcourse it all brought back memories.... Some of the children have been so sick, while they were in Amecet, but when you see that they are healthy and happy,  it is worth all the struggle and hard work!

This is Moses The picture at the left is from March 2011, when Moses was found in an old pighouse, under some plastic bags. There is a long story, they found his mother and we tried to resettle him with his relatives. This didn't work out and now he is adopted and is almost 4 years old. The picture at the right shows how he is now. A very cute little man!

March 2013 the twins Augustin and William were brought to us, They were abondened by their mother. We found their relatives in the village, but they were not willing to take the two boys  (2 years old). The boys were very malnourished and one of them missed his eye. Now they are adopted in to a wonderful family, their father came with them. They were smart in their school uniform. These boys have a future ahead of them!!!!!
We ended the meeting with a lunch and everybody went back home. We want to organize, together with the Probation Office, more meetings like today. It will be good to advise and support the foster/adoption parents more. With the legal issues, but there are lots of others issues where they would like to have advise about. We see more Ugandan families, willing to open their heart and home for children who are in need. And it works well, that was proven today!!! And I am so happy, to see all those children again, such an encouragement to go on, we have a mission.........

Sunday, February 22, 2015

School fees.....

In February, the schools started again their new school year. And for many, many family's does that mean: SCHOOL FEES!!!!!!
You pay per term and there are three terms in each school year. For every family it means trying to find money to pay the fees of the children. Sometimes they sell their chickens, or goats, they borrow money or try to do extra jobs to get the money together. It happens very regularly that a child, especially in secondary schools, has to drop out for a year, hoping that there is enough money the next year. There are government schools who are almost gratis, but secondary schools are almost always with a fee, unless you are very good, you can get a scholarship.
Education is the key to get out of the circle of poverty, we get also many people coming to Amecet, asking for help with education. On February 9th, I wrote the blog about our "Tante Suus" fund, which helps some of the secondary  students to school. But even we get many asking help for primary school. YWAM, the missionary Organisation where Amecet is also a part of, has two schools: a nursery school and a primary school. As Amecet we started to help some of the vulnerable children who come to Amecet for help. That are children who have lost their parents, due to HIV/AIDS, or other causes, these orphans live with their relatives, uncles or grandparents, and are often under privileged in many things. Also a number have a single mother who has to work hard to provide for her children With paying their school fees to our Harmony Primary school, we help them to get a better education than from the Government schools, where classes have sometimes 100 pupils. This money for the primary children is not coming from tante Suus fund, which is only for secondary education, but from our Amecet funds. 
We sponsor now around 35 children, the children in the brown uniforms are from Harmony nursery school and the red-blue uniform is from Harmony Primary school. 
 Simon, is organising this part of our work, he asked all the caretakers to come and to fill the forms, we made an agreement that the families are taking care for of the uniform, while Amecet is paying the school fees. You can see the Primary school building behind them
Some of the girls, we sponsor. We find it important that girls get all the chances the boys get. In Uganda the children have to follow education until they are 18 years of age. Unfortunate, many drop out because of lack of school fees, but also many girls, because of early pregnancy.