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, August 20, 2015

We are a Family.....

Today a bit of a "personal" blog, although it all has to do with Amecet!
Those three beautiful girls are from today on, my daughters!!!!
Okay, they were with me already for a long time, I had a Care orders for Sarah in 2005, for Helen in 2005 and Catherine in 2011, but the real adoption process I started 2 years ago. It was not an easy time to get everything done, the papers, the relatives of the girls had to come several times, the lawyer was not so precise in keeping his appointments etc. etc. No, there have been some tears along the way...
But now... it is all done, I have the Adoption orders from the High Court Judge in my hands!!!! And we are all happy, the only missing person to celebrate with us is Mary, our oldest, she is in a Nursing school in Lira and will be with us in December. 
We toast op LIFE together!
We are a family, we have a beautiful home, we are healthy, that is a lot to be thankful for. we thank God that He was with us all the way, from the early beginning, when I met Sarah in the village and He used her to be my inspiration to start Amecet, where I also met Mary, Helen and Catherine (together with hundreds of other needy children) I never, never had thought of adoption, but God had another plan, for Mary, Sarah, Helen, Catherine and me. He put us together in a family.  

Thank you for all of you who have prayed for us and supported us, please continue, we still need your support!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

YES!!!! Thomas and Walter have a FAMILY!!!

Today was the official day that we gave the care of Thomas and Walter into the hands of their new parents, Freek and Neele. We have been a bit quiet about the two boys, because the adoption process took longer than we had expected. The new parents have been in Uganda for 3 months and the last month, the brothers were with them. The bonding process went very well, if you see the happy faces on the picture, it is a reflection of how it is in real!!
Maybe  for some of you it is a new story, but the two brothers came into Amecet in October 2014, I have written several blogs about them. Walter was very sick of malaria, but he picked up after treatment, but we have had real problems with the little Thomas. He was a baby of 6 weeks, weighing only 1.8 kg! It is a miracle that he is alive today, it is a real miracle boy, but when you see him now, so chubby and cute, you would almost put him on a diet! we have tried to trace his mother and other relatives, but without success, and because they are brothers, we wanted to keep them together, it is the only blood relative they have. We were so happy to hear that there was a family in Belgium, who was willing to adopt the two brothers. Yesterday the High Court in Soroti gave a positive ruling towards the adoption. Tomorrow they travel to Kampala for the passport and the visa for Belgium. We hope that they make it to Belgium before Thomas' first birthday on August 30!
As Amecet, we are so excited for the two boys, and also for the parents, we pray God's blessing upon them and His wisdom and guidance in the coming years!

Old blogs about Thomas and Walter: October 3 and 17, November 4, 11, 18, December 3, all in 2014
Then in 2015: May 15 and 20, June 18, 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Every day a little step...

 This are our three musketeers!! Left Yoweri (9 months old), middle Emmanuel (7 months old) And at the right Epietu Emmanuel (also 7 months old) This is lunch time, they are too little for our high chairs, but in those chairs, on the table, they sit well. Only Epietu doesn't like it and he also doesn't like food, he wants milk only. 
In our last blog, I wrote abut the 5 months old Judith, who was so malnourished, she is doing every day a BIG step!!
 This picture was taken on Sunday, still miserable, she got blood transfusion on Friday, her skin is starting to peel of, drinking is still going little by little. She did sleep little bit more, but cries a lot.
This picture is today!!! She lost a lot of skin, but she can drink 60 - 80 ml. per feeding. She sleeps more and she is more at peace. She even smiles!!!
So we continue to give her her medicines: MILK!!!  And she likes it, so we have good hope that the Oedema will disappear and we will have left a beautiful cute little girl!!!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Being 5 months old and severly malnourished..

That is the story of baby Judith, who was brought to us this morning. I had received a telephone call from one of the health workers in the village, he had two malnourished children. I asked him if he could come with them and this morning he brought them both.
Judith's mother had no breast feeding and she gave only water with some sugar (if there was any) to the baby. She had tried cow's milk, but the baby vomited, so only water. And when the baby was 2 months old she started to give porridge (millet and water). When I heard more of the story of the mother, I really felt for her, she tried, she couldn't do more and there were no people around her, who wanted to help her.. She got her first baby when she was 13 years old, now she was 20!
Janneke took the baby directly to the doctor and right now she is getting a blood transfusion. She was also very anaemic. She is drinking milk, little bits, to get her used to it. But it is so sad to see this little baby (only a weight of 3.5 kg.) suffering, she has oedema and you can see the rashes in the face. 
The other child was a bit older, she was 1 year and 8 months, she was also malnourished, but in a earlier stage. She is talking a bit and she is still eating and drinking. Right now she gets IV medication and we hope she will pick up and start gaining. She also has already swollen feet and hands, but not as severe as Judith.
The good news is that she tested HIV-, while her mother is HIV+ and on ARV medication. We are quite full at the moment, all the beds are taken, and we have two sets of twins who are sharing a bed! for the bonding!!! 
This are Patricia and her twin brother Aron. They are now almost 4 months. Their mother has a mental problem and the baby's were malnourished when they were brought to Amecet. They will go back home next week! The grandparents will be caring for them. They are doing well and on this picture they have a Twin Talk!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Lord have mercy on us.....

"Lord have mercy on us" this was the song that they sang at the burial of Gipas. It came to me as a cry, Lord we need your mercy!!! How many times have I been to a burial of one of our children?? And how many times will follow??
I was sitting among the mourners at the burial of Gipas. The coffin with his body was in the middle of the people, under the shade of a tree. There were people who made speeches, I was also asked to say something...What do you say...when a body of a fourteen old boy is laying in a coffin in front of you?? I urged people to take their medicines and prayed to God for comfort for his mother..
At a certain moment the children from Harmony school came. a long line, in their uniforms passing the coffin where their former classmate was laid. I felt it was a very touching and impressing moment. I saw several of them cry and I felt for their tears...
Lord, have mercy on the children who are innocently suffering from AIDS.
Lord, have mercy on us.....

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!!