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!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A warm welcome for Lois!!!

Lois went home today, to her great-grandmother!!
Lois came in Amecet in August, her mother died after Lois was born with a cesarean, her mother was only 16 years old and HIV+. Her grandmother was murdered one year ago, so the great grandmother was the one who would be caring for Lois in the future. We went to test Lois also for HIV and we had a party, because Lois is HIV-!!!! She is just over three months old and weighs 5 kg.
This morning the great-grandmother came and we asked her if she was ready for Lois, and she told us proudly that she ready. She has been saving money and had bought a matrass and a plastic so Lois would not damage the new matrass! She was carrying two pieces of cloth in her bag, she had bought to carry the baby in. We were really blessed to see this old lady, being ready to take care of Lois. We gave her some clothes, a mosquitto net, drinking cup and milk money. The lady seems to be poor, so we want to help her and she will come every two weeks for milk money, porridge flour and sugar for Lois. She will also be coming to our "comeback days" (see the previous blog).
We prayed for Lois and her great-grandmother before sending them off. That Lois will become a great blessing to her great-grandmother and that God will protect them and care for them!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

"COME BACK" days........

Yesterday we had our third "comeback" day. This day is mend for the caretakers of the baby's who have been in our house and are brought back to their relatives. When we bring HIV+ children back, we follow them up with home visits in their villages. But the HIV- baby's who were brought to us because thier mother died after the delivery, we do not visit at their homes. It would be too much for us. Lately we felt that we want to have a follow up for those children as well, so we invented our "comeback" days.

They are held every 6 weeks and we invite the caretakers to come with the children. Some of our staff, Esther, Rose and Agnes are in charge of those days. They have a small meditation to encourage the caretakers spirtually and a medical lesson. Yesterday it was about food and nutrition. They weigh the children and talk with the care takers if there are any problems. We share lunch with them and they go home with a small food supplement. We help the people who come from far with transport money. Yesterday 9 caretakers came (included two fathers!)

The responses we get are very positive, the caretakers are going back encouraged and also for us it is good to see the children again, we cared for in Amecet. When one of the children is not doing so well, we can, together with the care taker, look for a solution.

After a serie of 6 comeback days we plan to graduate the children.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Too small, too short, too sad........

This is the last picture taken from little Moses. He died this morning in my arms, weighing only one kg. and 400 gram.
He was brought to Amecet 3 weeks ago, a small premature baby, his mother was very sick. Both parents were tested HIV+. We took him in and put him in our incubator. There he has been laying, cared for and fed every two hours. He gained 250 gram, we were happy, but then, 3 days ago a mosquitto got him, and he got malaria. he never recovered from it. It was too much for his little body.
This morning I saw that it was going to end. I took him out of the incubator in my arms and we both waited for the moment that Jesus took him from me.

His life was too short, I know Jesus will take care of our little man.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

2kg. party for Patrick!!!!

Patrick is over the 2 kg.!!! In the Blog of 24/10/10 I wrote about the little Patrick, at that time his weight was 1560 gram. I wrote that we would have a soda party for him when he was over the 2 kg.
We did struggle with him, even last week he was suddenly very sick, he had to be put on drip and the doctor said that it would be a miracle if he survived.
That miracle happened!!! God has plans for this little man and today we had that soda party for Patrick, he just got milk, we the soda. But as you can see the whole Amecet family was celebrating!

This picture of Patrick to prove that he is really over the 2 kg.
If you are wondering why he is wearing a sock on his right hand, it is just to protect the canulla he still had in for the IV.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

African hair styles

It is amazing what they can do with their hair here! I

have mostly to do with the children and I have respect for the saloon ladies who can make such a beautiful creations out of the short curly hair. They put "extensions" in, for the children they braid wool in the with the hair and so they "extend" the hair!
This is how it starts, they have to comb their hair and that is painful, after that they can do many different styles.... 

The hair stays in for 2-3 months then they untie the hair and wash it very good, mostly they leave it "unbraid" for some time so the hair can also rest from the tight braiding. Sometimes the combing is too painful, so they decide to shave it.......

Then they let it grow again and the cycle continues with different styles, with or without beads.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The arrival of Moses 3.

This morning my phone was ringing at 6.30 am. It was one of the community workers from the village. One of his HIV+ clients had died the previous night, there was a little baby... if we could help??
I told him that they could bring the baby, with a letter of the community leader and at least one family member to sign the papers and to tell the story. At 9.30 am, just after we finished our start of the day with a small meditation and prayers, they arrived. I looked at the baby, it looked big for a newborn baby. The baby was 3 weeks old. The name of the baby is Moses, we have already two Moses in Amecet, so this is Moses 3. I gave the baby to one of our staff members, to bath and weigh, while I was getting the story from the relatives. The mother gave birth in a clinic in the village, went home, but then the baby got sick. She went back to the clinic and the baby was admitted. While the mother was attending to the baby in the clinic, she got very sick and died. The mother was HIV+, the baby got some medicines after birth, but as far as we could read in the medical papers, he didn't get all. Then Josephine called me inside, she was bathing the baby and she got concerned, the baby doesn't react like a normal baby, no crying, nothing. A very lethargic baby you could handle almost like a doll. I went back to the relatives, yes, they told me that the baby never cried, he also doesn't know how to suck and he is very quiet. The relatives went and we took the baby to the clinic next door.
The doctor was very concerned, this baby is half dead, he said. He wrote down the prescriptions and we hurried back with the baby. The temperature was very low, so warm water bottles were put, we started IV medication and after that a drip. We put a NG tube in and gave the first feeding via the tube.Now we are 6 hours later, I just gave the IV medication again.his temperature is fine, but he is still so lethargic.Tomorrow we will go for review to the doctor. I spoke with the relatives on the phone, they just buried the mother. Let us pray that we can see Moses 3 live trough this all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Thank you chicken!!!!

This is Yuben, on this picture he is only a couple of days old. He was born on 21/4/2009 in the main hospital in Soroti. His mother needed a Cesarean section, Yuben was born, but his mother didn't survive the operation. Yuben was brought to Amecet, if we could please help for some months. The mother has not been HIV+, so Yuben was also HIV-. He was a cute little baby, but we had struggled with him. He had a very bad skin condition, so dry that it kept on peeling off, he even got wounds with it. One time he was very sick, we had to go to the hospital with him for blood transfusion. He was sick  alot in the first months of his life. he stayed in Amecet for almost 6 months, we wanted to be sure that he was stable, before giving him back to his family. The father came to visit regularly and he found a new wife, who was willing to look after Yuben.
Last week the stepmother came to visit Amecet with Yuben. I couldn't believe my eyes, a little chubby man was walking around, was this Yuben, who had been so sick before???
Yuben is now 1 year and 6 months, he can walk and talk. They came to give me a chicken as a thank you.

I am so thankful that we could help him for those months, now he is a strong little boy, who brings joy to his family! I am glad we could play our small part in his life!!!!
And the chicken????? Tasted very good!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Going HOME....

Yesterday at 6.15 pm little Paul went to be with Jesus. I wrote about him in the blog of October 22 and October 30. This little boy has suffered so much. He was now 9 months old and his weight was only 2,8 kg.
Still it was so painful to see this little man, who had been fighting for life so much, dying. At around 2.30 pm, he had suddenly problems with breathing, we put him on oxygen and held him in our arms until he left us very peacefully.

Today we let his little coffin made and we bought posho and beans for the family. We have been trying to call a relative and in the morning we had contact with the family. We left with 5 staff members to bring paul back to his relatives. It was a long and very rough ride! Because of the rain, there were many holes in the roads and it was very muddy at times. We had to use our 4 wheel drive! We had to drive for almost 3 hours, got a downpour of rain, so we had to put the posho and beans inside the car and I sat with the coffin om my knees, so that it was not getting wet. You can hardly see "the road" at times, because they are not wider that a bicycle path.           
When we arrived at the family, I had to give a report about the course of the sicknes and how Paul died. Then we left, because it was still a long way, back to Soroti. The family will burry Paul tomorrow.
Paul's mother has died and I think that God wanted us to serve Paul in his last days. His sister was too busy to look after him, we have cared for him, we have loved him and we have prayed for him.... And now he has no more pain and he is HOME!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

John is alive and growing up!!!

John came in Amecet for the first time in 2004. He was 2 years old and very weak and malnourished. His mother had died of AIDS and they had suffered a lot becuase of the rebels form Kony. John was tested and also HIV+, he also suffered of TB.On the picture at the right he weighs just over 6 kg and he is two years old. But he picked up and after 6 months in Amecet, we brought him back to his uncle in the village. All those years we have been visiting him, we helped the family with seeds and cassava cuttings, they received a goat and a cow. But then his aunti got sick and died. We visited him and we felt that we should take John to Amecet for a little while, test his CD4 and give him some good food. His uncle was grateful, because he was also sick and he died while John was with us. We went with John to the burial.

John was doing very well in Amecet, his CD4 was not so bad, so he was not started yet on ARVs. But the situation in the village was not good. There was disunity in the clan. We felt that it would not be good to bring John back in this confusion, so we talked with the clan and decided that John would stay a bit longer in Amecet. He is going to school and is a happy young man.
Amecet has two houses, one is for the little and sick children, and the second one is for the older HIV+ children who are going to school. These children are all fysically stable, but for one or the other reason they can't go back to their relatives.
John moved to our second home "Amecet n'amun (Shelter of Hope)". The home is led by Ton and Arja van Koorten Niekerk (Dutch couple). John is happy in his new home and became good friends with Joshua. On this picture John is on the right and left is Joshua. Just coming back from school!
John is one of the children who would probably not be alive today without the help of Amecet. We are so grateful to be able to serve those little ones and see the fruits of our work some years later!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A very sad day.......

Last night at around 11 pm I decided to check on our sick babies, before going to bed. In our night duty room was one baby, Peter, on the oxygen machine. Just that afternoon his tummy started to be paining, hard and swollen. We had been to the doctor, Peter had had malaria, but even after his treatment, he had a lot of diarrhea. He had been on an IV drip. We were afraid for an ilius (obstruction of the intestines). The doctor had given some advise, but there was not much we could do. When I came at 11pm. the breathing of Peter was very difficult. I also saw that two other babies were in the need of an IV drip. We have at the moment 2 medical volunteers, they also came and we have been there the rest of the night.
At 4 am. Peter died. A little boy from one month old. His mother gave birth in their hut, by herself. Later the family found her laying on the floor with the baby. The mother was HIV+, we will never know if Peter was HIV+. 
This morning at around 7.30 am. I went to order a small coffin in the size of 25 x 60 cm. After we had laid Peter to rest in his little box (as Helen calls it), we carried it to our car. Together with a sack with posho and beans for the family, we left to the village to bring Peter back to his family. We had been able to let the family know what had happens, so they were a bit prepared.
The custom is that we have to give a report to the family about everything happened. And we gave the medical papers. It was a sad meeting there under the mango tree around that little coffin. After a little while, we left the family to mourn. There is a believe that when you cry while the vehicle which brought the body, is still there, the vehicle will get an accident. Ofcourse we don't believe that, but the people in the villages do, so we want to give them their time to cry and mourn.
As staff of Amecet, we have seen a lot of death among our children, around 55 children have died in our home since we began in 2001. Every time it hurts, every time is there the question: why ? Every time are there the tears, because of the suffering and death of those innocent children.
Peter is Home and he has no more pain! And we? We are now worrying about Moses, Paul, Mathilida and David. Because that are the children God has entrusted to us!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Days with downs and ups.....

I wrote that life is not boring in Amecet, but yesterday and today I wished that there were some more quiet times in Amecet! Yesterday a new baby was brought by the father. The mother was admitted in the hospital and was very confused and was shouting and it was very difficult to care for her. The baby was only 1,3 kg!!!! We took the baby in ofcourse, where there is place for12 babies, there is place for 13 babies also!

 Last night I was called by the staff on nightduty, one baby had convulsions. We took the baby to the clinic next door and the baby was given sedation. Today we went again to the doctor and right now the baby is on IV quinine drip. She is doing better. Today, I counted: we have 3 babies on IV drip, 5 babies who are fed by NG tube, one baby treated for cerebral malaria and then we still have Paul (see earlier blogs). baby Patrick, who is 1,8 kg and his friend, the new baby Moses who weighs 1,3 kg and is laying in our incubator.
There is enough work to do!

In those busy times, when almost all the babies seems to get sick I have to look at the succes stories. Such like Charles! He came in Amecet only 20/8/2010, very malnourished, his weight was 4 kg and he was 2,5 years old. The first week he only seem to cry! But look at this picture, what a beautiful young man he has become! He is still a bit shakey when he walks, but his smile is so cute and he loves to eat now, while we had to fight with every grain of rice in the beginning.
We have God at our side, so I have hope for all those sick babies and I know that He gives us the strength and wisdom to serve those little ones!