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, January 31, 2011

We are fighting a battle.

Last week I wrote about the three girls who came back in Amecet, because they were not doing well at home.
We have been busy with them, we took them for testing, for doctors visits, for X-rays, and for one of them we have been to Kampala to bring her sputum to a special laboratory. Two of them are really doing well, they both gained two kg. in the three weeks that they are with us. It is so nice to see them laughing and eating!!! We got some visitors from Holland, who brought dresses for them and pyjama's, they so happy with them.
But one of them is not doing well. And I am very worried about her. She is 12 years old and her weight is going down, she weighs now only 21,5 kg. She is started on TB medicines and they changed her ARV medicines. Her CD4 is very low, but now she stopped eating and even drinking. She is so sad and quiet, we have tried everything to make her eating again, but all in vain. Her grandma came to visit her and told us that at home she also had problems with eating, she sometimes didn't eat for a whole week! Right now she is on IV drip, because I can't just sit and see her die! We will do everything what we can to help her. We asked the visitors from Holland to bring special liquid feeding and that we give her now. But she vomits, so we give her injections against vomiting. In the meantime we try to encourage her, counsel her. It is hard to see this nice girl suffer so much, please pray with us for her, that she comes out of this and that she wants to live! Part of the problem is that she doesn't want to take her medicines, we have been seeing her chaeting with her medicines, that what she also have been doing at home, and when you are HIV+, you just can't do that, that is playing with your life! So that will be an important goal to work on in the future, just pray that she will have that future.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It is worth all the pain!!!!

The school vacation is almost to the end, so we are getting ready to go back to school. The hair is a part of that preparation! Helen is the first to be made (more) beautiful. We have a lady who comes to Amecet to braid the hair of the girls. At the moment there are quite a few who have shaved their hair short, but there are also some who need to be braid again. It is a painful experience. They braid the "extentions" in with the real hair. For children they use threads to make the extentions, for adults, they use fake hair. Helen wanted two ponytails, so on the picture you can see the lady working at it. The last time we stopped halfway, she was crying so much, so we went to shave. This time she really wanted braids, so that is what we did.
This is almost 3,5 hour later! Helen endured the pain and she is very happy with her ponytails. It has been worth all the pain!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

About secondary school and newborn babies.......

Today was a special day, we went with our oldest "daughter" to the secondary school to register her for Senior 1 class. On the picture you see Mary standing in front of the gate of her new school. She will be starting on February 14th as a boarding student.
I am so proud of her, and I am so thankful to God that we can see this happen! I still see her coming in Amecet, so sick and so miserable... and now .... she is a beautiful young lady, who has the whole world laying open in front of her!
Amecet will still be her "home" as we support her to study in the future, she has become very dear to us in the last couple of years.
Today we also received two new babies! Both of them lost their mother.
The first one is Betty, she was born yesterday, her mother needed a Cesarean and started later to bleed and she passed away. The baby looks healthy and drinks well. The second baby came this afternoon, his name is Charles, he was also born with a Cesarean, everything went well, they were discharged, but at home the mother became sick and she died within a day. he is now 12 days old, looks also healthy and he drinks very well. Sarah is very happy with little babies, she hugs and cuddles them. She handles them as a profesional mother! On the picture you see Sarah with left, Betty, she is still a bit light, but at the right you see Charles, he has already his beautiful black color.
We pray they will gain and be a blessing to their families when they go back in a couple of months!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It all begins with a smile!!

Sunday morning at 8 am the grandmother of Christine came at our door. She needed a certain medicine, she told us that Christine was admitted in the hospital and that she was very sick. Later that day Simon and I went to see Christine in the hospital. We found Christine in the Feeding centre, very malnourished, she was walking a bit, but she was very weak. We spoke with the nurse and the nurse agreed that it would be better to take Christine to Amecet. The grandmother wanted to go home and leave Christine behind without a caretaker. Christine was happy to come with us. She is 12 years old and her weight is only 15 kg. We have been with her already to get an x-ray, blood tests, sputum tests and with all the results back to the doctor today. They are looking into changing her ARV's, because the medicines she was taking don't seem to help her. TB is still an option also, she is still very weak and we need God's help to see her come through!

In the last two weeks we got now in total 3 girls, who have been with us in the past , went home very fine, but because one or the other reason they
suddenly fell back. Immaculate, also 12 years old, also on ARV's lost a lot of weight, and is very weak. She doesn't like to eat, every bite is an enormous effort. And then we got Mary, she is 15 years old, and is also on ARV's, but has fallen sick and is loosing weight. All three girls are orphans and we think that they have not taken the ARV medicines on the right way. We have been going with all of them for tests, doctor consults and we hope and pray that they will start picking up.
It is so sad to see those girls, teenagers, sitting like old ladies on our veranda, they just can't do more than that. But they're already starting to smile, that is a good beginning!!

Christine (12), Immaculate (12) and Mary (15)

P.S. ARV's are medicines which are given to HIV+ patients to slow down HIV virus in the blood. There is still no cure found for HIV/AIDS.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thank God for onions!!

Little baby Agnes her nose was full, she hardly could breath. And little baby's don't know they can also breath through the mouth. So she struggled to get air. She is not even 2 weeks old! We took her to the doctor and he advised us to suck her nose out and to give her nose drops. But after we had done that, in 30 minutes she already was snoring and crying again. She got very tired, because she couldn't sleep well and she did not want to drink. We tried with salty water drops, but all in vain and it went on for days, until one of our volunteer (Dutch) nurses said that her grandmother then puts a peeled onion next to the baby. We decided to try, what is there to loose? So last evening we put the onion on a plate next to Agnes. And guess what happened? Agnes slept the whole night (of course we fed her several times) and her nose is clear she can breath well and drinks already much better!! So I thank God for onions......... and for the grandmothers!!!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Her legs were made for walking... 2

Yesterday we drove again to Kumi (45 min. drive) with Gloria. We wanted to pick her walker and let the men look at her legs and the splints. There was no electricity, so we had to sit and wait until they switched on the generator. They looked at her splints and put some more paddings here and there, so it would fit better and would give less pressure on her legs.
Gloria was not very happy, she hates her splints and screams when we put them on. It is partly for the pain, but a big part is anger. She just doesn't want them on. When we drove back, I just saw a young man, from around 25 years, crawling on the ground, this would be the future of Gloria when we are not firm with her. I am motivated to do the best we can! So we put the splints on, in spite of her screaming....
And the walker........ she hates it even more! As you see on the picture, she is crying and refuses to do even one step! But it will go better, we just let her stand behind it and will try again... and again......and again!
I don't think Gloria will be home within two months. But it is an investment in her future!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mathilida goes back to her family!

Mathilida was born on 5/10/2010 at home, deep in the village. It was one month before the due date. So the mother was taken by suprise. It was also in the middle of the night and it was too difficult to try to reach, on a bicycle, the nearby healthcentre. The mother kept bleeding and this was the cause of her death! The family was in shock and a friend rang us by telephone if we please could help with the baby. We told them to bring the baby as soon as possible and that same day, only 10 hours after being born, Mathilida came in Amecet. She was a small baby, weighing only 2,6 kg. She drank, so she started to gain. She stayed for 3 months in our home. We took her for immunization and we saw her growing, she smiles when you talk to her and she is just a lovely little girl. The family came to visit her from time to time, they live far, deep in the village, mostly they come on the bicycle, because public transport is rare, only on market days.
Today the father came to pick her, together with his sister, who will help him to care for Mathilida. The father promised to come to our "come back days" we have for those who went home. On that way we can still advise the family and see how the baby does at home. It is nice to give her back to her family, but we will miss her smile!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Welcome to the Amecet Fashion show!

On our Blog on December 28 (Celebrating) I wrote about how good the girls helped us during the holidays and that we offered them all an outfit as appreciation. They all choose their material and the fashion of the outfit. And today it was the day of the the Fashion Show!! Esther and Brenda

Dinah and Sarah

Vicky, Mary and Kevina

Are those girls not beautiful? We are proud of them!!!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

No gain without pain.

Gloria did not have a good day, yesterday I wrote about how we got her the new splints. Yesterday evening and also today we got a lot of tears from her. It is sad, she looks at you with those big eyes, asking: why do you put those things on my legs, they really hurt a lot!
We can not explain it to her, she just feels the pain.
I showed the staff how to put them on and also that we give her some breaks during the day, I know that, when she is 20 years old, will remember us and be thankful that we pushed her through this difficult time. We pray that her skin will not give any problems and that the pain will get less soon.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Her legs were made for walking........

Gloria is a little girl who is now 3 years old. Her mother brought her to Amecet towards the end of 2008. The mother was very weak, she had AIDS. She could hardly carry her baby, who was around 9 months old at that time. The mother just started ARV's. We talked to her and offered to take Gloria, who was also HIV+ and sick, for a couple of months in Amecet, so the mother could use all her energy to get better herself. Our plan worked, the mother got stronger and after 4 months Gloria went back to her mother. We kept contact with them, but sadly the mother got suddenly very sick and passed away in September 2009. The auntie took Gloria and her three sibblings in her home. We kept contact and helped to pay schoolfees for the two older children. In August 2010 we took Gloria and her aunti to a hospital in Kumi for splints to strech the legs of Gloria. Her legs were crooked, she could not stand on her legs. We did some follow up, but because of all the sickness in Amecet in Oktober and November, I did not check on them. This week we went to see them and we saw that they do not use the splints, the legs are very stiff and if nothing would be done, Gloria will never be able to walk.

We discussed the situation with the auntie and we could understand that it was all a lot of work for her. We offered to take Gloria back in Amecet, just to work on the legs! She was very happy and agreed.

So today we drove out to Kumi (1 hour drive) and visited the othopaedic workshop again. It is a great place, what they can do there with such a simple methods and instruments.

They first made a moulding out of plaster from the legs of Gloria.

Simon is holding Gloria, while the man is making the moulding of the legs.

All the time Gloria holds thight the mouse she adopted as her friend!

In the corner of the room you could see a big pile of all kind of big and small legs and feet!!

After taking the moulding, they send us outside and we sat in the grass and went for a soda, after a couple of hours we had to come back and they fitted the splints!
Still the mouse is hold tight!

And Gloria could stand straight!! (with ofcourse the mouse in the hand!)

Next week we have to come back to pick the wooden walker which they are going to make on Gloria's size.

It will not be easy, it will hurt Gloria, she will cry, but it is all worth doing when it will make her possible to walk!!!

So........ we go for it!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Out in the field again...

When we brought in December the Christmas blessings to the grandma's in the villages, we got the report back that it was not going well with Mary in Otuboi. She had lost a lot of weight and was sick all the time. We were concern and decided that she would be priority when everything would be normal after the holidays.
Today we drove to Otuboi, it is an one hour drive. We saw Mary and asked her if she wanted to come to Amecet for a while (she was in Amecet in 2004) . Mary is an orphan and also HIV+, she started her ARV's last year. She is 15 years old and her weight is only 25 kg. She is such a sweet girl, when we asked her, she just smiled and said yes! Her grandmother agreed as well and also her brother thought it would be a good idea. Such decisions are always done in the community, the auntie tells her opinion and also the neighbour has her views on the matter. But we got all the medical papers and her medicins and we left.
We decided to check on Charles, he lived only 30 minutes drive from Mary. We brought Charles back home in December and I was anxious to see how he was doing. We found the hut, over all kind of small paths, and they were home. I was so happy to see him, but he was not happy to see us!! He only wanted his mom and he looked very angry at me, maybe he thought I was coming to pick him??
He looked very good and I was happy to see him bonding to his mother so much. When we brought him back and gave him to his mother, he cried. So we drove back to Amecet with the good feeling that Charles is fine.
Mary will be staying in Amecet for a while, we will monitoring her and take her to the doctor for a good check up and treatment.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Only 35 hours long......

Yesterday a little premature baby came in Amecet, today, after an intense battle for her life, she passed away. Her life was only 35 hours long. She was loved by her family.
Ninke, our new nurse, stayed the night with her. There were a couple of intense moments, but she was stable, we had hope for her. Her mother came to visit her and was happy to hold her and cuddle her. But in the morning the problems started, I called the doctor (her grandfather) he came and called with a colleague, we gave some injections, a IV drip was started. But it went worse, every time the breathing stopped, even she was on oxygen, her lungs were just not ready for it. Both of her parents came, the doctor came again, and then she just stopped, her breathing and her heart beat stopped. The doctor worked on her for two hours, but all in vain.
My heart went out to the mother, who was seeing this uneven battle for life. She loved her little girl so much. I feel a kind of empty, it was a difficult start of this new year, but still His faithful love endures forever.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A new Year, a new Baby and a new Nurse!

We had a nice time ending the year 2010 together. All the children from Amun came to Amecet and we had several snacks to eat. The girls had helped so much in preparing everything.

We shared a Bible verse together and thanked God for the things He had done in and for us in 2010 and knowing that His faithfull Love endures forever, we are not scared for all that might happen in 2011!
We waited untill 12 o'clock and wished everybody a happy new year, after that we climbed in two cars and drove to the centre of Soroti, because of the coming presidential elections, one of the party's had promised fireworks from the Rock!! It was nice and colorful but not so long. All the children enjoyed it, out at the back of the car in the middle of the night and shout Happy new year to everyone!
We expected our first volunteer nurse, but she was delayed and celebrated New Year in the bus, somewhere between Mbale and Kumi. I am very happy with medical help, so Ninke is very welcome! She arrived at 1 am this morning.

I was on night duty last night and at 6.30 am I got a phone call from the doctor from the clinic next door, he needed help for a premature baby! I went directly to the neighbours and came back with the baby and the doctor. The baby was a little girl weighing less than a kilo and she was born 2 months premature (and she is the granddaughter of the doctor). We placed her in our incubator and on oxygen. She is doing fair, but doesn't drink yet. I am glad with the help of Ninke, who is used to work with premature babies. We pray this little girl will grow!