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, March 28, 2011

Soap for Soroti hospital

Every week we go on outreach to the prison, we viait the mothers in jail with young children (under two years of age). We felt that they were suffering and the mothers have no money to help them. We bring Akuma (flour for millet porridge), sugar and soap. We have also bought some pots, flasks and jerrycans to help the mothers. Sometimes they need medicines, we are also providing. We also visit every week the feeding centre in Soroti hospital, where they treat malnourished children. I will write about that another time.
Now I want to tell you about our outreach to the children ward in Soroti hospital. From time to time we buy a couple of boxes with bars of soap. It is the local soap (picture left), people use the soap to do their laundry, and also it is used as bathing soap. It is really agressive soap, you can get the most terrible stains out with this soap. `

We have a plan of action! You can't just stand there and give out the soap. Everybody will come and some might go with three bars and other people will get none. On the picture above, you see Simon standing in front of the door. He asks everybody to get to the bed where their child is laying. There are often two children in one bed. And very sick children, I am always sad when I come out of the children ward, there is so much suffering. When we gave out the soap, a child just died, what could we do, we gave a bar of soap and the mother was so thankful (with tears in her eyes).

Here is Esther, one of our staff, giving out the soap. There is not much time to talk, but we know that the soap is a blessing to them. All the prices have gone up, the soap is so expensive now for the people to buy. They often have to buy medicines for the treatment of their child. At times you even have to buy the syringes and the I.V. set for the drip. It is only a little that we can do, but it is an encouragement to the parents.

Friday, March 25, 2011

cows explosion.

This is the grandmother of Abraham. When you ask her how old she is, she says, maybe 25??

She is one of the few grandmothers who still has a husband, but today he was not feeling well, he just stayed sitting under the tree.

They care for their grandson, Abraham, since we brought him home in november 2005. We have been visiting them many times. In 2006 we took Abraham back in Amecet for some months, but since that time Abraham is doing fine. Today we explained some more about the medicines, the doctor prescribed, but they are really trying to care for Abraham. He is now six old and is going to school.

We gave them in the past a cow and last year they received a bull and a plough. Today they showed us their cows and bulls!

From the one cow we gave, they got one cow and one bull. They sold some of the little goats, which were produced by the goat we gave them in 2005. Together they have now 2 cows and 4 bulls!!
They are very proud of their animals and they can use the bulls to plough their land. And they drink the milk from the cow!
On the picture below you see Simon together with Abraham and the animals.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Isaac is doing well in the village!

Today we went to Orungo for home vistits. We have several children in that area, who are HIV+ and have been in Amecet in the past. It is always good to see them again, we bring some food supplements for them and see how they are doing. Encouraging the family, most of the times the grandmothers look after them.
This is also with Isaac, whose picture you see at the left. He was in Amecet in 2008. A very sad story, the mother left the village in 2005 and came back in 2008, together with her baby (Isaac). She was very sick, AIDS, she died after 2 weeks, leaving her little and only child behind with the grandmother. The mother was only 22 years old. The baby was 1,5 years old, cried a lot and was always sick. The grandmother was desperate, didn't know what to do, sold her goats to pay the doctors where she took the baby.

We took Isaac to Amecet, where he stayed for 3 months. We tested and treated and Isaac gained 4 kg. But he was also HIV+. When we brought him back to his grandmother, we visited several times and we saw that the grandmother was really committed to him. We provided the grandmother with seeds, she received a cow (which is giving milk now) and last year she received a bull. The grandmother is a very nice lady and loves her grandson. Isaac is doing very well, as you can see on the picture here below. So this story has a happy end!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Again a new born baby.

It is Saturday evening, we just finished our meal. On Saturday and Sunday we always eat out on the veranda, because we are with such a big group. The Amun house, with the bigger children comes also to eat with us on those days. After the meal we always sing together. While we were singing, the gate opened and three men came in. They came to the veranda, where it was a lot of noise from the guitar, the drum, the singing and the dancing.
I asked them if I could help them, they told me that they needed help because a new born baby, whose mother just passed away.
We took some chairs and sat somewhere in the compound, where we could at least hear each other. The mother gave birth in a health centre in the village, the baby was born this morning at 2 am. But then the mother started to bleed, the health centre referred them to the main hospital in Soroti. They came and they tried there to help, but all in vain, the mother passed away. The men that came to talk with me, were brothers of the father. They told me that the father was sitting in the car, which was waiting in front of our gate, with the body and the new born baby. They wanted to go back to the village and it was getting dark and it might even start to rain soon. I got all the information, the uncle gave the baby the name: William and then we walked together to the car. The father had to sign. It was an open car, a pick up and the body of the mother was laying on the back of the car, the father was sitting next to it. He was not capable to sign, so his brother did it for him. I was standing next to the car, I saw the legs of the mother, in a sheet, sticking out, the rest was under a plastic, in case the rain would come. I have been in Africa for a long time, but it really touched me, receiving this baby on the road, seeing those legs of the mother and seeing this broken man sitting next to the body of his wife. Tragic, hard and so real. This is how life is in Africa, this is our third new born baby this week! Two of them lost their mother and one was thrown away by his mother! That are all tragic stories. William is bathed, we tried to feed him, but the drinking is not going so well, he was a bit cold, so now he is laying in his bed, sleeping and hopefully he has sweet dreams. We will pray for that!!
William, just after his bath.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Her legs were made for walking....4

Maybe some of you read our first 3 versions of "her legs were made for walking"? It is a long story, we had a long break, because of the wounds on Gloria's heels. But the wounds are healed and we decided today that we will start the splints again. It is not an easy decision, because we know that Gloria will cry a lot, but it is necessary, Gloria will never walk, when we are not tough on her now. So today is the day!

First we gave together with Gloria, splints to her little mouse. The mouse was with her all the way and seems to give her comfort, so the mouse has also splints!!!

Gloria thought it was interesting and she helped sticking the tape around the leg of the mouse, but her eyes went at times to her own splints, which were laying next to her.

But then we put the splints on Gloria, that was a different story. She screamed and cried and fought, but it has to be done, and here she is sitting with her splints, very angry and crying.

And after a while of screaming and crying she was so exhausted that she felt asleep on the veranda outside. Of course with the mouse!

It won't be an easy time for Gloria, and also not for us. But we have to be firm, we made a schedule for her and she has to wear her splints, even she is very angry at us. Pray that she will not get wounds and that we see progress.

This is baby George, he is only 11 hours old! He was born early this morning at home. The delivery went ok, but then the mother started to bleed, they tried to bring her to a hospital, on a bicycle, but she died on the way. So sad, a beautiful little boy with such a sad and difficult start in life. His weight is 2.8 kg. We pray he will grow and be a blessing to his father!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Home visits in the villages.

Today we were going to go on Home visits in the village. We visit the HIV+ children, who have been in Amecet and are now re-settled at home. Today we were going to Serere, a district south of Soroti. We never leave early, there are always things to organise, people to talk with or issues to deal with. So it was almost 12 o'clock until we left.

The first child was baby Moses 3, I wrote about him in the Blog of 17/11/2010. Moses has been with us for over 3 months. He is now being cared for by his grandmother. But I was very concern for him, because Moses got brain damaged by his birth, he was at first a bit paralysed and couldn't suck a bottle. Now he is better, but he is blind and it is not sure if he will ever be able to walk. I was afraid he might not do well and he was now 3 weeks back in the village. The place of the grandmother was very far, but it was a beautiful ride, it was near the lake and there were mountains nearby. We even almost killed a monkey, which jumped out of a tree on the road, in front of our car. When we found the home of the grandmother (after asking several times) the little chairs came from everywhere, for us to sit on. They were very happy to see us, but we were more happy to see Moses!!! He had gained 700 gram!! He looked clean and nice, an old grandmother was sitting with him, they love him and they care for him. He is doing well. The whole family lives around, so there are many people who help caring for him. As you can see on the picture above. We talked for a little while with the family, gave milk money and porridge flour for Moses, and then we went on our way again.

To see Emmanuel, a boy of 10 years old who was in Amecet for 3 months and went back home just before Christmas. He is an orphan, HIV+ and on the ARV medicins and he lives with his sister (and uncles and aunti's), Emma is also doing well, we left a small food supplement and some soap for him behind. He was just going back to school, so we gave him a lift in our car. He was very proud to be brought to school, by a car!!!
The last one for today was Lucy, she is also 10 years old, an orphan and HIV+. She lives with her uncle and his wives. Last year she was started on the ARV medicins by an organization in the health centre nearby. I asked if I could see her medical book and her medicines. After checking everything I came to the conclusion that Lucy is not taking her medicines. She had 3 months of medicines in her container, while she should have left only for 12 days. Because on 28/3 she should go for new medicines. It is very dangerous to mess around with ARV medicines. We talked with the family and neighbours who came to see what was going on. We discovered that Lucy is the one who is managing the medicines by herself! A child of 10 who doesn't like to take medicines! After a lot of talking we found a neighbour who was also HIV+ and on ARVs, who was willing to managing Lucy's medicines. I wrote a report in the medical book for the nurse from the health centre to read. We pray that it will work out. We will go back to check on them again.
Because it had taken a lot of time, we couldn't visit more children, because the distances are far between them. You spend a lot of time driving over small roads, with holes and cows everywhere. We felt we used our afternoon well and it was good to see the children and encourage the families.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Baby found in a pig house.

This morning around 12 o'clock, a car came to Amecet and the police came out with a lady who was carrying a little baby. They asked us if we could please help to care for this baby.
The story is so sad, the lady went to church yesterday and heard something in a empty pig house, where now some ducks sleep. She was scared at first, but together with her daughter they went in. And in the corner, under a stack of plastic bags, in the middle of feces, there was a little baby boy crying. The placenta was also there. I am not sure why they waited with going to the police, but they went there today and that is how the baby came to Amecet. The lady who found the baby is willing to take the boy, when the mother is not found. The police is looking for the mother, there is a secondary school nearby, maybe it is one of the students who was pregnant and wanted to get rid of the baby on this way.
It really touches me, when I see such a little helpless baby, being treated like this. Maybe the mother was in great trouble, but to throw it away like dirt, no, I can not understand it.
I took the baby to the doctor, he checked him and then said that the baby must be older, looking at the cord, which is already drying , he must be 4 or 5 days. maybe he was laid in the pig house later? He is put on medicines, because the infection at his cord. We also started him on prophylaxis ART, in case his mother is HIV+ and he needs to drink more, because he was deheydrated. It is very hard for him to drink, after 20 ml, he is exhausted, so for now we gave him a NG tube, in that way we can feed him even while he is asleep. (the socks on his hands are not for the cold, but to keep him from taking his NG tube out of his nose).
The people who found the baby gave him the name Moses Arereng, Moses ofcourse because they found him, and Arereng means "luck" in Ateso. He had luck because they found him in time.
I believe that God has a plan with his life, like He had with Moses!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Unique in Uniform....

When we had last our family outing, we had two new T-shirts for all the staff. They were very happy with them. On this picture you can see the pink version, we also have a bright blue version. And the guys got instead of pink, an orange one.

We have a total staff of 25 people, this is also including the cooks, the cleaning ladies and the gardeners. It is a big group.

On the back of the T-shirt s is a picture of an African child hold by a Hand and there is written: Bringing Healing to the children
Josephine, Esther, Stella, Grace, Rose, Agnes and Els

Friday, March 11, 2011

Posho for Peter......

I am just back from a couple of days Kampala. Thank you for your concern for me after the tree accident in my last blog. I am fine, except some scratches en a bruised shoulder. It was time again for Sarah's check up in Ugandan heart centre. We had to wait for more than 5,5 hours, so we didn't make it back that same day, we drove half way, slept in a guesthouse and drove the last part today. The outcome of Sarah is not so well, she needs an operation.

While we (Simon, Sarah, Helen and me) were in Kampala, two new children were brought to Amecet. It is so nice to have Mobile phones, you can still be in touch when they need you! So in the middle of a traffic jam in Kampala I was talking with Amecet how to handle things and what to ask the family.
The first child, Janet is 11 days old. Very small, she weighs 2,8 kg. Her mother died 8 days after the delivery. She was only 18 years old! At the burial were problems because the dowry was not paid. They felt it was not safe for the baby to be there and that is why they came to ask if we please could help for 2 months, until things were sorted out. Janet is a cute, alert little baby. We tested her on malaria, she came out positive. We are treating her for malaria.

This is Peter, eating his Posho and beans. He is 3 years and 7 months old and he weighs almost 9 kg. His story is a drama; We know his mother since he was a little baby, she always came for milk money and later for porridge flour and sugar. His mother is mentally handicapped and she was sometimes abit confused. But she always looked after Peter, but lately she was very confused. We met her in the feeding centre in the Hospital where we come every week to bring porridge flour and sugar. Peter's hair was very light, from malnutrition and the mother was worse then ever. It is risky to take a child like that in Amecet, the mother may walk away and you never find a relative for Peter. We tried to ask her for her relatives, we knew she had them. She didn't want to talk and then the hospital discharged them and the mother got wild. She was sitting in the middle of a busy road, wanting a car to knock them, she even tried to strangle Peter. This was all happening, while we were in Kampala, suddenly there were relatives and over the phone we interviewed them and so came Peter in Amecet. He has malaria and he wants to eat. He is walking around and is very happy. The mother is with relatives and doesn't know that Peter is in Amecet. The sister of the mother will care for Peter after Amecet. We advised the family to let the mother being checked in the mental hospital. This afternoon, we tested Peter for HIV and he is negative!!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tree on the car.

Life in Amecet is never boring!!
We do not have many sick children at the moment, we brought even quite some children back to their relatives. But then other things happen....
Like today, it started to rain and rain!!! Pouring down, as if the heavens broke open! In no time the whole compound was under water, as you can see on this picture.

Then when the rain stopped (the sun came out again!!) we discovered that a very big branch had broken off and was laying on top of our car. As far we could see it was not too bad, but we had to get the branch off, before it would make more damage. We couldn't move the car behind,(there was a tree behind ), so under the instruction of Simon and Ton, we all helped holding the tree off the car....

While Ton and Simon cut branches off so that the weight of the branch would get less and we would be able to lift it off the car.

It was quite a job, Simon and Ton were working hard, while we, the girls, were trying to keep the the branch from the car.

Between this picture and the last one, was a bit of time. At the end the big side branches were off, so nothing could damage the car, the only thing is that we had to keep it lifted up and throw it aside. And there something went wrong and I ended up under the tree branch. I don't know how, but my T shirt was torn, my glasses bend and my shoulder bruised, and the side of my head was hurting. Helen was crying, she thought I was going to die under the tree. But it was not that bad, I am sitting here with ice on my head and Helen in my arms to show her, I am all right.
It was a good job, well done, in excellent team work!!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The wedding of Amos....

Amos is the Probation officer (child protection). As Amecet we work a lot with the Probation office, very often we get children via them and they also are monitoring the few adoptions which went via Amecet. There are quite some of you, who read this, who have been with us in Amecet, then you must know him. He comes often by to visit or to check for something.
Today it was his wedding day, it was a tradional wedding, held in the village where the girl lives. So we went with a car full, with staff and children to support him. It is a real show, because we are friends from him, we come together with him in a big group. Then, when we are sitting under some tents, there are several groups of ladies coming and the family of Amos must inspect them and see if the real "lady" is among them. The first group was a group of little girls, no, she was not among them, then the family brings the next group, that were old ladies, no, not among them, she was among the fourth and last group. The group walks slowly, on a music beat and kneels in front of the group guests who came with Amos. This is what you can see on the picture here below. She (Jane) is the fourth from the left. While they were recongnising that she was the one, it started to blow terrible. It is already a little bit on the picture (tablecloth) The men had to hang everywhere on the poles of the tents, the little tent with the wedding cake blew away and it started to rain. As you can see on the picture, we haven't had rain for a long time, it is very dry.
After the rain everything went put back again (except some pieces of the cake) and jane came out to search in our group for her man! When she found him she brought him out for everyone to see. They were very happy together.

We all enjoyed the afternoon, there was also a nice meal for everyone. And we are happy for Amos and Jane. We know Amos as a dedicated man, with a heart for children. He is always ready to go with you, to help a child. I am happy for him that he now will have a home and a family that belongs to him. We wish them many happy years!!

And I know that some of you enjoyed this little piece of news!!!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Come Back days are encouraging.....

Today it is again our Come Back day. We ask the caretakers of the baby's who were HIV- to come back for a series of Come Back days, so we see how the children are doing and to encourage the families. Two of our staff are responsible for these days, Esther and Rose (see picture). They prepare a small devotion to encourage the families spirituality and and health lesson as well.
They talk about subjects as: fever, diarrhea, wounds, hygiene etc.
There is also a lot of talking and sharing together and we share a meal with them.
I can hear them laugh. Most of them are grandmothers, who took over the care of their grandchild when the mother died.
I have deep respect for them, they do so well and it is a joy to see them coming with their grandchildren, who were with us, just after birth. We did a small part, only the beginning, but now they are the one who are doing the rest.!
Here is Judith laying in our incubator, a premature baby, who weighed only 1.7 kg. Her mother died after the delivery.
Today, you see Judith again, sitting in the middle of the picture below, with her grandmother who cares so well for her! Today it will be her graduation of the Come Back days! It is so encouraging to see this little girl sitting, laughing and playing.
The other child is Faith, also with her grandmother, she will also graduate today!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Catherine is waiting for your comments and emails!!!!!!
Several people asked me why they could't left any comments in our Blog. I have asked Ton, our computerman, and we have changed something in the settings. It should be possible now.
We love your comments, questions and encouragements!!

Immunization in Soroti Hospital

All our baby's need immunization, so we always go with them to the immunization clinic in the hospital. We take only 4 at the time, otherwise the person who is on night duty might have all baby's with fever.
The clinic is a big room, at one side the pregnant ladies are
waiting for their turn to be checked and at the other side all the mothers with little baby's are waiting for the immunization.
If we come in, all eyes are on us. Look at those Muzungu's (that is how they call white people) What are they doing when the baby starts to cry?? How are they handling the baby's. It is amusing to see their reaction on how we bottle feed the baby's. Some of them have never seen that, the good thing in Uganda is that breastfeeding is the number 1 feeding for your child. But in our case is that a bit difficult, so we give them a bottle. When I come I already weighed the baby and filled the card, so they always help us first. The mothers know that we help "their" children and they do not mind. In all those years that I come there with baby's I have build many relationships with the nurses. That also helps.

Our baby's behaved very well (they even hardly cried!), I hope there will not be a lot of crying and fever for the night duty person, tonight!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ups and downs..

As I wrote about the Three Musketeers in my last blog, I have to let you know that two of them are sick at home. Only Mary went to school today. Christine had fever yesterday, so we decided to keep her home and to test for malaria. And the test came back positive, so we started her on treatment already. She is not very sick, but it is better for her to take a rest, since she is still so weak.

Immaculate went to school last week only for 3 days. She really wanted to school, I was a bit worried if it would not be too much for her. But maybe, going to school would just be what she needed?
Saturday, Immaculate refused to eat again, so we took her for a malaria test. The test came back negative, no malaria, so we just kept her at home, trying to encourage her to eat. This time it was not so bad, she still eats, but she did loose one kg. And that is a lot on her!!!
We try to spend more time with her, talking and coloring etc. But Immaculate is very closed, we would love to get her talking, we feel there is a lot of pain inside of her.
Immaculate loves mango's and the first green ones are coming from our tree. She still has a long way to go, with many ups and downs, but we go for it!Please pray for her, she is such a precious girl.