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!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Immaculate and an adventure at night..

Several times I wrote about Immaculate, a 12 years old girl, we worried about. Immaculate was losing weight, every Sunday, when we weigh all the children, it was a big disappointment, she lost again! We tried everything we could to get her eating, checked if she really took her medicines, she was a very good cheater with taking medicines. You are watching her take them, you give her the water to drink with them and still later you'll find a tablet between her fingers or so. It almost looked that she didn't want to live anymore. We talked, we counselled, but it seems to be all in vain.... untill 2 weeks ago! She had gained!!! And she was so happy, she came to tell me with a big smile on her face. I was almost losing hope that week, she was down, didn't want to talk, sick again, but then this good news. Two days later she came to ask me if she could go back to school, and I let her. Since that time she is going to school for four mornings a week, so she can rest in the afternoons. She is still weak, I have to almost lift her into the schoolbus in the morning, the step is too big for her to take. But she is more happy and she is doing well. She gets now at every meal a cup of milk with a energy/calorie supplement, and it helps her also. When you see the picture, you can see the 2 kg!!!

Last night we had another adventure, I got a phonecall at 4.15 am, it was Miranda, Sabina, one of our two newly arrived Dutch volunteers had been sick during the night and fainted. She fell and hit her head on the table and the result was a big cut and a puddle of blood on the floor. I went there and she was very weak, the cut needed to be stiched. Her friend Carlijn, carried her on her back to the clinic at the neighbours. There was no electricity there, strange, because at Amecet there was electricity, it must have been a very local problem. With the help of our torches the guy on duty stiched the cut and the patient was carried back on the back of her (strong!) friend. We laid her in the night duty room and now she is doing much better, she has not been vomitting anymore. I went to pay the bill this morning, it was 6,25 Euro's (= 8,50 $ US) Where do you find a clinic who will do this for this price???? OK, we provided the lights, but still, it is a good deal!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy anniversary...

Today is the 11th wedding anniversary of my right and left hand in Amecet:
Simon and Josephine Orugon!
They have been working with Amecet for many years and Amecet would not be the Amecet it is now, without them. They are a real blessing for the ministry. They have a family with three children and still they have enough love and energy for the children in Amecet!
Dear Josephine and Simon I wish you many happy years together, (and with us!) !!!!!

If you know them, you can leave a reaction for them on the Blog!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tears and laughter....

Maybe some of you have read the blogs about the 3,5 year old Gloria, their title is: "These legs are made for walking". We took Gloria back in Amecet, because her grandmother did not put her splint on her leg. We went with her to doctors, had splints made, which were a disaster, she cried so much with them and she got wounds on her heels. Then the doctor put plaster on both of her legs and she had that for four weeks. Then we had to massage her legs, but we did not see any improvement. The only improvement was that Glory got more active and started to crawl, she even tries to pull herself up and stand on her legs for a minute, holding the table. This week we went back again to the doctor, he send us to a physiotherapist (the only one in Soroti). There we heard the awful news that Gloria has a brain damage and that she will never walk. She has her legs in a "scissor position" and when we put on plaster or splints, as soon as we remove them, it will be back in that position. I had tears in my eyes, while the man was talking, Gloria is an orphan and is HIV+ , who will carry her around when she is 20 years??? I was so sad, what future is there for this little girl? We went back to the doctor, quiet and sad, the doctor agreed with the opinion of the physiotherapist, but he said, she might walk. Practise with her with the walker, massage her legs and don't give up. He saw how down disappointed we were. He had one patient like Gloria, he walks now, sometimes he falls over, but he goes up and walks again. So now we started with the walker, she does walk a bit, on her funny feet, we praise her and clap for her and she really feels special then. I don't know what the future may bring for Gloria, we pray God for a miracle and in the meantime....... we don't give up and we practise and we clap for her!!!!

Today we got happy news. We had gone in the last months with three children for a HIV- DNA test. This test is done on baby's, to see if there is any HIV virus in their blood. From the three children whose picture you see below, two of them lost their mother shortly after they were born. And their mothers were HIV+ . The baby's received ARV medicines after their birth, but there is still a chance that they got infected by the HIV virus. The third child's mother was probably HIV+, so we also did a DNA test on him. But today we got the happy news that they are all three HIV NEGATIVE!!!!! We are very happy for them, it will be such a good news to their families! We are thankful that we can laugh with those three baby's, who have now so much more chance for a better future!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Christine is sick again..

We know Christine for a long time, she came for the first time in Amecet in 2004. She was treated for TB and tested for HIV and found HIV+. After 3 months we brought her back to her grandma in the village and kept visiting her. There was another organisation which helped Christine and her Grandma, so we just kept visiting her and we gave some support to the grandma (like seeds, a goat etc.) Christine did not do so well, she has been treated in total three times for TB, every time it came back, maybe also because she didn't take the medicines very regular?? In the beginning of January 2011, we found Christine being admitted in the Feeding centre of the hospital. The grandma wanted to go back to the village and leave her on her own in the centre. We talked with the nurse and agreed to take her back in Amecet. Christine was 12 years old and her weight was 15 kg. Her CD4 test (a certain white blood cell) was very low. We took her again to the doctor and her ARV medicines (HIV med.) were changed into second line.

She started to eat and was doing much better, but that terrible cough was still there. Would it be again TB?? We let her sleep alone in a room, to be sure that she could not infect any other child. But the X-ray and the sputum tests were all ok. We even went with a sample of sputum all the way to Kampala, to the TB institute, but also this test came back negative. Christine is now back with the other girls in the room. She started to gain and her weight is now 19 kg. On Wednesday, she was feeling hot, yes there was a fever. I took her for malaria test, that test came out positive, Christine had malaria, so we started 3 days of malaria treatment. Yesterday she had very high fever, maybe still malaria or an urine tract infection? This morning we did both tests, the malaria test again and the urine test, both came back negative. Christine was also a bit better, she was coloring and even tried to ride the little bicycle. But this afternoon I was called (it was my free day) that Christine had again very high fever, they were trying to get it down, but she was still shaking and very sick. Miranda and I carried her to the doctor in the clinic next door. The doctor listened to her lungs and told us, is was a pneumonia. They brought a cannula in and we took her back home. We have go give her intravenous injections via the cannula, twice a day and manage the fever. And that is what we do now.

Helen felt sorry for her and played a game with her, and there she sits, with a wet cloth on her head, (the fever was going down), and a basin next to her, in case of nausea, but trying to win the game from Helen! Good of you, Christine, that is the way to go!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pre-mature baby Esther goes home

Baby Esther was brought to us in the beginning of February, when she was 5 days old. The mother had given birth at home when she was 7 months pregnant (so they said). But the mother was so weak after given birth, she got malaria and passed away after 4 days. The little baby Esther was only fed with sugar water and a bit "forgotten" when the mother got so sick.

We struggled with Esther, she was so weak and small, her weight was 1.9 kg. We decided to bring a NG tube in, the drinking from the bottle took her so much energy, she got exhausted very fast. The NG tube really helped her, we could feed her every two hours, without making her tired. Soon we started to feed her again by bottle a bit, so she would not loose her sucking reflex. Esther started to gain and gain and gain. She was the loudest in crying and wanted to be picked up all the time. She had the most sweetest smile!!!!

Today she went home, weighing 4.9 kg( in 4 months) and drinking from a cup. See the pictures, the first one in February and the second one in June, 4 months later! A beautiful little girl who smiles a lot! And this is why we do what we do!!!!!! I love it!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday night = Chicken night..

Every monday we eat chicken at our dinner table. The people who have been here will say, no that is onWednesday night! But since we had to change our weekly menu because of the mouth and feet disease around Soroti, they do not sell any beef,and now we eat chicken on Monday!The little ones get it mashed, the bigger ones eat it from the bone! And we pray that the baby's are quiet for half an hour, so we can eat in peace.

Some make a lot of mess, Catherine loves to eat from the chickenbone, but she only has two little teeth, we do feed her the mashed food as well. But she really loves to hold the chicken bone! And when we don't pay attention she turns her plate upside down!

After every evening meal we sing together. The big drum is played and and we clap, sing and dance! The little children are sitting on the floor or in a little seat and we praise God together for all the good things He had done for us.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Amecet HEROES day..

Uganda celebrate their national Heroes day on June 9th. In Soroti is a gathering and there is marching done by the police, soldiers and security guards. There are speeches and they are remembering the heroes who have been helping building the nation Uganda. It is a public holiday.

Amecet has no holidays, there are always children to feed, change and care for. So we felt we celebrate the Amecet Heroes Day. We all came together on the veranda, from our two houses, and thanked our staff for the work and spoke out our appreciation. They are the heroes of Amecet, they help building our Ministry. Lately several staff left, due to studies, pregnancy, or personal reasons, we have been getting new staff, but it is hard on the "old time staff"who have to work in the new ones all the time. So this time we especially wanted to honor the "old timers", as our Heroes and we gave them a little gift as appreciation.

With a soda and home backed cookies (by the Amun children) it was a nice time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Catherine is one year!!!!!!

yesterday we celebrated the day that Catherine was born, just one year ago! She was born as an HIV infected infant, her mother died a little while after she was born. She went from home to home and then the grandfather of the side of the boyfriend and father of Catherine brought her to Amecet. She was almost 4 months old. A very weak baby, weighing just over 3 kg. She was quite sick in the beginning, but now she is the darling of everybody. She has just a sweet character, she smiles and waves to everyone. But the most favorite person is Sarah. From the beginning Sarah has opened her heart to Catherine. When she comes out of school, she went to Catherine, holding her, feeding her and playing with her. If Catherine hears Sarah's voice (which is quite loud!) then she starts to smile and trying to see where Sarah is. And here she is one year old, still a vunerable child, but so happy and cute! When she got her cake with the one candle, she reached to the little sweets on the cake and started to eat them! Sarah and Helen love her as a little sister.They blew out the candle for her.

We are celebrating Catherine's life!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hurrah, no sick children today!!!

Today was the first day that none of the children had had diarrhea or vomiting during the night shift!!!! That is worh a big HURRAH!!! We have had so many children sick those last days, from different things, ofcourse malaria, that is still the most biggest cause of diarrhea and vomiting. Miranda, Josephine and me went so many times to the clinic next to us for a bloodtest or with a sample of an urine or diarrhea in a little bottle to the laboratory. You have to be alert for fever everytime you feed a baby.
In the blog of 24/5, I wrote about baby Simon, who was so sick. He has been on IV drip and we had to feed him by a NG tube, he was too weak to suckkle from the bottle. And when a baby weights only 2,5 kg you don't want him to loose much weight! This is a picture from Simon, today! He has put on a little weight, is drinking by himself again and no more diarhea and vomiting or malaria. It is a beautiful little boy!

This is a smiling William! He was also very sick. I wrote about him in the blog on 19th of March. His family has never been coming to see him, while he is with us for 2,5 months already! William has been quite sick as well, his stools became white, around two weeks ago and he started to become a bit yellow. Ofcourse we went to the doctor, he started to drink less and we had to feed him also with a NG tube. We were really worried about him. We went also to the peadiatritian, and we did an abdominal scan. The doctor was afraid for an obstruction of the gallbladder. But the scan was good, maybe just a hepatitis?? Every day we always first asked, how is the stool of William??? And yes, last week there were normal stools again, he is not so yellow anymore and he is also drinking on himself again, he gained and he made us very happy!!! We have now 9 baby's under 3 months of age and 4 under one year of age. You can imagine that you have a lot of worries about so many vunrable little ones.

But today we say hurrah, we don't know about tomorrow, we will see then what will happen!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

An exciting day...

Our day started with finding my bag laying out in the garden, our dogs had played with it, but how did it came there? Then I remembered that I had found the screens, we have for the windows, standing open the night before. Someone had grapped my bag through the the iron bars, we have in front of our windows. The bag had been empty, so they had thrown it away and the dogs played with it during the night. Half an hour later one staff came in to tell me that they found her bags laying behind the house in the grass. I went there and told them not to touch anything. I called Simon and later that morning he came with the police and their sniffing dog. That was really impressive, the dog sniffed, walked around the fence, out through the open garden of the neighbours to the house behind us. He walked there to our fence, he turned around walked into the house, to a certain room and sat down. His job was over! In the house behind us they keep some children, but there are also some streetkids who sleep there sometimes. There is no supervision and the boys have been coming over the fence to steal from our compound. We have caught them before, taking scraps of metal, but now it became more serious. They know when we are all in the house, before the dogs are out and then they come to roam around. The police and the probation office are involved and they are brought to a remand home in Mbale. The room where the dog went to was the room where they sleep.

The second event this day, were the parcels, I picked from the post office. There was a Dutch girl, Bonnie, who came last year for some months to help us. At the end of her stay, there was a suprise visit from her mother and they asked us if they could help us with something. In several room were the curtains in a very sad state, they said they were going to measure all the rooms and find nice curtain material and make the curtains for us. And in that parcel were all the curtains!!!! We hang them directly and the result is beautiful. Such a blessing for us, you can't find nice children material here in Uganda, we are really grateful for them. I add some pictures of the rooms! Bonnie, Wilma and Oma, one more time: hartelijk bedankt!!!!! Our night duty room, with the new curtains! Esther is preparing the daily medicines for the children.

In this room the toddlers are sleeping. Also with new curtains!!!

And this is the room where the smallest baby's sleep, very cute with the red, blue and white.

We have two rooms for older children. In this room sleep 3 older girls.

There were even new curtains for our office! I think, now I have to clean up my office a bit!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

One goes out and two come in....

It is very busy in Amecet, we have so many baby's and quite a number are ill. We have many visits to the clinic next door!
But Joshua is gone home!!! His grandmother, you can see them here on the picture, came to pick him. She was so excited and even Joshua smiled a lot to her. Joshua has been two months with us in Amecet, his mother died after giving birth. He was a healthy baby, and we were happy to have him with us, for that time. The family is now at peace again, after the burial and the mourning time and are also happy to receive Joshua. The grandmother will be the one to help caring for him, but she is still a strong lady. Joshua, we pray that you will be a blessing to your family!

An empty bed, but not for long.......
A new baby girl was brought by her uncle and neighbour. A sad story, That same morning the mother had given birth at home, in the village, a neighbour helped her, but then she started to bleed, they put her on the back of a mototbike and set off to the health centre, on the way she passed away... The father collapsed and had to put on IV drip, so the uncle and the neighbour came with the little girl to Amecet. We took her in, they gave her the name Peace, it is a beautiful little girl and she is drinking well.

Then the next day this little baby was brought, by the father, the uncle and the grandmother. We were full for little baby's, but then I heard the story and saw the back of the baby, I knew we had to take this baby in.
The mother started to have labour pains, the health centre send them to the hospital, there they decided to do a caesarian section on the mother.
The baby came out, but the mother started to bleed and she died without coming out of the narcotics. During the procedure of the caesarian, the doctors cut the little baby in his back. The wound is a little bit infected. The family took the body of the mother and the baby to the village for burial. Then they brought the little boy to us. They call him Yobu (Atesso for Job). We moved some children up and we have still a bed for Yobu. He is put on antibiotica and he is drinking well. So we are going on.... Bringing healing to the children..