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, August 30, 2011

Enjoying Holland....

Sarah, Helen and I have arrived in Holland on Friday morning. They both slept during the night flight, but Sarah was really tired. The whole day on Friday she only wanted to sleep,no eating and even no drinking. I began to worry a little, asking her if her heart was ok, she had never been so exhausted after flying. But in the evening she was doing better. And now she is her old self again! We enjoy the fruits, as you can see on the picture, strawberry's and grapes are the favorites!
We did have contact with Amecet. Everything is going well there. Miranda is doing a great job! There are sick children, one of the little girls, Lois, has still fevers, she already had that before I left, she has been on treatment, but still there is fever.
Today we went to the big market in Goes and we went to shop a bit. Helen and Sarah found some "bridal decoration" which had to be tried out ofcourse. We are in Holland because of a wedding!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A day of running, organizing, packing and saying goodbye!

It was (and still is) a busy day! Tomorrow i am leaving, together with Sarah and Helen to the airport. We are flying to Holland. We will be going to the wedding of my nephew and Sarah and Helen are the flower girls. We are going for 3,5 weeks and we are looking forward to it!!! But today it was too busy. Last night I wanted to do the last laundry, no power. Normally it comes back at 1 am, so I waited and waited, at 1.45 am I decided to go to bed and I was lucky that there was power in the morning. I am still packing, but the whole day I have been running around! Simon will be the leader of course, but Miranda will take over the medical site and the finances. It is a lot of work for her. So I have tried to make it as easy as possible.
I will be still in touch with Amecet and I will still write some blogs, but probably they will not so up to date as now.
In between I was able to visit my namesake, Els. She is born 6 weeks ago and I was involved in the process of helping Florence to give birth to her daughter. She is cute and doing very well.
And now... I am going to put the girls to bed and do the packing myself. Tomorrow at 7.30 am we will leave!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The arrival of baby Patrick and the Birthday of Helen

At around 8 am a man and a young girl, carrying a baby, came to our veranda. They asked for help for the baby. I looked into the cloth that she was carrying and I was shocked. This little baby is born 1 month ago, weighing only 1.8 kg. Dehydrated and malnourished and very miserable. Miranda took the baby inside, weighing, bathing and someone else had already made a bottle ready. The baby was dressed and fed and he fell asleep. Meanwhile I was getting the story about the baby. The young girl was the mother of the baby and the man the grandfather. The girl was only 16 years old! The boy, who is the father of the baby, took off and is not seen since. The grandfather looked supportive towards his daughter, so that is a good thing. The girl is also in her exam year, so when we take in the baby, at least she can do her exams. The baby is really in need. He got his name on our veranda, they decided to name him Patrick. The girl cried when they left. I told her to come and visit and that in a couple of months she will get him back. We took him to the doctor and he has malaria and anemia. We started treatment for that, the rest is care and feeding!!!

Today it is Helen's birthday. She was so excited, even yesterday she was telling me that I would have a daughter tomorrow who is 6 years old and not 5!And this morning it started with a breakfast in a decorated house! (you won't believe it, but I was decorating at 1 am!) She was very happy, after breakfast she went outside and told everybody who she met, that is was her birthday today!

The man who is working in our compound, Calvin, decorated her bicycle for her birthday, so she was riding around very proudly, she became 6 today!

Of course it made me think about her, coming in Amecet as a little, skinny, very sick baby of 12 days old, already having TB and being HIV+. And now she is a beautiful girl, she is funny, caring and loving. There is so much hope for baby's like Patrick! We have the proof riding around Amecet, on her decorated bicycle!

And then there is her birthday cake with the 6 candles! We sang for her and prayed together, thanking God for the life of Helen and asking His blessing over this new year!

Tonight we will pray for Patrick together with the staff. Asking God to have mercy in him and to heal him and make him stronger. We have seen His hand working in our Home, and we believe that He will do it again, and again, and again!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Potty time in Amecet......

After the meal we always have our singing time, but as soon that is finished it is potty time!!! All the toddlers have their own potty and we put them all together on their potty. The children who are a bit strong, try to move around (which we do not really encourage), other just sit and some "talk" to each other. From left to right: Rafael (14 months), Gloria (3,5 years), Peter (2 years+ 3 months), Esther (17 months), Catherine (14 months) and Lois (17 months). Are they not cute?? They are all so special. At the moment we have several sick children with malaria, Lois, Esther, Peter, Christine 2 and Immaculate have on and off fevers. We have to be alert.

Today we had to go with some children for immunization in the hospital. The twin baby's if Simon and Josephine were also due for their immunization, they are 6 weeks today! So Josephine came with them to Amecet, we could go all together, that would be much faster for her, since they help the Amecet children always fast, because we have to come so often to the hospital. Before we went, we weigh them and look at the following pictures!!!!

The first picture was 6 weeks ago, they were weighing 3450, the next picture was today: 6230 gram!! Josephine did a great job, they are doing well and are almost too big for the scale!! On both pictures is Josephine at the left and Simon at the right.

This is Catherine, I wrote about her last week, that we had to take her back in Amecet, from the village. She was there so depressed and lethargic, but now she is her old self again, walking around the table, laughing and eating well. Sad that a 1 year old child can be depressed and "homesick"!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Painters all the way from Canada....

For the last two weeks there was a team of 18 people from Canada visiting YWAM Soroti. They left yesterday. But they also left many blessings behind! They played with the children, making bracelets and neclaces with them, started a building for YWAM Soroti staff. They were at the schools, they brought baby blankets, clothes, medicines and many more things. But they blessed Amecet with their paintings! In the corridor, going to the rooms of the children they painted a beautiful picture (see picture below)

As they were working, our children were always around them, even helping filling in the colors!
Our corridor is so cheerful now, they really did a great job!

Also in one of the rooms, they painted this cute monkey above the beds.
And others painted our gate and wall afresh, with the name of Amecet at the outside and at the inside the beautifull rainbow and the Dove of Peace. They also did the same at the Amun house. They really blessed us and we are very thankful.
Eyalama noi, Canadian team, Yoga swam!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Catherine is back.......

In the blog of Friday 12 Aug. I wrote that I was concerned about Catherine. The lady who takes care of her made such a mess of her medicines and she had lost weight and looked so miserable. Today we went on that "surprise" visit.

And we met with the family under the big mango tree, next to their home. Catherine was lethargic and weak. On this picture you see us sitting, talking with the lady and the uncle and some other relatives. They saw also that it was not going well with Catherine, she has been home since 15th of July, just over a month. they struggled with her and also don't know what to do. We offered to take her back with us to Amecet. They were very happy with that. They are going to meet as a clan to take a decision about Catherine, there is really no one who can take care of her. They might want to give her up.

I am glad that we can help her, I have been really thinking so much about her and when I saw her on Friday, I was so upset. The whole situation is not good, but I know that God has a plan with Catherine. We can't let her die in the village. We believe that God will work out His plan!

Monday, August 15, 2011

3 new children in Amecet....

It is quite busy in Amecet. We have three new children, it started yesterday, on Sunday. We are not open then for people to come for milk money and porridge flour etc. but of course we work. At around 2 pm two ladies and a little child came at our door. We talked with them, they were send by the feeding centre in the hospital. They were so full, if we could help? The child was called Lois and was 1 year and 5 months old, her weight is 5,8 kg. The mother was only 18 years old she became pregnant when she was still in primary school and had to stop going to school. The boy, the father of Lois, took off when he heard that she was pregnant. But the mother of the girl had mercy on her and helped her. The girl is now in a schooling programme from an organisation and she can finish at least her primary school. Lois is very malnourished and very weak, we checked her and she is HIV negative!!! That is a very good start. She has been sick a lot, so we are going to try to get her eating better and stronger. On this picture she is waiting for her food, she likes to eat, so I hope we will see her smiling and playing soon!!

Today someone came with Norah at our door. Norah is 13 years old and her weight is 24 kg. She is HIV+, but not yet on ARV's. The person who brought her, works with an other organisation and met her, deep in the village. He felt pity for her, she is only in P2, because of a lot of sickness. He went to her home and talked with her grandmother (both of her parents have died of AIDS). He got permission to come with her to Soroti and there he took her for CD4 test, the results were very low, so he came to us for help. We took her in and I went straight with her to or HIV Clinic in the hospital. She was seen and directly started on ARV's. She is a happy girl, and she loves the dolls we have. Her skin condition is very bad, I also saw terrible scars on her body of Herpes Zoster (shingles or in Dutch: gordelroos) she must have had awful pain while she had those infections. But she is so thankful and happy, she was enjoying the meal so much! The grandmother will be brought to us, so we can hear the full story, but Norah is already helped. While I was still in the hospital with Norah, a baby was brought to us by his father and grandmother. The little boy is called Abraham and he is already three weeks old. The baby was born with a Cesarean and after two weeks the mother developed an septic infection, she was brought back to the hospital, where she got blood transfusion, but she died 2 days later, she was only 33 years old. The father came to ask us for help, because he found it difficult to look after the little baby for now. We will take him for two months, in that time we hope the father is ready to receive him back.

So our home is getting more full again, but it was a busy day, we also had several children going for checkup for malaria, because there was some fever. Also every new child we take directly to the clinic next to us, to be checked. After a busy day what can you do better than praising the Lord? After supper we always sing together and it is so nice to see the children clapping and singing and some, who are a bit strong, dancing. The little ones are sitting on the ground, looking and clapping, even Norah was joining in! And then.........potty time, medicine time, milk and......bedtime!!!

The staff on night duty will take care of them and tomorrow, there will be another day!!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fat baby Simon goes home...

Simon came in Amecet in May, his mother was admitted in the clinic and died of a heart failure. Simon was 10 days old and his weight was 2.5 kg. (read the blog from 24/5/2011, little baby Simon) In his first 10 days with us, he was very weak and also very sick. We went almost every two days with him to the doctor. He was put on I.V. drip and we had to feed him by a NG tube, because he was too weak to drink from the bottle. Today he went home!!!! As you can see on the second picture, he is not the little baby Simon anymore, but the fat baby Simon! He is such a cute little man and we are so happy about him. His grandmother is very thankful and also excited about Simon. She said, his m,other died, I thought that he would also die, but now he lives and he is healthy!

They joined directly the "Come back day" class, we hold every 6 weeks for the baby's who went home. We invite the care takers to come and Esther and Rose, two of our Ugandan staff, have a small health teaching, a small Spiritual teaching, they talk with them about certain problems they encounter, they weigh the children and then they have lunch together. We give them a small food supplement home and today we were able to give them all some clothes, which we got from a Canadian team (not the one I wrote about yesterday) who is with us for two weeks. Here you see the group in full swing! All the ladies are mostly grandmothers and a few aunts. There were also two fathers present! The lunch is already waiting (mid front) Posho with brown beans (in the pink container). Behind you see the diapers to dry on the grass. Today, all the children had gained and they were glad with the clothes we gave! They were a happy group , going home at the end, we'll see them again in 6 weeks!
Catherine, a little girl of one year old, who went home in July, came at the end of the class. The caretaker had not done a very good job, she had lost weight and the ARVs were not given right. I am very concerned about her. Simon and I spoke with the lady and we decided not to take action yet. We gave her medicines again (counted!) and we will go next week on a surprise visit in their home.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sick and Desparate...

It is raining today, normally it rains at night, but today it is still raining and it is a cold, grey day. We are complaining, because it is cold and we can't hang the laundry outside to dry and we try to hang them inside. But then, I drove past the hospital and I saw all those people standing in line, outside in the rain and I felt ashamed about my complains...

This week, there is a Canadian group in Soroti, who gives free consultation and free treatment from Monday till Friday. And the people come, from far and from nearby. Standing in line, for hours, even days, in the hope to be seen and to be given some treatment and medicines.

I stopped at the hospital, and Miranda and I walked around and we talked with some people who were standing in line. Some people came from very far and at night they sleep in the tent where they register from. They have no food, except they can buy some mais and they drink water. I spoke with some people who were there since Monday and they were still not seen by the doctors.
This is the tent, where they register the people, then they get a paper and they are send to the different doctors, like dental, eyes etc. They see more than 1000 people per day.

This line of people are not even registered, and I am wondering if they get seen today. They will be there again tomorrow, but that is the last day of the action. I am sure people will go home without getting the help they came for.

It makes me sad, how desperate can you be, to be standing in line, many with baby's or little children, for days!!!! I had to think about the healthcare in my own country, how privilaged we are!!!! And how wrong the world is operating, why do the people here have to suffer so much, and why are we grumbling so often about minor things. The lines of people this morning made me humble and thankful for what I have. It also made me feel so powerless and helpless, you want to do something for them, but the need is so big.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Peter smiled today!!!!!

Today Peter smiled for the first time!!!!

(read our last Blog of Friday 5th of Aug.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Peter was not welcome....

When we were in Kampala, they came for the first time, but the staff who was working that time was not sure about them, so they asked them to come back today.
On this picture you see little Peter and his two sisters. It took Simon (mostly) and me two hours to get the true story. They lied so much. It was so sad and also frustrating to see them just trying to get the boy in our home, because they didn't want to care for him. The oldest sister is married and the other sister is only 13 years old and she wants to go back to school. Their parents died both of AIDS. Peter is 2 years old, he has AIDS and is very malnourished. His mother died in March 2011. The oldest sister took him in her home, but is now tired of him. In our talk with them we found out that Peter has a different father than his sisters, and this father is alive, but doesn't mind Peter. At the end of two hours talking, asking questions we also got a telephone number of one of their uncle's. Simon talked with the uncle on the phone and this uncle is willing to stand for Peter. Peter can't walk, he doesn't talk and he is a very sad little boy. He has a special type of malnutrition: kwasiorkor, that means that he has a lot of oedema. His feet are very swollen (see picture). We took him to the doctor and he also has malaria, an urinetract infection and a lung infection. He has started the treatment for all of those. We pray that the lungs will respond to the antibiotica, that he will not have TB.

The good thing is, that he loves to eat and he likes milk, so that will help to treat the malnutrition. Tonight he was sleeping so peacefully in his bed. We prayed this evening for him, asking God to heal him, his body and his emotions from all the rejection he got. We prayed for the joy of the Lord in his life. And that he will get to know that he does has a Father Who loves him!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kampala trip...

On Tuesday we left for Kampala. Simon was driving, Ton (from Amun home) came along, Sarah and Helen and me. We had a busy programme. First we had to go to the Dutch Embassy for the visa for Sarah and Helen. We are planning to go for 3 weeks to Holland at the end of August. My nephew is going to get married and Sarah and Helen will be Flower girls!! We had also several shoppings to do in Kampala, things you can't get in Soroti. At around 9 pm we arrived at the guesthouse were we staying for the night. The next morning we had an early breakfast and we left for the hospital. Sarah's checkup was due at the Heart Institute. Simon and Ton brought us to the hospital and they went to do shopping for the computer etc. Sarah and me went to see the doctor. The last time we were there, the doctor had told us, to start planning to give Sarah a defribillator. We went to the hospital in Holland where they did many tests and there the doctor said that it was too early for that. I had the report of the hospital in Holland with me. So the doctor read the report and I think he is not 100% agree with the doctor in Holland. But he said that it was ok, as long Sarah feels ok. When she starts to have heart rhythm problems or faints, we have to come back directly. he agreed with the increase of medication and we got 6 months of medicins and we were finished. I felt a bit uneasy after this visit, but I still feel good with waiting with this operation, it is not something you just do, it is a big and costly decision. We called Simon and they picked us from the gate of the hospital. It is at least 8 hours drive to Soroti, so we left directly. We wanted to try to get back in Soroti before dark. The last part of the road is full of holes and it is not good to drive there in the dark. That is why we ate our lunch in the car; Chicken on the stick!! Sarah and Helen love it, (as you can see on the pictures!)and the rest of us as well. At 8 pm we were back home (it was already dark). Good to see everybody again and to sleep in our own bed, every Kampala trip is always stressed and so busy.

We have a new member in the family! A little cat, we have not yet agreed on his name, so for now he is still pussycat! He has a job to do... he has to catch the mice which (un-invited) also crept in our Amecet family! I hope he will do a good job, but for now he loves to be hold and he is very good with the children!