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!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Visiting Brenda.

Monday 17th of December we went to the HIV clinic in Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. All the four girls were checked  and Sarah was also seen by the pediatric cardiologist. Everything was good, so we were all relieved and happy that this part was over!!! The doctor asked the girls if there were any questions they would like to ask. And Mary said that she would like to meet Brenda.
Who is Brenda? She is a girl who came with her mother from Africa, 16 years ago, her mother died and Brenda was HIV+ and was taken into a Dutch family. The mother wrote a little book about Brenda and compared the HIV virus with a little dragon that lived in her blood. Brenda has to take medicines to keep the dragon asleep, when she would stop to take the medicines, the dragon would wake up and make her sick. We use this book to explain the children their HIV+ status and it works very good.  Last year I got a poster with Brenda's picture and the children were very impressed with her, with the openness of Brenda about her HIV+ status. especially Mary wanted to meet her.
 The nurse in the hospital brought her into contact with Brenda and her family and today we went to see them. On this picture you see Sarah (left) Brenda with Catherine and Mary at the right. Helen was also around, but she was playing with another little girl. It was very special, Mary and Brenda are almost the same age, they both became 18 in November. there are so many similarities, only one lives in Holland and the other one lives in Africa.
Brenda with Catherine
 They were all drawing and painting together in the kitchen, while they were talking and laughing. It was a very good day and we all enjoyed it. Email and Facebook addresses were exchanged, so there will be more contacts in the future.

The news I get from Amecet is good, there are no very sick children and also no new children came in. so I believe that our prayers for a good and peaceful Christmas were answered!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Goes/Soroti update..

This blog is written in Holland, I am on a vacation, together with my four girls, Mary, Sarah, Helen and Catherine. We enjoy the rest, and I specially enjoy not having so many responsibilities. The weather is not very good, it is cold and rainy. Helen is still praying for snow....
Helen and Catherine are doing the dishes... The girls make their own schedule!!

We have a big place, Catherine can even ride the little bicycle in the living room!
 Today there was a Father Christmas run in the town of Goes. A good excuse to go out and .watch it. We were lucky that it was not raining.

So Helen and Catherine enjoyed a ride in a little train
I have some contacts with Soroti. Everything is going well, there are no sick children. So that is good news. One of the two nurses went home, because her brother had died. She planns to come back this week. Petra is still there. I heard that the mother of one of our baby´s came in the middle of the night and wanted to climb our gate. The security guard had to scare her away. The baby is resettled in the village with the family , the mother has a mental problem and not able to look after her child. It is sad, but to protect the child was this neccesary. Then I heard that they  found a boy of 6 years old, under the bus which had come from Moroto, (some hours North of Soroti), he wanted to go to Kampala, to live on the streets. He is now in Amecet and the probation office will resttle him back in Moroto. I pray they will have a quiet and peaceful Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Greetings from the Netherlands..

This blog is written from Holland! I have not written in a week, because I was busy getting ready for our family trip to the Netherlands. I had the opportunity because of Petra, the Dutch nurse, to take this time and go with my 4 girls for a Christmas holiday in the Netherlands. After the Amun week I have been busy to get everything organised for Petra. In between the packing and also organising my house.  Helen, my daughter of 7, wanted to pack every day and what she packed than, were T-shirts and cotton dresses!! She is also praying for snow, which was there the previous week, but there is no snow now. It is cold, at the airport, they brought us jackets and coats, so here we are!!!
 At the back Sarah (left) and Mary and at the front Helen (left) and Catherine.
And this is this morning, walking to church, we have to take at least 10 extra minutes to dress, the girls complain about all the clothes they have to put on before going outside!!!

Everything in Amecet is going well, Four children went home this week, back to their relatives, they are all stable and well. We were pretty full, so there is space again. At the other side, we have not so much personnel, half of the team is free with Christmas and the other half of the team is free with New Year. I pray there will not be any very sick child during those days. So the next blogs will be written from Holland, but we have contacts with Amecet.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bye, bye!!

This morning all the children came with their bags to Amecet where a Christmas gift was prepared for them, to take home to their families. They were excited and with their bags they climbed in the the school truck!  Simon and Elias were going to bring them in the Truck to town, where they put them on different taxi's (matatu's) going back to their villages. For the younger ones we had called their relatives to pick them at a certain point. The older children got money for a boda boda (fiets taxi) to get them to their homes.
It was a happy group departing, I believe God touched them and they went home different than how they arrived a week ago! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

The last day...

We ended this morning our 5 points in prayer by seeing that God wants a relationship with us,  
that He adopted us. We can share our heart with Him ask His help for our own life. The rest of the morning they evaluated the group discussions from yesterday about relation ships. And we had as staff, one on one talks with several children. I went together with Petra, with one boy to the eye doctor in the hospital and they removed a piece of thorn out of his eye! Another boy needed to go for new ARVs, so we did that as well
In the evening we had a meeting together and we had the opportunity to bring our fears, struggles and mistakes to the cross. We wrote them on a pieces of paper and later we burned them together. It was a very meaningful time together and I know that some of the children really did a big step in faith. 

After this we had communion together. Tomorrow morning they all go home, back to their lives, I believe they are changed, I pray they can handle the situation better at home. I am amazed about the openness of the children, they really wanted to share and we could give advice and encouragement. But they have to do it themselves. We will evaluate this week together as staff and we want to learn from it. But this will be part of our yearly activities.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Handing over of the HIV clinic to Soroti Hospital.

 We started the day with the fourth meditation about prayer, today it was intercession. We put it into practise by going into groups of three and intercede for our families. We asked the older ones to take the younger children along and it was just beautiful to see all those small groups spread over the compound, praying for their relatives.
The rest of the morning was filled with one on one talks with the children and the last part of the morning we went into different age groups and they talked in the groups about relationships, the subject of tomorrow. We had to change the programme, because the Probation officer who was suppose to be there, didn't come.
In the afternoon we had the big moment: the handing over of the pediatric HIV clinic we have build for Soroti Hospital. We build the first floor in 2009, but the second floor was needed and the hospital was not able to do it. We got all the finances via the Dutch Foundation de Figurant, they are all donations from individuals and churches and schools. It is amazing that we were able to put up such a nice building, which will be a blessing to the community and in particular the HIV+ children and their families.On the picture above you see all the children sitting, waiting patiently. We were the first to arrive, we all came in the school truck. Most of the children are also patients in this clinic.
I had to say something, explaining how we came to the idea of building the clinic. Behind the table are some doctors sitting and in the middle the guest of Honor, the Mayor of Soroti. Also the nurses and some more doctors and other personnel of the hospital were present. 
 The children sang a song, together with David (YWAM Soroti staff)
Some more speeches and then the Mayor had to speak, but it started to rain, so everybody jumped up and ran into the clinic, through the back door. I thought it was quite funny. was the clinic now opened or not yet?
 This is the front of the clinic, with  the ribbon, which had to be cut by the Mayor, but everybody was already in!
 They decided that the ribbon should still be cut and the Mayor did that, together with Helen and Joseph, two of our children. Then all the chairs were carried up and we had the end of the meeting (with soda and snack) in the big room upstairs.
And here is Simon, he did so much towards the building of the clinic, he has been running around, moving up and down. He did a great job, all the doctors and hospital officials are talking highly about him.
 Eyalama noi Simon, Yoga swam!
We also want to say a big Thank you, to the foundation The Figurant and all the people who have donated towards this beautiful building. Without their help, we could never have done it. All the people who were present this afternoon asked us to thank the people who made this possible, so:
EYALAMA NOI NOI  (thank you very, very much)
Everybody enjoyed the day and tomorrow will be the last day of our week. Saturday morning all the children will be going back home.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Repentance, jiggers and boarding life.....

The third day started with looking into repentance and forgiveness and after that we got a message on Career advice. The main issue what was brought in was: take the opportunity of getting educated and don't give up. We had a senior student journalism teaching us and he could give his personal story how he struggled for school fees and refused to give up. It was a good teaching, which the children need to hear, because nothing comes easy for them too!
Then Simon took over with a lesson on personal Hygiene. How important this is, also for their health. It resulted later into a session removing jiggers from the feet of some children!
A painful operation!

Elias spoke on the challenges of life in a boarding school, which is also very relevant to several of the older children.
This are the children among the group who are in senior school and in boarding. They have a lot of challenges, boarding life is not easy. But they all have dreams and they were so encouraged to pursue them!
In the afternoon Isaiah (YWAM Soroti staff) spoke about adolescence and the difficulties it brings sometimes. After that we gave the children free time to talk, listen to music, play football and hang around.
 Tea break among friends.....
 or just alone or talking things over with one.
And there are the dishes to be done.......

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Family life can cause a lot of pain..

 Every morning we start with singing and a meditation, we are looking at the five ways of praying, yesterday we did Praise and Worship and today we looked at Thanks giving. Emmanuel and Helen started the meeting, Emmanuel spoke in Ateso and Helen was translating him. They did so well!!
The subject today was family life. Also a difficult subject, because most of them have no parents and live at the mercy of relatives. Simon shared from some experiences of his own life and asked if they recognised this, and many of them did, they just talked in the group, in front of everyone, very brave. Many stories came out, so very sad. many of them are not treated very well by their relatives, and it was really heartbreaking. Many of them got to hear regular that they are bastards or that it would have been better that they were not born, that they will not have a future. I cried when I heard their stories and I was not the only one of the staff! It touched me very much, this is what we want to show them: they do have a future, God has big plans for them. It was quite emotional.
After the tea break Madam Adongo arrived. She is the senior police officer from the Family affair office. We work very often with her. She was also going to talk about family life, she talked a lot about the girl child, defilement and that the family has the duty to care for them. The children were encouraged to ask questions and many did. All kind of questions, some were crying while they were talking, a lot of pain is there. It was a good session, all the children were very attentive, Madam Adongo is also a good speaker to listen to, she is very bold and say the things how they are.
After lunch Jane was going to share, also about family life. Jane is a YWAMmer and she looked at it again from a different angle. She put the emphasis on serving and humbling down, we need to serve our family for the good of the family. God wants us to obey our parents ( for them their uncle, grandmother etc.) Try to be a blessing to them and forgive them, because they are probably also grown up the way they treat you. Let them talk, know that you do the right thing.
Of course we sang! David and Julius lead us with the singing and we have a lot of fun!!! It was a very good day, I am so amazed about the openness of the children. We gave some advice what to do and how to react, but it is still a very vulnerable subject. They played games and after dinner they closed the day with Dominique and went to bed!
To be continued.....

Monday, December 3, 2012

Acceptance and openess.

Today was the first day with the teachings. It was good that the children slept a bit longer, until 6 am, which was nice for the staff who lives in Amun. It was a tough day, today, because the teaching was all about HIV/AIDS and some children don't like to hear those words. I did the first session, about the virus, what does it do and how does it harms our body. I had several pictures and animations to show them how it works. We had a beamer and we projected it on a white cloth. As you can see on the first picture, they were very attentive. I also spoke about ARV's and what they do and why they need to take them every day. I believe that when they understand, they will see what they can do themselves.
In the next session Margaret and Isaiah (both YWAM Soroti staff) spoke about acceptance. This has also to do with the fears you have, which hinders you to accept your positive HIV status..
Here is Margaret speaking, she also knows the children, and she has been working with a project of YWAM Soroti, reaching out to HIV+ people in the villages.
In the afternoon we went into groups. The older teenagers went together in a group and the rest was divided into ages. The teenagers were really talking and sharing together about deep things, deep fears and also thinking together what they can do about those fears. It was so encouraging, they were so open and felt safe in their group.
This is the report of another group, most of them were 9-12 years, if you read what they wrote down than you really feel it. A child that is talking about the fear of death, I had to swallow several times!! All the groups felt that sharing the HIV+ status was important, but you have to be wise with who you share it. And also our theme of the week: "plans for Hope and a Future" came back, God will help us to get that future, but we also have our own responsibility. We did not play the games, we had planned. The children were just talking and kicking a ball, using our swings and just hanging around. The day has not been an easy one, but I think a very important one!!
Will be continued....

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A church with an open roof.

 The day began early in Amun, at 4 am many children were already busy with bathing, doing their laundry and talking and laughing!! The breakfast delayed a bit, but at 10 am our service started! We did the service in Amecet under the trees. It was so great, it almost felt that God heard us better this way. David and Julius (from the YWAM base) led the praise and worship and Steven (YWAM Soroti leader) spoke.
 He spoke about our theme, Jer. 29: 11, "He has plans to give you Hope and a future". He encouraged us to have Hope in the future. On a certain moment he asked us to make little groups and share about our plans for the future. He went around to ask people and the children spoke, they all have plans for the future, they want to be doctors and nurses, some want to be lawyers some teachers, also some shopkeepers. I think it is important to speak it out and let others hear. We prayed for them, for their plans and for their future, that God will bring it to pass, The whole group is complete, the last two came today. It is so good to see how the older ones are helping the young children and take the lead. I am really proud and blessed when I see them. We have gone with some of them already for malaria test, but only one was real malaria, some wound care is done by our nurses, but overall their health is  good. In the morning and the evening there is a mass medicines taking, almost all the children are on ARVs. It is really so special! 
 We also eat, that is a lot of work, but the staff from Amecet is really doing well, they work and help to make everything go well. Here they serve the children, and there was enough, even for seconds!!!
Simon had a meeting with them in the afternoon in the tent at Amun. Even the younger children were listening good. Among themselves they appointed a boy and a girl leader who will help us to get everything go smooth.
After that meeting we did games, as you see on the picture, they enjoyed it and they all participated. There were maybe three children who were too weak to ran, they sat at the the side and enjoyed the the scene. It is a real blessing to be part of this, to see the children growing up and changing in responsible people. Dominique ended the day with a short closure about thankfulness and now they are all asleep (I hope). To be continued......

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Our Amun / Hope week has started..

 We had asked the children to come before 3 pm, the first one arrived at 8 am. And they came in all in the morning. It was so good to see them all again, they look good and are very excited to be back. It was also so nice to see them greeting each other, when a new child arrived they all went greeting and hugging each other. We were not ready for them yet, so for us the day was very busy and chaotic. The tent is set up in Amun garden and there we will have our meetings. All the children came, except two, maybe they will join us tomorrow.
Here we have lunch with the children who are already there. the next days we will have lunch in Amun. Elias had an orientation with them, explaining things and then we had our World Aids meeting together in Amun.

We remembered the children we lost this last year, we then thanked God for our lives, and we sang and at the end....of course... a soda! Now everybody is in bed, I hope they sleep, tomorrow a new day again!

This are the eight children we remembered this evening, we miss them, but we know that they are with Jesus (playing with the ball, according the children). That is a big comfort!!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

We all passed............

Today we went for the rapports and we all got good news, all promoted to the next class. On this picture you see from left to right: Sylivia to P4, Mary to S1, Sarah to P7 ,Catherine just coming along, Helen to P2, Fiona to P5 and Susan to P3. Sarah was very happy, she has missed 7 weeks because of sickness, but she made it with even better marks than her last rapport. She is now going to P7, a very important class, the last one from the Primary school, after that the secondary school.
We made a extra toast on Fiona and Susan, they have not been able to go to school for almost the whole school year  They asked if they could do the exams and the headmaster of harmony school allowed them.
Fiona has been very sick, not much response on the change of ARVs yet, she is lying down most of the days, she was very happy that she passed to P5, we hope she can join the school in February when the new school year starts. And Susan got a baby and she is living with her baby with us in Amecet. We would love to see her go to school in February and be a little bit child again. We don't know yet how to do this all, Susan is a wonderful mother, but she also should go back to P3.
The rest of the day we have been running around, because tomorrow we start our Amun/Hope week and we are expecting 46 children to come and live with us for a week! I'll keep you up to date about this important week!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pre- school Graduation.

Today was it the graduation of Top class from our YWAM Harmony Pre-school. This year there was a very big group, 35 children finished the preschool and are now ready for the Primary school, which starts in February. It is always a big event, the children are in gowns and caps. They sing songs and  
they had a poem. The teachers did very well, all went smoothly.  Steven (the YWAM Soroti leader) and I are the directors of the school, Steven was not in Soroti, so I was the one who had to give a small speech and help to give each child a certificate. It was fun and it is excited to see the children proud of their graduation, standing at the beginning of their further education. The long vacation has started now, the next school year starts in February. The children who are  in secondary school are already home, and the primary schools also end this week. The rapports are given out on Friday.