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!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

School adventures....

It is 8.15 on Monday morning, I just brought the children to school! 
The excitement started on Saturday, by checking all the uniforms (ok, a bit late, but at least...) We found for everybody a fitting uniform. Some were too small or too short (the girls are very particular on the lenght of their skirt!) but with exchanging among them, we had a uniform for everybody, even the new first classers! Then we gave them their notebooks, pens, pencils, rubbers and socks. They were sooo excited, it really touched me, how happy they were with their things, what a new pencil does to them! The names were written on the notebooks and it was a busy time. (as you see on the picture above)
Then today.... you see Helen sitting with the schoolbag and putting her school shoes on, it was 6.30 am!!! Through my window I saw all the lights on in Amecet, I heard later that the two boys were ready at 5.30 am, so that was even worse. All the children were so excited to go back to school, they couldn't wait!
And here they are all ready to go, we miss one, Christine 1 has malaria and is not well, she stayed home.
left to right: Mary (15), Sarah (14), Norah (13), Sylivia (12), Joshua (11), Mary (10), Christine 2 (7) and Helen (6).
YWAM has two schools in Soroti, a nursery and a primairy school, There is YWAM staff involved in both of the schools, but we hire Ugandan teachers. In total there are more than 300 children from the community going to our schools. We also sponsor 40 orphans to our schools. In 2009 we got a beautiful little bus, to pick the children from town and bring to school and back. Last year the bus was too small, there were so many children in it, so we decided that it was time for something bigger. With the help of a Dutch church in Ermelo, we were able to buy a truck, the truck is being built over in a school truck. We could sell our bus to another school in Soroti (we do miss it) and we are going to use the truck. They promise in the garage, that the truck would be ready in time.........but this morning it was not ready!! Andrew (the driver) came to use our landcruser, it had a battery problem, so we had to push it to start. Then Simon picked a group of children to school and I brought our children and I picked up some along the road. The bright uniforms helps you to see them easily. I had 20 schoolkids in our little van!!

Now my day can start!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday = Pancakeday

Saturday is my free day (if possible) and I then bake pancakes for breakfast. Sometimes I forgot to buy eggs or flour, but then we borrow from Amecet kitchen! Today Helen was helping me (under close supervison!) and we baked a pile of very delicious pancakes.

We all enjoyed them and Helen did a great job!

 Almost 6 months ago Christine 2 came in Amecet, I wrote a Blog about her at the end of July 2011. (see picture left) A very malnourished 7 years old girl, she is also HIV+ and we went with her to the hospital and she was started on ARVs. She picked up and it is so good to see her enjoying life. She went together with Helen to the Topclass from the pre-school and their graduation was in December. On Monday she will start, together with Helen, in P1! Christine has always a sparkling in her eyes, she really enjoys what she is doing and she can be very naughty too! Today she showed me that she could ride the bicycle, and indeed she could, using the break is a bit complicated, so the breaking is done with the legs on the ground! Is this not encouraging???? This is why we do what we do, bringing life back into children and let them shine again! I thank God for Christine and that weare able to minister to children like her!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bye Bye auntie Gerdi......

 Tonight we said Goodbye (en tot ziens?) to Gerdi. Gerdi has been with us as a volunteer for 10 weeks! She has shown such a heart for the children and they love her as well. We will miss her a lot! We sang our traditional Bye Riki Bye song for her, waving with the bibs of the baby's. And we prayed for her. She touched the hearts of the children, on the picture here you see her with baby Josephine and Kennedy, who are both very special for her. 
And tomorrow... I will check Gerdi's bags, because she told me that Kennedy and Josephine together are weighing less than 20 kg.......... Saying goodbye is always difficult and you never get used to it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bernard's hair starts to grow!!!!!

 Bernard's hair starts to grow!!!! That is so cute, he is now just over a week with us, and when he came he was completely bald, he just looked like those pictures from baby's inside the womb. But today I saw his hair!! Maybe you think, what is that to be so excited about, a bit of baby hair... But I am excited and I told everybody about it!!!!!  And the second thing that I am excited about is that Bernard gained again! You can see on the above picture that his weight is now 1.530 kg. He was only 1.1 kg last week, so that is exciting news!!!

The school vacation is almost finished. Two long months of holiday and all the children around the house. It went very well, the children have played so much together, and there were hardly any fights. Even the two boys Joshua and John, they have really played together with all the girls and without problems. Mary (picture right) is one of our girls, who at first lived in Amecet and later in the Amun house. She now goes to the secondary boarding school, but her holidays she spend with us. Mary is like one of our family and this time she lived with me and my girls in our little home. We had a very good time together and it was a bit sad to bring her back to boarding school, yesterday. So we bought all kind of things for her, shoes, socks, cookie's, sugar, juice, soap etc. And we brought her to school. When we came there, we heard that she was one week too early, her class starts 30th of January. So we brought her back with us and everybody had a good laugh about her. Next week we try again!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bernard has gained 300 gram!!!

In my last blog I wrote about little Bernard. A very little premature baby, we put him in the incubator and we feed him via a NG tube. And after 3 days he gained 300 gram!! That is so encouraging, we feed him every two hours 15 ml milk. But he doesn't vomit and there is no diarrhea. His temperature is constant, so he is doing well.
Little Patrick is another story, ( I wrote about him two blogs before) he is with us for one week, but yesterday we had to put him on an IV drip. He started to vomit, without a real cause. But today he looked a bit better, but we feed him also every two hours via a NG tube. We hope and pray that he will pick up.
Today a new little girl came to Amecet. Rose was brought by her father. It was again a sad story, her mother died in December of AIDS, after her death, they tested Rose, because she was also a bit sickly and malnourished. And Rose came also HIV + out of the test. her father asked for help, there were no ARV medicines yet given, and Rose is not doing well. She is 1,5 years old and her weight is only 5,5 kg.
We took her in our home, but Rose was not very happy about that. She cries a lot and she doesn't want to eat, but that is often during the first day. We will go with her to the hospital next week and try to get her on ARV's. I think that she will do much better than. I love to see her play and walk together with Catherine, my little daughter. Catherine and Rose are born in the same month, June 2010. Catherine is also HIV positive and she gets her ARV medicines every day. When I see her and Rose next to each other (like the picture below) I know that Catherine could have been like her (or worse), but I would love to see Rose the way Catherine is doing today.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One Goodbye and three Arrivals.

We start with the arrival of two very cute puppies. I am planning to start building my own house, it is a bit outside Soroti. So I asked around if anyone knew someone with big dogs, which might get puppies in the future. And there was somebody who had puppies, German Shepherd puppies!!! I could not let this chance go, so I bought them, they will be big and strong by the time our house will be finished (we haven't even started yet!) The children are very happy with them, it is still vacation, so the dogs get a lot of attention. The dogs have been named Rafiki, in honor of the old dog we had to let go and the other one is named Lassie,(we have a DVD about that dog). You can see on the second picture how dry it is in Soroti. All the grass is gone. It is very dry and hot now, we hope the rain will come in March, and when it starts raining, it is amazing how the green comes everywhere up. I love that view. It gives hope, even it all looks dead and dry, underneath there is life, we have to be patient in dry times, the rain will come!!

The puppies were introduced by the children to the big dogs. We are a bit careful, in the evening, when the big dogs come out to guard our compound, we put the little puppies in their doghouse and in the
morning we switch again. I don't think there will be a lot of problems in the future when they will be all together.

Then we had to say goodbye on Sunday to Mirjam. She had been with us for almost 5 months!! She came to do her practise for her study Music therapy. We really enjoyed having her around and we miss her! On the picture we are praying for her and if you take a good look, you see Mirjam somewhere in the middle! Don't worry, she survived our prayers!!!
This is our third arrival and he came today. His name is Bernard and he is a premature baby, weighing only 1.1 kg. he is very small and fragile. His mother passed away a week after giving birth.
He is too weak to drink from the bottle, so we gave him a NG tube, on this way we can feed him while he is resting and he can spare his energy. We put him in the incubator, which you see also on the picture. We hope and pray that Bernard will live. He was born in Kampala and had there problems with breathing in the beginning, they have given treatment to him and we pray he will pull through. We also gave a NG tube to Patrick, the baby I wrote about in my previous blog. He was struggling to drink and it cost him so much energy, his weight is double the weight of Bernard, but also 2 kg. is not that much. So we gave him also a tube and feed him easier that way. As soon as he is a bit stronger, we will remove the tube again.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ruth had a tough week......

We have been a little quiet the last couple of days, but that doesn't mean that nothing was happening. Almost my whole family had malaria, first Helen, then Catherine and myself and also Mary tested positive  for the malaria parasite in her blood. I made Sarah test as well, but she was negative (and very proud of that). I sprayed our little house, but we were already sick of malaria. After the treatment, we all were very fine and it is part of life in Uganda. I get malaria three or four times per year, sometimes it is light, sometimes I feel more sick. But on Monday I had to go to Kumi, with Ruth, for her operation on her foot. Simon drove and Marije, our new Dutch nurse, who is with us for 10 weeks came along as well. Marije was allowed  to be in the operation room during the procedure. She had to put on the green suit, but was able to take these pictures.
 The clinic where we went is a brand new hospital, specialised in Orthopaedic problems. The clinic is not even officially opened. There was a big theatre and everything was looking new and clean. 
They gave her a light anaesthesia and the doctor did the procedure.
The nurse stayed with her to see that she was coming out the anaesthesia well. But she was out very fast and  we could take her with us, back to Soroti.
They had given plaster again around her leg, but she has no pain and is smiling and  "talking " as ever. On this picture you see Marije sitting with her on her lap. Ruth had a tough week, because on the day of the operation, she got fever in the afternoon. We took her for malaria test and yes, Ruth had also malaria, so we started the treatment directly. Then on Thursday she had to go for immunization, she was very behind with her immunization, so it is important to make her up to date. But in the evening she had fever again, this time from the immunization. We have to go back after three weeks, then they will take off the plaster again and we pray that her leg will be fine then.

Today we took little Patrick in Amecet. He was born 5 days ago, his mother is mentally not well and after she gave birth in a clinic in the village, she run off. Patrick was brought by his grandparents, they asked if we could help them for a couple of months, then they will take over the care of Patrick. Patrick weighs 2 kg. and looks a bit weak, but maybe that is lack of  feeding. So we welcome Patrick in our Amecet family and hope and pray that he will be strong and healthy by the time the grandparents will come for him.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Music parade in Amecet

Two of our baby's went home today! Kenneth and Elisabeth, and Elisabeth is the little baby, weighing only 1100 grams when she came in. Now she is a healthy, even fat looking baby! It is a joy to give them back to the relatives. We invited them both on our Come back  days, we have every 6 weeks, so we keep track of them and we can help still a little bit. My last blog was about Ruth. Yesterday we went with her to Kumi, to check again for her foot. The doctor agreed with us that the splint didn't do much and he decided that he should operate her. So coming Monday we have to be there at 8 am and he will do the procedure. We can take her home after some hours. It is good that she is still with us, we will decide after Monday if she can go home to her mother on Friday or that we postponed that a little.
Than we had a music parade in the garden today. Ella, one of our short term volunteers had a music time with the children in the garden. They all had music instruments and they had a great time! They were singing and making music and they did all kind of rhythms together.
 Then they decide they would march through the garden and the house, making music. They felt all like the brass band of Soroti! It was so beautiful to see! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Back to normal again??!

Yes!!!! Everybody is back today and  "normal" days are back again...... but what is  "normal"? Today around 11 am a lady came through our gate, she was as bit insecure, but she came to the veranda and looked to all the baby's. Suddenly she said:"that is my baby!"pointing to Apio Ruth, who laying in a maxi cozy.
Ruth came to Amecet on 3/10/2011 (read the blog: Why have those innocent children have to suffer so much) and I also wrote about her in the Blogs of 2/11/2011 and 16/11/2011. The lady was so happy to see her baby, she cried!
Simon and I took her inside, to talk and to see if she was really the mother who disappeared that time in October.The story we got was such a sad one, it brought tears to my eyes. I can't write the whole story here  in the Blog, that would not be good for the case of the mother, who is called Mary. There were all kind of circumstances why she couldn't find her baby. The mother is HIV+ and started, together with the older brother of Ruth, ARV medicines only two weeks ago. Her husband was killed by a mob for stealing some goats, just before she gave birth to Ruth and her twin brother, the end of February 2011. The twin brother died in March, she had no breast feeding. It is a miracle that Ruth survived. The mother liked the name Ruth, she had not given her a Christian name, because she didn't have the money for the baptism, that is when they give the baby the Christian name. She said she would like to keep the name Ruth. Mary now lives together with her children with her two brothers and their families. They build a house for her. But when she came back (after some time) in the village, they wanted to know where her baby was, she didn't know and they beat her. They couldn't believe that she  "lost" her baby. Via the radio they heard about a baby Apio in Amecet home. So she came, partly walking and riding with a truck, to Soroti, asking for this Home Amecet. The boda-boda men (bicycle taxis) knew where that home was and they brought her to our gate. Simon and I asked many questions, we saw that she really loved her baby, but we can't just give her back. So Simon picked the Probation officer (child protection officer) And we had again a talk with her. We have to go back to the doctor for her legs in Kumi and we also have to go back for the HIV test results. But Mary didn't dare to go back home without her baby. So we decided that Simon and the Probation officer would go to her village with Mary, to talk with the brothers and to check if everything was the way she had told us. We made a picture form Mary together with Ruth and we printed it out, to take along with them for the brothers to see. If everything goes well, they could come in two weeks for Ruth. So they left for the 2 hour drive to her village! We did have some other plans for today, but you have to be flexible, tomorrow there will be another (normal?) day!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dutch "Oliebollen" in Uganda.....

 Saterday we have been busy with preparations. We baked Dutch Oliebollen! We had visitors, who did most of the backing. And they did a great job, we also backed them with, Apple, Pineaple and Bananas.
 At 10.30 pm we woke the bigger children and we had together  a time of reading the Bible and praying, thanking God for all He had done for us during 2011. And after that we had snacks and soda's, And the children loved the Oliebollen and the little meat balls. It was a cozy time, waiting together till it was 12! 
 After we wished each other a happy new year, we ran around with sparkles and we watched the firework, which was lightened on top of the Soroti rock. The children thought it was very beautiful.
 Today, my shift started at 7 am. we had to do the laundry, cook and feed 11 baby's on their times, keep an eye on the toddlers and we were only with 4 staff. It was very busy. But the staff who was suppose to work in the afternoon, came to help with the cooking. We had a great meal, outside in the garden, nice food and nice company and ofcourse a soda!!
The children enjoyed the meal as well and after a bit of playing, we saw a movie together and early to bed!
We had nice days together, but I am happy that the 'normal' days are coming again. Tuesday the whole staff is present again and I am looking forward to it! I thank God we did not have serious sickness, only some malaria. But I am very tired and I am also going to bed early!!
O, before I forget, I wish everybody a blessed and fruitfull 2012, thank you for taking your time to read our blog and on this way, be part of our life! May God bless you!