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, June 29, 2012

Three abandoned children on our doorstep..

 I got a phone call from the police, please help us, we have three children who are left behind in the bus park and they are in a bad condition. I went directly to the police station and I found three small children sitting on the floor. They were very dirty, two of them had vomited all over their clothes and their feet and hands were full of jiggers. (small larva which lays their eggs under the skin). They looked scarred and desperate, two boys and one girl, they were maybe between 3 and 6 years old. We got a letter from the police and the promise that they were going to trace the parents and we took the children to Amecet.

We showered them outside and then Simon and Esther attacked the jiggers, those children must have suffered! They were limping from the pain in their feet. Simon and Esther cleaned hem first and then put special stuff on them, which suppose to kill the jiggers. painful, but the children  trusted them and they hardly cried.  In the meantime we asked them questions about their names, their parents etc. With needles the blisters were opened so the eggs and the jiggers came out. I have never seen so many wounds from jiggers and I can only imagine the pain these children had.
Then we showered them again, to wash the poison out of the wounds, and took them inside to dry and give them clothes. While they were sitting there together on the bed in their towels, some smiles came and when they saw the clothes they were even more happy. 
We sat them around a bowl with water with iodine to soak and they were pretty relaxed.
After supper, they joined the other children in front of the TV and they enjoyed themselves, they went to the bible time with the others and now they are in bed. As I am writing this, I can hear them talk, they are relaxed and happy. It is also so touching to see how the other children accept them directly and try to help them with everything. One of the boys had to go to the toilet and John came with him to show and help him. They all felt for the children.
As you can see, we have a full house with 28 children. We pray we find their parents and see how we can help them. The premature baby's are still much the same, the good news is that there is hardly any blood in the stools, so that is encouraging.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The little girls are real fighters...

We are back in Soroti! After all the traffic jams in Kampala it is always so nice to come back to Soroti. It is quiet and friendly and it was so good to see the children again. The two premature girls are real fighters, they are hanging in there. We can't say there is a break through yet, but they are still with us. Every little progress we count! Eunice is still a bit deheydrated, but they can't find a vein to put the canulla in, so we feed her every hour and she is tolerating it, she is not getting worse. And Evelyn has also little problems, still feeding by NG tube, her diarrhea stopped, but yesterday she had some blood in her stools, so we have to keep a close eye on that, also check her HB for aenemia. A new little boy was brought by the police, left behind in the hospital. He might be 8 months or so. he looks like to have a braindamage. He cries a lot!!!!!
This is Steven getting the hearing test. Being held by Rachelle. He does hear some sounds, but they need to do more investigation, probably a small operation to see if there is a blockage or a bigger problem in the inner ear.
After the ear test we went to Mengo Hospital in Kampala for the eye test. They concluded there, that he react a little on light, but that he doesn't follow. They have to do more tests under anaestatics, to see inside the eye throug the pupil. we had to come back for that, we asked if we could do that in Tororro Eye hospital, it is so costly to go to Kampala every time, the fuel and than accomodation. That was fine, the doctor wrote a letter and we have to go to Tororro. I felt a bit disappointed, I knew he had mayor problems, but I thought that his eye sight was better than what they said.
We drove back to Soroti again via Lira, saw a lot of monkeys and arrived at around 8 pm in Amecet. We have to do the follow up, but it is no emergency, we know now hat we thought, but hoped was not true. Please pray for Steven and also keep on praying for the little girls, we need a break trough!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bloodtransfusion and Kampala stories..

Sunday I was able to contact Dr. Florence, the senior Paediatrician in Soroti Hospital. She came over to Amecet to check on our two premature girls. It was a confirmation that we are on the right track, but she suggested that we would do a blood check on Eunice to see if she needed blood transfusion. And she needed it, so I went to Soroti hospital with Becca and  Esther to get blood. We were praying that there would be blood, it is not uncommon that there is no blood and you have to drive two hours to the next town. But there was blood and we got her hooked up. Unfortunately not the whole amount (40 ml') she was given, went in. But she got a fair amount. The canula was still in, but we didn't know for how long it would last. She is still in need of IV fluids, since her stomach doesn't tolerate the milk. Evalyn, the other pre mature  is fair, still some diarhoea, is still on IV fluids, but is stronger then Eunice, but we are still concerned about them.
Before this all happened, we had the plan to go to Kampala. Sarah needed to go for her 6 months review in the Heart Institute in Kampala en we had appointments for Baby Steven, to check out if he is really blind and deaf. Together with Meri, we agreed that we would still go.After Dr. Florence had been in Amecet we felt more secure in what we are doing. So we left, Simon was driving, Sarah, Helen and Caherine, then Rachelle went with us as the caretaker of Steven, and me. we decide to go via Lira, this time. It is longer, but the road is good and at the end it took us the same time as via Mbale. It was a beautiful trip, you see the picture, I took from the waterfalls in the river Nile, which we crossed.
We had a good time together. on this picture, you see left, Rachelle, then Sarah, carrying baby Steven, Helen sits at the right and you can just see the legs of Catherine, who sat in the chair opposite of them.
Today we went to Mulago hospital for Sarah´s check up. Simon went with the van for some repairs in the time we were at the hospital: We were seen by another doctor, ans she also got an ECG and an ultra sound. There was not much news, her condition is not good, but stable at the moment. We have to be alert when she gets sick and she can´t do much physical exercise.
Tomorrow morning we are going to two different hospitals, first to an eye specialist and then to an ear specialist. This is organised by an organisation which works with children who are deaf and blind. Rachelle found this organisation via Internet, via Groningen (Holland). Tommorrow we will meet two Dutch ladies who are working with this organisation. i hope we will get good news+
I have been in close contact with Amecet, while staying in Kampala. The last news about the two pre mature baby´s are not so good, the canula from Eunice was not working anymore. And they were not able to get a new one in. She is really in need of IV fluids. They feed her via the NG tube, but it is not enough. Also the canula from Evealyn was blocked, she is also being fed via a NG tube, but it would have been better if she also got some extra fluid via IV. Please keep praying for those two little girls and also for wisdom and strenght for the staff, esspecially for Meri. I ´ll keep you informed!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Baby Jesse has left us..

That is how I feel it, he has just left us, without warning, he just left... let me tell you how it happened... We were quite concerned about Eunice, the second of our three premature baby's. last night several of us were busy with her for some hours. This morning I tried to contact our senior paediatrician doctor, I couldn't reach her, so I just drove to the hospital, to the HIV clinic and asked one of the two doctors if she please could come with me to see our premature baby's. She did and also her colleague came. We explained our worries and they took a lot of time and consulting to give us advice how to handle Eunice.Then I asked them if they also could asses Jesse, because he also started to have problems with his abdomen and his breathing had changed a bit. I picked Jesse out of his little tent and discovered I had a dead baby in my hands!!! He just left us while we had been talking. We had heard no sound, no struggle, nothing...
We were so shocked, we could not believe it, we did not expect this, we worried about Eunice and of course we knew that also Jesse and Evalyn were still very vulnerable, but to die, no that was too much. I brought the two doctors back to Soroti hospital and came back to Amecet. Tears were flowing, we had invested so much already in this little boy, he had gained so much... he came in as a 780 gram little baby and now he died as a 1170 gram cute little boy. We didn't understand, what had happened? We felt so sad, we had so much hope for this little fellow, we had been so happy when he reached the 1 kg weight. Suddenly everything had changed.
We had tell the other children, they wanted to come in and see Jesse and say goodbye to him. And here you see some of them sitting with the little Jesse, he was laying on the little table and they just touch him and talk to him. Helen told me that Jesse is now with Jesus and that it was only his body that was there, he was now okay and he had no more pain. And that it just how it is!!!! I learn from the simplicity of the children, it comforts me and helps me to see it like they do. 
The mother came and she wanted to take the body of Jesse to her family in the village. We talked with her and prayed with her. She left, together with a friend who was going to drive her home.
And we?? We were busy with Eunice, as you can see on the picture above, she has still a long way to go and she still needs many prayers. Please pray for her, that she will live, please pray also for us, the staff, it was a emotional day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Trip to Serere;

In the blog of June 15 I write  about a little boy that was found on the road and we gave him the name Levi. I did some follow up and I heard that the mother was found but, the police lady said over the phone, she is a bit mentally disturbed. We were planning to go to Serere with Amos (read the blog of May 29). So we wanted to combine it, our house is so full and this baby belongs to his mother! So we went and we had arrange to meet the mother at the police post. When we met the lady I understood what the police lady had said. The mother had no interest in her child. We tried to involve her, but no interest had all. We were even scared she would drop the baby. So that would not work at all. In agreement with the police we decided to take Levi back to Amecet. We have to find a family for him.
 So we went on with our trip. we were going to find the family of Amos (read the blog of May 39) We didn't know how or where, we only had some names. At the police station, someone knew the family, so he came along with us, we had also the police officer for gender and family issues from Soroti with us, when we came closer to the home, we stopped again to ask and we picked the Local counsellor from the area. the car became full! 
 Amos was looking and looking and suddenly he started to smile, he recognised the road (path).

This was the road (path) we had to close our car windows, otherwise we would have been beaten by the branches. Then it started to rain... it was more a down pour.Simon is a very good driver, but you could feel the car slipping.

But we found the home!!!!
It was a very confused story, the police lady wanted to know why Amos already a month in Amecet was and nobody showed up to report a missing boy.  The mother told us that she had brought Amos to Soroti, to his father (her first husband) and she came back to the village. She didn't know that Amos was missing. she never listened to the radio (the police had made radio announcements). They got a good talk and we left Amos reunited with his family. He was very happy, as you can see on this picture!

We went back to Amecet, with Levi.

Our three premature baby's are doing fair. Evalyn the first baby we got, is doing very well. Eunice, the second baby, has trouble with her digestion, she had diarrhea and some vomiting, we feed her now every hour and yesterday she also was on IV drip. The little 780 Gram baby Jesse is now over the 1150 gram, he is doing well, but has trouble with his body temperature, he is very unstable. It asks a lot of work and commitment. Meri is training several of our Ugandan staff in the care of those very vulnerable children.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Balloons for Jesse!!!!!!

Jesse was weighing this morning 1.010 kgs. Is this not awesome???He gained 230 grams in just 3 days! that is almost 30% of the weight he came with! On the picture is at the right Meri, our Canadian nurse, who is working so hard for those three premature baby's . At the left is Esther, a Dutch volunteer. Thumbs up!!

Also the other two baby's are doing well, gaining slowly. We tube feed all three of them and it is a lot of work. We have almost one person all day and also all night present in our night duty room where the three little one's are sleeping.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Jesse gained 170 gram!!!!

The little Jesse, who was brought in Amecet yesterday gained 170 gram!!! He is doing fair, takes the milk we give him well, we stepped up from 5 ml every two hours to 10 ml every 2 hours. We are happy the way he is doing up till now. We do have some problems with Eunice, the other premature baby who came on Monday and lost her mother on Tuesday. The mother was HIV+, so we give ARV's to the baby, hopeful she is HIV-, but we have to wait till she is 6 weeks old for a DNA test. But Eunice has problems with her intestines, after feeding, her belly gets swollen and hard. We have to massage her tummy to help the feces come out. 
This little boy was brought by the police of Serere, a district next to Soroti district. He was found this morning near the road by some children who went to school. They were scared, they thought the baby was dead. They ran to the police and then they discovered that the baby was sleeping. No one knows where he comes from. So they brought him to us. We think that he might be 6 or 7 moths old, he can sit and crawl. We took him to the clinic and he has malaria. So we start medication and we wait what the police comes up with. They are doing investigations, trying to find the family of the little boy, who we have called Levi.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A baby of three weeks, weighing only 780 gram!!!

This afternoon a young lady came with her baby, she asked for help. I looked at the baby and I was so shocked!!! I even almost cried when I saw those big eyes in this little tiny face. So small, so skinny, the baby was 3 weeks old. I took the baby and asked the mother to wait. Meri and I weighed the baby, only 780 gram!! The mother told us that the baby was a 6 months premature baby and at birth he had weighed 1 kg. He almost lost 25% of his birth weight. he was a bit cold and dehydrated, we took him directly to the doctor next door (what a blessing to have the doctor next door!!) The baby was put on IV drip, extra dextrose IV and to be given a NG tube. So Meri and I went back and went to work.

I am so glad that Meri is back and we got everything organised and done, the NG tube went in very smoothly. I think this is the smallest baby I have ever worked with. Everything is so small and tiny.
We felt that this baby should be in the incubator. he is the oldest of the three premature baby's, but his weight is half from that of the two girls. So we took Evalyn out of the incubator and she lays now together with Eunice in a kind of tent. Also in our medical room, away from the other children and protected from the mosquito's. Evalyn and Eunice are now looking BIG, compared with this little boy, Jesse. The two girls are weighing now almost 1.8 kg. each, they do well.

And so got Jesse the incubator, he will be fed every two hours, like the other two baby's. It is a lot of work, three small baby's on NG tube feeding. But what a joy will it bring when they will be gaining and be able to drink themselves!
The mother of Jesse is very young and alone, she didn't know what to do, it was her first baby, she is happy that we came in to help and will take over again when the baby is stronger and stable.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Posho and beans..

It is going fair with the two pre-mature baby's. They are gaining a bit and the diarrhoea from Eunice has stopped. However, we decided that we will feed Eunice also by NG tube, at least for some days, because she gets so exhausted from the drinking that all the energy that she gets, goes towards the drinking. Yesterday I went to the hospital for some ARV drugs and a nurse stopped me, she said that the mother of one of the two baby's was very critical. I decided to go and see if I could help and found that the mother just passed away minutes before I arrived. It was the mother of the second baby, Eunice. I wrote about her in my previous blog. Very sad, she leaves 6 children behind. I went back home, then when I was working in the office, I was called. The District Police commander was there to see our ministry. So I gave him and the Police officer from family affairs a tour through the house and explaining what we are doing. At the end they also came with a request for help. last night they got a tip that in the bus from Karamoja (district North of Soroti) were some children being brought to Kampala to work, so child trafficking. The police stopped the bus and took the children out. The children have to be brought back to Karamoja. If we could help. I went to the police station and saw the children, five girls and one boy. They looked miserable, I heard that they had not eaten the whole day. I went to buy them a meal and here you see them sitting in the corridor of the police station, eating their food. We helped with some money for fuel, to bring them back the next day.
Karamoja is very poor and dry, many children are being trafficked  to Kampala, to work as house girls or to beg on the streets. there are people who just deceive the parents that they take the children to school or to a nice job, but then they let them work and cash their salaries. Those girls are mostly from the villages, have never been to a big town or city and many are lost in Kampala and never see their family again.
Today I checked on the Karamajong children and found they were more happy, smiling and were ready to be brought back. Then I got a telephone call from the hospital, the mother of Evalyn was going to be referred to Kampala, because of her heart condition. She really would like to see her baby before she left. baby Evalyn is doing well, so we wrapped her in and drove to the hospital.She was sitting in a wheelchair and was so happy to see her baby. You can see her on the picture, the grandmother, the mother, the sister and baby Evalyn. we could pray for her and told her that we would care for the baby, she should not worry, but try to get better, so she could come and take her baby home.
 This is Joseph, he came to us when he was very sick, (see blog from May 15),  we have been struggling with him. He has been sick with malaria and he is just so weak. But now it looked to go better. He is here eating his second plate Posho and Beans, the local food in Uganda. he is more happy and you can see him on the swing or a bit walking around with the other children. That is so encouraging, it is such a gentle boy, to see his eyes shining again, makes my day!
I'll end with this great picture of Nelson. You can read his story in the blogs of May 5 and May 9. His mother died shortly after he came with us. Nelson loves Posho and he is not so fond of beans. He eats with his whole face!!! He is such a happy boy, although he gives us extra work to clean him up after eating!!

Monday, June 11, 2012


 Little Evalyn, (I wrote about her in my previous post) has a friend! Yesterday we got an other little pre-mature baby from the hospital.
Evalyn is doing very well, she can't keep her temperature steady yet, but help her with that. The feeding didn't go well, so we gave her a NG tube and feed her every 2 hours. It was very busy in our medical room, I had also two other children on IV drip. So I have been up en down during the Sunday night as well. But yesterday (Monday) it was much better, the two children who were on drip did much better and we weighed Evalyn and saw that she has been gaining 250 gram in two days!!!!
Then we got another request from the hospital, also from the maternity ward. We went to the hospital and saw the baby. The baby was born at home, in the village. But then the mother started to have problems. So they went to the health centre  and there they were send to the hospital in Soroti. The mother is unconscious and they fear for her life. We felt that it was good to take this baby as well, so the family can concentrate on the mother and the baby really needs good care, which may not be given in those difficult circumstances. 
They called this baby Eunice, she is 2 weeks old, 3 days older than Evalyn. We weighed her and her weight is 1.690 gram, while Evalyn was today 1.610 gram, they are very close. Eunice is bigger, as you can see on the first picture (Eunice is left). But she drinks herself, that is also a good thing. She has some diarrhea, so we keep a close eye on her.
Our home is pretty full with 25 children and then my three children on top of that. But God send an angel to help.. Yesterday, Meri (our Canadian nurse) came back, we had said goodbye to her, she was going on a safari tour, but it didn't fall trough and she came back!! At the right time, because without a nurse it was very busy for me, so many sick children and then those two vulnerable baby's.  God knew that and He worked it all out! 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Born at 1 kg.

Yesterday I got a letter from the hospital, with the request to help with a small baby. It was around 6 pm. so I asked Esther to come with me. We went to the maternity ward and found the mother with the little baby. The baby was 9 days old and her weight at birth was 1 kg! The mother was very sick, the nurse told me that they expected her to die, but she was still there. She was paralysed at the left side, still high blood pressure and heart problems. She was cared for by the old grandmother and her 10 year old daughter, who was holding the baby most of the time. The grandmother was tired and they wanted help. There was not much breastfeeding, the mother could hardly hold the baby. 
This is how they stay, there was no bed for them, so a mattress on the floor, not a very good place for a 1 kg weighing pre-mature baby. We talked with the doctor and he told me that they induced labour, because otherwise they would have lost the mother. He was happy that we could help, we talked and explained to the mother and the grandmother that the baby is still theirs, that we only help for now, so the mother can get stronger and later get the baby back. They were very thankful.
We went home and gave the baby a bath, she was dirty and had even some wounds because of poor hygiene. I was holding the little girl in one hand, so small, so delicate and so wonderful made!
Her weight is 1,350 kg. So she did gain after her birth, of course every scale is not the same, it is good to work from now on with one scale. We wrapped her in clothes and socks and a head, her temperature was a bit low. We already took her to our neighbour doctor, in the hospital they didn't really look good at her, it is our protocol that we take every child to see a doctor within 24 hours in our home. The doctor felt we should put her on IV drip, she was a bit dehydrated and antibiotic also IV. So we were busy doing that all and than she could rest!
We put her in our incubator, so she will be warm, but also to protect her from bacterial infections and keep her a bit away from the other children. We first tried her to drink from a bottle, but it was too much of an effort, so we gave her a NG tube and we feed her every 2 hours by tube. We pray that God will protect her and give her grace to grow. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Catherine!!!!

Today not really an Amecet story, but more a personal story...
My youngest daughter, Catherine celebrates her second Birthday!! Last year we did celebrate her first birthday in Amecet, not knowing that she would become part of our family! I am so thankful that we were able to help her and take her in our family. Her two big sisters, Sarah and Helen are crazy about her, Cathy brought so much joy and laughter into our little home.
Last night Sarah, Helen and me decorated our living room ( Dutch tradition!) And this morning we all enjoyed the excitement of Cathy, when she saw the balloons and decorations.
 The breakfast could not be too long, because Sarah (right) and Helen (left) had to go to school!
This is me with my beautiful youngest daughter! I know that God has a plan with this little girl and I am thankful that I can be a part of it! Please pray a prayer for Catherine, her health and her future today?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Loosing both of your parents on the same day...

 It happened last week to those two little boys on this picture, and also to their 5 siblings. Last week their father murdered his wife, their mother. He was not drunk, there was no argument, he heard "voices" telling him to do it, according to his statement, he didn't know what he was doing. All the seven children were there, the oldest is a girl of 12 years old, she ran out with the baby to the neighbours, but it had already happened and their mother was dead. The father first hid in the bush, but then went himself to the police. The police rescued him from the angry village people, who wanted to lynch him. The father is in the police cell and will go to jail for many years. he also can never come back in his village, so in one way, they also lost their father.
This morning we got a call from the police, if we please could take the two youngest children. The family clans from the father and from the late mother were so confused. The children needed a place were they would be cared for and were they would be safe. After the two clans would know where they would go, they will come and pick them.
So we took them to Amecet, they were a bit scared at first, but the youngest boy is crawling everywhere in the house. Only when it came to bed time, it was crying... We always have every child in their own bed, but this time we put the two boys in one bed, and that was the right decision. No more crying!! We had a time of prayer for the children and the two families. Before I went home, I took a look at them. They were so sweet, holding each other! May God bless and heal them!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Work in process...2 (also in the sandbox...)

Yesterday I went to Soroti hospital to the HIV clinic to get our monthly ARV medicines for all our HIV + children. I took those two pictures from the clinic. The building is going on well, the walls are there, also inside walls have been built up already. They made columns and next week they are building the ring beam. That will be done with iron bars and then it has to set for two weeks. After the two weeks they are going to build the roof. Everybody is excited about the building and is looking forward to the completion of the clinic. In the meantime is the clinic going on as usual. There is not much hinder from the building that is going on.

I had to go for medicines for 13 children. On the table in the front you see the pile of files, all from Amecet children. Last month I came with the children, they were all seen by the doctor, but yesterday I only came with their medical books and the doctor wrote in them and I got their medicines. I went home with a bag full of medicines. I call it a bag full of life, because the ARVs have brought life to our children. If I think back to the days we didn't have ARVs, the children were so sick and I know that most of them would not be alive today if they didn't had the ARV's, including my own 3 children! I thank God for ARVs!
And see here our three musketeers, working in the sandbox!!! There is sand everywhere and they even eat it!!! Left is Rafael, in the middle Charles and at the right Nelson. They are more mobile now and they love to be in the dirt, so they often escape and you see them moving around. They are so naughty and always go in places where they are not allowed. You have to have eyes everywhere. But it is normal for little boys, to be naughty and specially for Rafael it is a mayor development step that he is moving around and walking. So we do not complain!!