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!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Baby Esther can rest now..

 This morning we had a little coffin made, can you imagine, it was only 55 cm long! We were set to go and bring baby Esther to her village.Some relatives, who lived in Soroti also came and some staff members went along as well. It was far, more than 2 hours drive. It had rained, the roads were not good and at a certain place, the road was so slippery, that the car went off in the ditch! Simon had to climb out through the window, it was our luck that the ditch was not deep, we would have overturned, or that there was just someone walking there... We turned the 4 wheel drive on (I did it at the outside and Simon inside the car) and with some sliding, he could get it back  on the road!
When we arrived at the compound from the family, they were waiting for us. Mobile phones are a real blessing here, out in the bush. Otherwise it would have been a big shock when you show up with a coffin in your car. Now we had contact before and the relatives were prepared. They had even dug the grave already. It was so sad to stand there, seeing the grave of the mother and the small grave next to it from Martha. Then the place where they will bury Esther, next to her twin sister. At the right you can see a part of the grave of an older brother who died in February, when he was 10 years old. There is one girl of 13 years left, all alone now, she really cried. It was sad, the family was thankful for what we had done. We left the family, to give them time to mourn and we drove back to Soroti (without any problems this time).      
When I came back, I saw some of the older children play. It was so nice to see Susan, the pregnant girl, play with them (in the blue T-shirt). She is happy and laughing, she is a child again! She is the youngest (known) girl in Uganda who is pregnant. There is quite some publicity around her. Last week the national TV came for an interview with me about her. The visit to the doctor was good last week, a new scan showed that she is between 32 and 35 weeks. We have to come back in 3 weeks and she needs to get a Cesarean. She is too small to have a natural birth. At least we are in the system and we can always call the doctor when there is something. That is good to know! We pray that everything will go well.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baby Esther's struggle is over..

This evening at 10.15 pm Esther's struggle ended. She passed away into the arms of Jesus. We knew it was coming and we were with her with some staff members. This little baby has suffered so much, even this morning we needed to put her back on IV fluids, we went to the clinic for a cannula, it took more than one hour, trying to find a vein for the cannula, they ended up putting it in her head. This evening her breathing had changed, we were holding her and prayed for her. Together we were waiting to lay her into the arms of Jesus. The last minutes were difficult, she had a real battle, but then it was over. And now? I feel peace about it, her suffering is over, she has peace now, but I feel empty, angry, sad and many other feelings more. Another precious little one has gone. Tomorrow we are going to bring the little body back to her village, where she will be buried next to her mother and her twin sister. Esther, we have loved you and cared for you, and we let you go! To the Father!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Babies, babies and.......babies!

 It has been a "Baby"week. We got this week 3 new babies in Amecet. They all lost their mother after their birth.
This is Lazarus, he is 5 days old and lost his mother shortly after he was born. We are concern about him because he has small convulsions, the doctor has put him on medication, but we still notice the convulsion now and then. He is also quite sleepy, because of his medication, it is very hard to feed him.
Then we have (left) Dennis, he is already 3 weeks old. He comes from Karomoja, the district North of Soroti (Teso). The people live there like nomads and it is quite remote. The people don't go very fast to the doctor and the mother of Dennis got infections after giving birth and died from those infections. Dennis came to us via the Probation Officer (Child protection) from that area. We have at the moment 3 children via him. He is trying to find a permanent place within their families for them, but at least the children are safe after the death of their mother. At the right is a baby of 1 day old. She was born yesterday by Cesarean. Everything went well, but after the operation the mother suddenly started to bleed and nothing could be done to save her. The father brought her this morning to us and tomorrow is the burial from the mother in the village.
Then we still struggle with little Esther. This week was it again running to the doctor. You can see the picture, she is not doing well. She gains a little bit and then the next day she loose it again. We also took her to the hospital and got the DNA result, she is HIV-!! I was happy with that, but what makes her so weak and sick? We got now special feeding from the hospital, we have to feed her that every three hours. We hope and pray that she absorbs that better than the formula milk we gave her before.
But we also have some good news: we said goodbye to Christine, she has been a year with us. She came very malnourished, her weight was 13 kg and she was 7 years old. Now she went home with a weight of 26 kg. She has still both of her parents, so it was good to re-unite her with her family. (see the blog of Jan. 28/2012).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Our social worker arrived.

 This is Elias, our social worker. He arrived today, he finished his studies last week and his graduation will be in October. Elias is a long term friend of Amecet. We have seen his heart for the children, (who all like him very much). He has worked with us before, so we know each other good. He is from Soroti and knows "his" people well. 
He came today and he saw that our rain tanks were dirty, so he decided he would clean them. He climbed in them and cleaned the first one under supervision from Helen and Silivia (left). I like this initiative!
This is a picture of the 12 year old girl who is more than 7 months pregnant. She is still with us and via the Probation office we have a court order that she stays with us. Tomorrow I will take her to a gynaecologist, because we think that she can't have a normal delivery. We better be prepared! This is the first time we have an expected mother in our home. It is good that we got three new volunteers last week coming in from Holland, two of them are nurses and the third one is a teacher. There was a lot of publicity around the girl. Today we heard the sad thing that there are people who want to get better out of this situation. They asked several organisations for help to cater for the girl. While the girl is in Amecet and we meet the costs of the ultra sound and all the other things she needs! Some blankets were given and some money, it makes me angry again, to get benefits for yourself in the name of helping this girl who is in this sad situation. Every time when I look at her, I am sad, this girl should play and ran around instead of having this big tummy.   

Friday, August 17, 2012

12 years old and 7 months pregnant...

Today I was in the hospital, trying to get a result of a blood test of one of the children, when I got a phone call from Simon. He was at the Police station, they asked our help for a 12 year old girl who was pregnant. He came to the hospital, together with the girl. A small girl, who could be easily go for 10 years instead of 12. The police asked us if we could take her for a scan and keep her in Amecet at least until tomorrow. I called a Doctor in a clinic where they do those scans and we could come straight away. My heart went out to the little girl with a big tummy, it was really a small girl. The Police had arrested the family of the girl and the family of the man, (who is 20 years old) the man himself had ran away. The girl is in Primary 3. The scan was done and the doctor told us that she is over 7 months pregnant. He thinks there could be a problem with the legs of the baby, but he was not sure. We took the girl to Amecet, gave her food and one of the staff has spend time with her this afternoon. To see if she knows what is going on. She is just a child and is even happy that she gets a baby. It will be a big problem, she is too small for a natural birth, it probably should be a caesarian. She played Memory with the other children and I could cry, to see her sitting there with that big belly, this will be really a child with a child. And while she should be able to play and have fun, she is getting a baby. Some things I just can not understand, they make me angry! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A big name for a little man.

Yesterday a man came to ask help for the baby of his nephew. The mother died after giving birth. The placenta didn't want to come out and the mother bled to death. Very sad, I asked if the baby was okay, he said that the baby was fine, but the father was struggling with the baby. The child was a full term baby. I said they could bring the baby and this morning they came. When I saw the baby, I knew it was a pre mature baby, very small. So I am glad they came for help, in the village, without a mother is not really the place for a newborn pre mature baby. The baby is one week old and his weight is 1.3 kg. We asked for his name, he was not yet named, because he was not yet baptised. We asked if they could find a name and they came up with the name Alphonse. So Alphonse he will be.To me it is a name for a big man, not for a small tiny baby, but he will once become a big man, we pray!
 Today we brought again 3 children back to their relatives.
On the top picture you see Christine with her grandmother. Christine has been with us for more than 1,5 years. She is stable now, we have been talking with the relatives and the grandmother will move back to the village, not in the centre of the trading centre and we will help building a hut for them among the relatives, who will help with the medicines and coming back to the doctor for check up.
Mary Abayt went also home and was welcomed with a big hug! The grandmother and the auntie were also around. Mary will live among her relatives and they were amazed how good she looks.

The last one to bring home was John, he has been with us for more than 2 years. Part of that was the family situation. John was living with his uncle and auntie and they both died. So that was the second time he lost his caretakers, his parents had already died before, when he was a baby. The clan had sat together and another uncle will take the responsibility of John and his brother. The uncle was in the centre of Otoboi, when we called him. We met there and we gave John back to his family. The road (or path really) was so muddy from the rain, we were glad that we didn't had to try that.So his uncle will go on bicycles to the home. It is kind of empty now in Amecet, bringing 5 children home, who were a long time with us, is not easy. We hope and pray that the relatives will care for them well. We will keep checking on them and we know that this was the right thing to do, they belong among their people.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Resettling Joshua and Mary.

Some time ago we have been talking about bringing some of the older children back to their relatives. Some of them are with us for a long time and our mission is to reunite the children with their relatives when possible. Simon has been talking with some of the relatives and when we got the results of their blood test back, which were all quite good, we felt to go ahead. Because it is now holidays, it would be a good time to do it now, the children can settle in their new surroundings and go to school for the third term on their new school. We have been busy with preparing the children for going home and Simon has been busy with preparing the relatives to receive them.
 We have been talking a lot about their HIV+ status, with books and video. We try to prepare them for the stigma that people will give them and to encourage them that they are beautiful children and that they have a future!
 Here we are playing a memory game about HIV and the children enjoy it very much.
We have a group talk about the game, it is amazing what question they ask. They really listen and think about it. Some of them are scared of going back home, they are afraid that they have to work very hard at home and that they will get sick.
 Talking about the ARV's have we done a lot those last weeks. To show the children that the ARVs are their life line. We have such a sad example, last year a 12 year old girl died, because of not taking her ARVs. The children understand how serious it is.
 Simon has also individual talks with them and here he plays UNO with them.
This morning I went with four girls to the Salon to shave their hair. In the village you don't see so much hair braided, so they felt that they would "blend" in better when they would shave their hair. So we went and they all got a turn.
And here we go... We are bringing Joshua and Mary home, they are the ones in front. They will live in Soroti, so the others joined us to bring them. Mary goes to live with her Grandmother and Joshua with his uncle. They will still stay on Harmony schools and will go to school with the school truck. We explained the medicines to the relatives and we wiull see each other in two weeks in the hospital, where they have to come for a check up. Strange to leave them behind, I think that Joshua is fine, but the grandmother of Mary is quite old... We will check on her next week...

Monday, August 13, 2012


There has been a lot going on, this weekend. Let me give you an update about some of the things that were happening. This morning I found the dog who was operated on Saturday, dead on my veranda. After the operation she has been laying on my veranda. She was doing well, started to eat, was walking a little bit. She had problems with focusing with her one eye. It was even a bit funny, when she tried to eat, she started next to her bowl. This morning she was standing up and looked normal, I came back to my house, she didn't react anymore, and I checked her and she had just died. I called the Vet, he came and checked, he was shocked, didn't know what had caused her death, maybe an internal bleeding? The children were all sad and they helped Calvin to bury her. It was a beautiful strong dog and it is sad that she is gone.
An update on the accident of the Orem family and the 4 YWAM staff members. They are all doing well, the car has been brought to Soroti, we have to decide what to do with the car, the damage is severe.
Little baby Esther is still struggling. She was loosing every day a bit of weight, yesterday she went even under the 2 kg. Today she gained a little bit, but she is so fragile. There are no real problems, like fever, diarrhea or vomiting, but she is just not thriving.
Today I have been to the clinic next door with quite a number of children, not really serious things, but malaria, urine tract infection, tonsillitis etc. Sarah is really down, with fever and some other problems, the rest got also medication. We also took in a new girl, it was a child that has been with us before. Fiona went home when she was doing well, now she came back, 2 years later and her weight is 6 kg less than 2 years ago. She is very weak and it is so sad to see her so different than 2 years ago.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A day to remember....

This was a day, I will not forget easily, it was a Saturday (my free day!). We were invited to come with the older children to a concert in the children Playground, (which we build and opened on December  17, 2011). I was behind the house and I heard a terrible noise coming out of the doghouse. I ran there and I saw the two big brown dogs fighting together, and I mean..FIGHTING!! The other three dogs tried to also come in and help, I don't know at which side they were, it was one big mess, with blood everywhere. What to do, nobody, also our gardener, Calvin, didn't dare to go in. I also didn't think it was a good idea, so I opened the door and got one by one the three other dogs out, gave them to Calvin to put on a chain. Then the two, who were really at each others throat. I asked Calvin for a bucket with water and I poured it over the two fighting ladies. This had an effect, I got one out, on the chain and checked her. Most of the blood was not from her, so I went to the other dog, left in the house, I went in, she even greeted me. I saw then that she had a mayor injury, her eye was hanging out!
I needed to get the Vet doctor to see her. I went to get my phone, Then I met Simon, he came rushing in, he got a phone call from Steven Orem, our YWAM Soroti  base leader, they were on their way back from a conference in Tanzania and they got an accident, the car had overturned. In the car was Steven and his whole family (3 kids) and 4 YWAM staff members. They were injured, but he didn't know more, he had to go there with our car and help. We were shocked, how would it be, how bad was it, it was 1,5 hour drive from Soroti, so Simon left directly and I was left behind with the dog issue. I tried to phone the Vet, but got no reply, so I went in the car and drove to his house, he was home and was willing to come and help me. We drove back to Amecet, where several people were waiting for Simon, we are in the process of resettling  some of the older children back to their homes. We asked some of the relatives to come to Amecet and talk it over. So I had to do that, since Simon was not here. After that I brought the children to the concert and left them there with Mary Ajamo, who is back with us for her holidays. I went back to Amecet and the second Vet had arrived. Dr. Moses, the first Vet I went to, had seen the eye and felt that it was damaged so bad, he had to remove it. He went back to get the surgical instruments and got his colleague to help him.
 The car was parked under the tree, we opened the back and this was our operation room. Our dog, Boefie was sedated and they started the operation. It was quite a procedure and it was very interesting to see. In the mean time I tried to get more information on the accident, thank God for Mobile Phones!!!! I heard there were injuries, but not life threatening. They were all brought to a hospital nearby and some X-rays were done. So it brought some comfort... I went to the playground to see if the children were fine and they were, so I drove back to Amecet again. I had several visitors for several things so all in all it was a busy day. At around 3.30 pm the operation was over and the dog was laid on my veranda, where she is still laying right now. She was still sleeping, her eye removed and she was given injections against infection and the pain. 
I left to pick the children from the concert, it was finished, the children had enjoyed it, but it had been a long, hot day. It was a children concert, children who danced, sang and played drama. Then I got a phone call from Steven, They were all home, but needed injections, if I could help?? I brought the children to Amecet and left to the Orem family. It was good to hug them and to see them, when I heard the story, I got really shocked, they could have all been killed, they must have had a lot of angels around them!!! They only got minor injuries, some of them hardly anything!!! We looked in their medical books and then saw that some of them didn't need injections, but oral medication against infection and pain. I went to get it for them and explained how to take the medication. Then I drove home, where the Amecet family almost finished with their supper and were getting ready to praise the Lord. So I ate, while they were singing and clapping, yes God we thank you for your Hand of protection over the Orem family and the YWAM staff members, it could have been a very different day if God had not protected them. We give You Thanks!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Worries about baby Esther

Esther is the baby who lost her twin sister, almost 3 weeks ago. We have been struggling with Esther as well. i took her for a HIV antibody test, which came out positive. But because Esther is still a baby, so the antibodies can be still from her mother. This week Esther was 6 weeks old, so I could take her to Soroti hospital for the DNA/PCR test. With this test they can see the HIV virus in the blood if it is there. This test is not done in Soroti, the result comes back in 2 weeks. But we are concern about Esther, she is not gaining weight, only loosing a little bit every day. Her colour is not good and we feel she is not as alert as she was before. She is not drinking so well, so we put back the NG tube and we feed her through the tube every 2 hours. We have been several times to the doctor, but there is not a real problem which we could treat. We pray for her and we hope for the best, it is such a beautiful little girl.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Rafael came to Amecet in July 2010, when he was 3 weeks old. His mother was a young girl and mentally retarded. The family could not look after him and asked us for help. Rafael stayed with us for 3 months and then he went back to his family, to his uncle and the grandmother were going to care for him. In March 2011 we came across him in the feeding centre of the Hospital. The grandmother wanted to leave him behind, she didn't know what to do with him. His weight was less then the time when he left Amecet, 6  months before. We took him back in Amecet, he had TB and we treated him for that and other infections. He is HIV-, so that is good. In the last 8 months we have been trying to contact his family, even with the help of the Probation office, but the family was not willing to take Rafael back, they were even talking about giving Rafael for adoption. Rafael grew up to a lovely cute little boy, he is very naughty, does all the things 2 year old boys like to do, but when he smiles at you, you melt....Simon wanted to try again to go to the family and to talk with them again. I didn't go with them, because I have again malaria, and when I heard the story and saw the pictures of the roads, I was very glad I didn't go. Esther went with Simon, together with Rafael.

This is not a picture from a river, no it is a picture from the road!! And you don't know what is under the water. On some places the water came even into the bonnet, where the motor is. And of course they got stuck in the mud! But Simon is a good driver, he managed to get out with the four wheel drive! But he told me that he was also a bit scared...
When they arrived in the village of Rafael, many people of his clan were waiting. They were very surprised and could hardly believe that he was the same boy! He more than doubled his weight and he is walking now. Simon talked to the them and explained the situation of Rafael. They all welcomed him and they decided that he should come back home!!! That Rafael belongs to them. So all in all it was a good visit, Rafael came back to Amecet today, we have to talk more and the family has to prepare to take him back home! But Rafael has a place where he belongs!!!! And his grandmother was so excited to see him.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

School holiday and sandbox adventures

 YWAM Soroti has two schools, a nursery school and a primary school. Simon and I are also involved in those schools (Simon a bit more than me..). We successfully closed the second term. The nursery school has 3 classes, you can see the three lines (a bit) right is the baby class, then the middle class and at the left, the Top class. In total there are 125 children in the nursery school. In the Primary school are 205 children in 7 classes (P1-P7). This picture is taken in P2. P7 is a very important year, they get to do national exams, which are important for your further schooling. The results are even in the national paper and there are three divisions,
!,2 and 3, Division 1 is the highest and this year we got for the first time some children in Division 1 with the test exams! The teachers were very happy about that. Hopefully the children do so good again with the real exams in November.
In Amecet we have at the moment no children in the nursery school, but we have 10 children in the Primary school. They all got their report, some were better than others, but they have 4 weeks holiday in front of them!
It will be busy in Amecet, with all the children around, but the bigger children do help a lot and play also with the little ones. We got this week the good news that Eunice HIV test came back negative, so she is free from the HIV!! I did a first test with Esther (the baby who lost her twin sister) and that test came back positive, but there is still hope, this week I will take Esther to the hospital for the DNA/PCR test, that will give the real results. The first test shows the antibodies of the HIV, but with a small baby they can be the anti bodies of the mother. 
What is nicer than to play together in the sandbox and throw with sand to each other!! For sure not the shower we had to give them afterwards!!! Left is Charles, Catherine in the middle and at the right is Rafael.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Celebrating Life!!

I have been quiet for a week, not that I was on vacation or there was nothing to do, just too busy and feeling tired. Last week I had malaria and I was really down from that. Also the death of baby Martha was something to work through again, we also were still very worried about the twin sister Esther, who has been on our oxygen machine until Friday. But she is doing very much better
This are the 5 premature baby's, left Eunice, Evalyn, Esther and the twin Tracey and Trevor.
On Sunday we felt we could celebrate their lives, they are all above the 2 kg. now, so we had soda's! Two of them have left the premature room, they are now in the room with the other smaller baby's and soon the others will follow as well. They are all being fed now every 3 hours instead of 2 hours, so we see a lot of progress!
 It has been hard work, and thanks to the help from all the volunteers, we could manage! Meri, Becca, Verity, Rachelle, Willemijn and Esther, thank you again for investing in the lives of those five precious children. We still grieve about Jesse and Martha, but we do celebrate for those five! Also Dominique, she is a new staff member from the USA, she has been working night shifts for the last 3 or 4 weeks, she was mainly in the premature room. Without all your help we could not have done it!

Last Friday evening the Probation officer (child protection) from Kotido (that is more North) came with two little children. He works among the Karamjong, that is a Nomad tribe (like the Masai in Kenya). He asked our help for those little ones. Left is Sabine, she is 3 weeks old (and twice the size of our 6 weeks old Eunice), she was born in the bush and her mother got a tear, which started to become infectious, she must have terrible pains. They are not lightly to go to the hospital, so in the end the mother committed suicide, she couldn't bear it any longer, she was only 22 years old. The boy on the right picture is around 4 or 5 months old. His mother was attacked by a snake and she died. The children will be with us for 2 or 3 months. The Probation officer will relocate the children among their relatives. The little boy cried the first night, but now he smiles a lot and he loves the milk and the porridge we give him.
So things are happening, we said goodbye to Willemijn, who flew back to Holland, Simon is still busy with the hospital building, which is going really well. In Amecet we are building a lightening protector on our building and the schools will start their one month holiday this week. I am feeling much stronger and I am back full swing!!!