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!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The laundry machine is broken.

Some years ago I bought a laundry machine, my first daughter came to live with me and to use my only free day to do laundry... After years doing it by hand, I bought a machine. And what was I happy with it... Now with three and in the holidays four daughters living with me, the pile of laundry is big, so I am so happy with my laundry machine which helps me so much (on the days that there is electricity and water!). Earlier this week it made a lot of noise by the spinning circle, so I don't want to use it until we found someone who can repair it. So today, my free day, it is laundry day with the whole family!!!! 
We started off serious, but after a while, Catherine was so wet that I took her dress off to hang it on the laundry line to dry. She fitted very well in the laundry bucket!

Helen thought that was a great idea, so she put her laundry bucket under the tap!!!

In the afternoon we went to visit 5 of our former children who are now living in a boarding school. Every term there is one official visiting day. That was today. We have now 5 of our children in the same school, that makes it much easier.We had a great time with them, they were looking good, we listened to them, Simon talked with the class teacher and they are very content with our children. Their results are fair and they are happy and healthy.
On the picture you see the students in the blue T-shirts (school uniforms) The boys at the back are Francis and Issa. In the front (on the back) sits Mary and the other two girls in the blue are Vicky and Kevina.
The new baby, I wrote about yesterday, we gave the name Jesica, she doesn't cry much anymore and she is drinking good. 
There is no news about Joseph, he is still the same, he has fever, in spite of the anti-biotic he gets. Today, when we were all eating outside on the veranda, I found Helen sitting inside, next to him, holding his hand. I let her and later she came to tell me that she had prayed for Joseph. She said that she never saw such a sick boy. This is the friend where she was playing with, that is different then when a baby dies, this is her friend!! She wanted to know if he could hear her, so I told her that she could talk to him and that he could understand her. She decided that she would write a letter to him, she made a drawing and I had to write what she told me to write. It was about them playing together and that she loves him. This all has a lot of impact on the children, they think a lot about it and I pray they can handle it and that we, adults, can help them in this process. In the past I have always learned a lot from the children, and the way they handle death and dying.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Keep praying for Joseph...

Thank you for all the reactions we received after the last blog about Joseph.It is such an encouragement to know that you stand with us in the battle for the life of Joseph! There is not much news, he is not better, but also not worse. He has at times high fevers, because he got malaria, which we are treating at the moment. The shaking is a bit less, we don't know, it can go either way... So keep on praying for him!
Today we (Simon, Dominique, Marianne, Petra en ik)  went with three children to Kumi, to the orthopedic centre.
Left you see Dominique with Ruth, we have been going with Ruth for many times, she got splints, plaster, an operation and still her left foot is not good. The doctor wants to operate her, but she needs to be older, so we come back after one year or so.. then we took the new born baby from Susan, the 12 year old girl. They are doing well, she is breastfeeding her baby and that goes well. Susan has still pain, but she had a cesarean, so that is normal. The baby has deformities on both legs, the doctor looked at it and said that he was a rare case. Not much can be done for him, we don't know if he will ever walk. According to the doctor has it to do with the young age of the mother. That was sad news.
 Then we brought Michel, he was brought in Amecet in the beginning of July. His mother left him behind in the waiting room in the hospital. It was a sad, miserable little boy of maybe 8-10 months. He has spastics, can not keep his head up, can't sit and didn't want to eat or drink. Look now what a beautiful boy!! he smiles and he knows people, we wanted an assessment on him. The doctor looked and said that there was brain damage, but he looked bright and it might be only effect his muscles.  We have to do exercises and he referred us to another place in Kumi, where they make special chairs for children like Michel. We went there  and they took the measurements to make a chair for Michel, where he can sit in and keep his head up. Next week we can pick the chair!
In the afternoon the police brought a baby girl of maybe 3 months. The mother is crazy and she might be a danger to the baby. They took the child from her and they will make radio announcements, trying to get the family of the mother to come. We took the baby in and named her Jesica, she cries a lot, hopefully it will not be for long....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Please pray for Joseph.

In my last blog, I wrote about Joseph. Today I want to ask you to stand with us for him in the gap and pray for his healing. We are very worried about him. The doctor changed his ARVs, he is so weak, he is not able to talk any more. We can't get contact with him, we do talk to him, but he doesn't give any reaction. Since Sunday he doesn't want to eat anymore, so we gave him a NG tube and we feed him through the tube. Also all his medication goes trough the tube. His medication needs to start working... When I had to give him the NG Tube, I really had to cry, this boy was running around before and now he lays so helpless. He is still shaking a lot and he doesn't give any response. I don't see any progress and that is so hard. We don't give up, we continue to care for him, to feed him and pray for him, but sometimes with tears...
Please pray for Joseph...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Joseph is sick. Joan went home and Susan and her baby are back in Amecet.

In the blog of July 4 , I wrote about Joseph, how good he was doing. That same month he got malaria, which didn't react on the treatment we gave, he had to go on Quinine IV drip, which made him really weak. In his situation is that extra dangerous, because of the low immunity. He got sick and weak and 3 weeks ago he started to have convulsion like contractions. we have been to the doctor, was put on medicines, on which he didn't react, medicines were changed and still there was no improvement. We got more worried and 2 days ago the doctor changed his medicines again. But this morning I took him again to the hospital, he could hardly see!! The doctors from the HIV clinic did a very good examination and they took us to the eye doctor, one eye was not working and the other eye a bit. Then they wanted to see if meningitis was there, so we took Joseph for a spinal tap. You can see on the picture that Joseph is laying in the hospital, waiting for the doctor to take the spinal fluid.  We took it for examination, but everything was normal, no meningitis. We carried him back to the car, Joseph is too weak to walk. The doctor changes the ARV medicines, we pray and hope that it will help to build up his immunsystem. It is such a sweet boy.
In the blog of Sept. 8 I wrote about a girl who was brought by the police, because she was mistreated by her aunt. Lots of talks have been there, with the aunt, with the family. The probation office and the police were not sure if the aunt was the good place fore her. The aunt is the sister to her mother, who is remarried and her new husband doesn't want Joan in his house. The agreement was that the aunt wouild come every day to Amecet to spend some time with Joan, than they would decide where she was going. But the aunt was not very consistent in her visits. Last week Simon, the probation officer and the police drove to the home of the father. They talked with them and the neighbours and found that Joan was very welcome in their home. Only the family of the mother didn't want the father to have any contact with Joan. So the decision was made, Joan was going to her father. We also asked Joan what she wanted, she wanted to her father! So the grandfatehr and the uncle came, together with the probation officer to pick her. I will miss her, she was a sweet girl and happy with us. We pray that Joan will get used fast to her new family and would get a feeling of belonging there.
In between we also picked Susan and her baby from the hospital and brought her back to Amecet. Naome and Janneke were with her, they told us to pick her at 10 am, so I brought them to the hospital, the same time as Petra and I went with Joseph to the doctor. They called me at around 2.30 pm that they had the discharge papers and were ready to go. Because of Susan's young age, many people just want to "see" her, and it is quite hard for Susan, if she is in the Zoo. When we came in Amecet we had a bed ready for her in the night duty room. She was so happy to be back and see her friends! I saw her smile again! And to see her chatting with the other girls, while giving her baby the breast, it looked almost natural. We will have to see when to go to the orthoprdic centre in Kumi with the baby, but for now, they are home and happy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A new family for Levi....

In the blog of 15 and 19 June I wrote about a little boy who was found at the side of the road in Serere. Later they found the mother, but she was mentally unfit to care for this little boy. He has been with us since that time and changed in a very cute little boy who crawls all over the place. I think all the staff of Amecet really likes him. But since today he has a new family, they were so happy to pick him this morning! The American couple works in Soroti with a Missionary organisation and I believe he will get a beautiful home and family with them.
The Probation officer came with them, they did all the paper work with him and the probation office will monitor the foster period until they can really adopt him. I am so happy for Levi, he has a place now where he belongs, and we all need that!
Janneke, Sarah and I were almost the whole day in the hospital with Susan and her baby. They are doing well, the baby drinks good, Susan has a lot of pain, but she doesn't complains at all. I am so impressed with her, she is a real tough girl. We spoke with the doctor and we can take her back to Amecet  tomorrow. We have 3 nurses at the moment, so she will be treated like a princess!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Susan has a baby boy!

Today at 11.45 am, Susan gave birth to a cute baby boy, his weight is 2 kg. It all went well. We brought her yesterday to the hospital, her cousin came with us, to stay with her in the hospital. She was very calm, the only thing what was really irritating was the fact that the people came to stare at her. The nurses were nice, they let us wait in a room till a bed came free in the "private" section. there is not that much privacy, but there is a curtain around your bed. And even then people just come to look behind the curtain, like it is the Zoo. I still feel sad when I see that small girl with her big tummy, laying in the bed. It is just a girl!! And she proved that by asking us to check on Silivia (an other girl in Amecet) to be sure that she would not exchange dolls with her while she was in the hospital. Can you believe it...worrying about a doll while you are in the hospital to get your baby!! Today she was nervous, but Janneke and Petra were allowed to go with her into the theatre where the operation would be done. They also had to put on the operation gear, and were able to see everything well. I went back to Amecet, because other work was going on normally. Later I went back and I held the baby, he is cute, there is a problem with his legs, we shall have to go to the orthopedic doctor with him. But the rest is good. Susan still had pain and lost a bit of blood, but nothing went beyond normal. In the evening the baby was already drinking. They will stay a couple of days longer in the hospital and then they will come for a while to Amecet.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Nurse and car mechanic...

Yesterday, Janneke and I would go to town, to buy the last things for Susan's admission in the hospital. Before we use our vehicles, the first person that day, will always check oil and water. So I did that and... dropped the lid of the water reservoir  in the motor. Janneke was able to get it out, but she had to go under the car for that!! So we went to town a bit later but were able to buy the necessary things. Today at 2 pm we bring Susan to the hospital. Her cousin sister will stay with her during her hospital stay. We will come in several times a day, and provide what is needed. Tomorrow will be the operation and the baby will be born. Susan is okay, we tested her on Saturday for malaria again and she was positive, so we started directly the treatment, tonight she takes the last dose. Please pray for her and her baby!

This is Janet, a new baby who was born Friday night. She was brought on Saturday to Amecet. Her mother died one hour after the delivery, she bled to death.
Janet is a beautiful little girl, she is a bit premature, we don't know exactly how much. We took her yesterday to the doctor, the cord is infected and her eyes are also a bit infected. She is on treatment now. Giving birth is a risky business here!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The baby will be born on Tuesday.

I am still thinking a lot about John Michel, I went to the clinic next door, to tell them that they could give the blood to someone else who needed it.
And then the family of John Michel, he lived most of his life with his grandmother, his mother lives with the family of her husband (who had died). He had not seen his mother very often. When Simon and Elias went to the grandmother to tell her, the family reacted a bit hostile, they were afraid of the reaction of the family of the father. We decided that we would not go to that family, we would meet half way and give the coffin to them and explain what had happened. Then they would continue and explain to the family of the father and bury John Michel there. On the picture, you see our car and we are standing behind it, talking and explaining to the family what had happened. I do that mostly and then I give them the medical book and all the results of the tests we did on him. You can see the little pickup in front, that is what they used to make the rest of the journey. It was strange for me to do this on the road and not sitting down at their home, but I believe this was the best way for now. Maybe because of that I still think a lot about John Michel, it feels if it is not finished right.
Today we went with 5 baby's to the hospital for immunization. And after that Janneke and I took Susan, the pregnant girl for her ultra sound again. I am a little nervous about her. It is for sure that she can't give birth the natural way, this would kill her and her baby. So she has to go for a Cesarean. But what if the baby decides to come earlier, and what if it is at night? What if there is no doctor at that time in the hospital to do the operation and she goes into labour..... So I was happy to go with her again to the doctor and he examined her and the scan showed also no problems, but showed that she is 38 weeks!!!We had again a talk with the doctor and he decided that she will be admitted in the hospital on Monday and they organise the operation for Tuesday! I have been talking already with her about the operation, but she is scared. We will get her sister to be with her in the hospital, but she will come back to Amecet with her baby for a while. When she is strong enough to go back to her family, we will bring her back to the village. I really feel for Susan, she is so young and so small, she is very quiet, I wonder what all goes on in her head. I feel really concern for her situation, I feel a little bit like becoming a grandmother!! Please pray for Susan, that everything may go well and that mother and child will come healthy out of this situation.

Monday, September 10, 2012

No more pain for John Michel..

This morning I wrote that we were worried about John Michel. He was this morning too weak to walk. Janneke and I carried him to the neighbour clinic for the ultra sound. Not much came out of that, mostly that he had ascites, water in his tummy. He was very weak, the doctor saw him and he was also very concerned. We did check his sugar level in his blood, it was very low, so we had to give him dextro intra venous. And blood transfusion  We asked the doctor if they could check his blood group  and request the hospital to give it to us, so that we did not have to carry him around too much. John Michel had a lot of pain in his abdomen. Our plan worked out and I got the blood in the hospital and we gave half of it, the other 200 ml we planned to give tomorrow. His blood sugar level went down again, so again we had to give dextro IV. After 2 hours it was down again, and again we had to give dextro by IV. All the time he had diarrhoea and he was in pain. He was also very weak. At 6.15 pm Janneke was with him, when he suddenly stopped breathing. Janneke and I tried to reanimate him, but it was in vain.This happened all in our living room, the other children and staff were eating around the table and we were at the other side of the room working on John Michel. It was so shocking, to us, even he was so sick, we didn't expected this. We carried him to the medicine room and knew he was gone. I feel angry, shocked, sad and confused. John Michel was only with us for 3 days, he walked in on his own legs! I feel so bad for his grandmother, who loved him. Simon and Elias went to the village to talk to her, they are not back yet, but I know that the news will really shock her. I know that we did all we could, Janneke was with him the whole day, we tried every thing, but still in vain. We don't know what caused his death and we are a bit frustrated and empty. We talked with the other children who saw all that happened and we prayed together. John Michel is at peace, no more pain, no more injections and no more tears for him. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Back to the tomatoes and onions..

In the last blog, I wrote about the girl that was brought by the police because she was found in town. The next day she was not feeling well, she had a fever, so I took her for a blood test for malaria. That came back positive, so we started the treatment for malaria. She was not happy, crying and isolating her self. We had a language problem, she only spoke Luganda, all our children speak Atesso, only some staff members speak some Luganda. So I asked those staff to talk with her to assure her that we will find her family. But all in all, I had also questions by her story. Suddenly in the afternoon, when Elias talked with her, she said she had an uncle in Soroti, then she knew the telephone number, we tried to call, but there were network problems. At the end we decided to go with her to the police and then try together to find the house of the uncle. The girl remembered (suddenly) a lot of details! The police went with us and we drove to the place where the house of the uncle was suppose to be. The neighbours came directly and started to talk in Luganda as well. The bottom line is that the girl lives there herself with her mother, she had ran away on Thursday and the mother has a shop in the market. We had to give the child direct to the mother, so we all went to the market and found the mother. She had been worried and had been looking for her. This is again a fact that you should not go on the first story, but keep room for a second or third version of the story. The girl had been lying all along, she did understand Atesso, even her home language is luganda. But now she is home with her family again, on treatment for malaria and the police will follow this up, our work is done.
We are worried about John Michel, the boy I wrote about in my last blog. We had to give him a NG tube, because he refuse to drink or eat. He has a lot of pain in his abdomen. Today we will go for an ultra sound.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Levi likes spaggetti...

 It is not easy t eat spaghetti!! Levi is struggling with it, but he likes it and he just picks it from his legs and puts it in his mouth. Levi is doing well, he is crawling everywhere and he is very cute!!! (read the blog of June 15 and 19).
We got 3 new children this week, the first one was a four year old girl, brought by the police, she was beaten by her auntie and the neighbours brought her to the police. After investigation and talking with several neighbours, the auntie was picked up from the place where she worked, a pre-school in Soroti. They are looking into the family for another member to care for her. It is so sad that this girl has been gone from auntie to auntie and is not treated well. She is not an easy girl, but I think that the circumstances made her the way she is, she must feel that she is a burden to them.
Then John Michel... He was in the therapeutic feeding centre in Soroti hospital, where we go every week to bring porridge flour, sugar and soap. John Michel is around 6 years and lives with his grandmother, but has been more than 6 times admitted in the feeding centre. Every time he goes home fine and then after a short while they come back. We know him, met him many times! The nurse from the feeding centre asked us to come in and help, maybe that would work. John Michel also wanted to come, so on Friday we took him to Amecet. He is severe malnourished, the kind of malnutrition which makes the body swell (kwasiorkor). His hair is white and he is unhappy and has pain. He has a big belly, probably with fluid in it. He is also not very co-operative, he doesn't want to eat or drink, or take medicines, and we are quite tough on him, so today he told us that tomorrow morning he will go back to his grandmother. It is sad to see how weak he is, we have done several blood and stool tests today, not much came out, on Monday we are going to do an ultra sound, the good news is that he is HIV-. This is not an easy case. and he will not go to his grandmother tomorrow!!
And today an 11 year old girl was brought by the police, she was found walking in town. She has been visiting her mother in in Kampala, put on a vehicle to travel back to her grandmother and ended up in Soroti. She should have gone to a little place north of Mbale (2 hours drive from Soroti) She was very scared and had a bad headache. But by the time it was time to go to bed, she was more relaxed and smiled. She speaks a different language, no atesso, but some staff could talk to her and the girls are also nice to her, showing her her bed and helping her. Tomorrow the police will announce it via the radio. So her family can come to pick her.
We are also worried about Joseph, a 12 year old boy in our home. I have written about him several times. He is not doing good, he has probably toxoplasmosis, which gives him convulsion-like movements with his arm and it is very scary for him. Please pray for him.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A canceled trip.

Today we were going to the eye hospital in Tororo. Catherine (my daughter) has an eye problem and we wanted to take Steven for a confirmation. You can read about him in the blog of May 21 and on June 26. Tororo is normally 2 hours drive, but with the bad road, 4 hours. And now there is another problem...
This is the road to Mbale, you go over the bridge and then through a swampy area. Because of the heavy rain showers a part of the road is washed away and also the bridge has a problem. So the road was closed off for traffic. This is the main road to Kampala, Kenya and Jinja. It is a disaster for the Teso. 

There is an old road with an old bridge, so we set out this morning to go via that way. But when we got there, we saw a long line of trucks and cars. Also this road is closed. There several vehicles stuck in the mud and no one can go back or forth. Many people had to sleep in their vehicle on the road. This line of cars is several kilometers long! So we decide to go back to Soroti and to try it again next week.
When we came back in Amecet we heard that there were problems with baby Lazarus, I wrote about him in the blog of August 25. His heartbeat was too fast, breathing not well. Together with Janneke, a Dutch nurse who has been several times in Amecet before, I went to ask advice from Dr. Engulu, our neighbour. After some blood tests, it showed that he was anemic and in need of blood transfusion. We had to go to Soroti hospital for the blood transfusion. While Dominique and Janneke stayed with Lazarus, I went to the blood bank. The lab technician was out for lunch, so I had to wait for one hour, but we were happy that there was blood for Lazarus. When I came back on the children ward, we found a small table, because all the beds were occupied. We taped the little bag with 70 ml blood on the wall and were allowed to connect the blood with the cannula.

Dominique was holding Lazarus and I had to keep my finger on the cannula, that way the blood transfusion kept on going. After the blood transfusion we disconnected it and we went back to Amecet. Lazarus was crying, but after a diaper change and some milk, he was laying comfortable in his little chair. The breathing was much better and the heartbeat a bit down. He still has some little convulsions with his arms, this little man has still a lot of problems in his 17 days old life!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back in town.

It is almost a week ago since my last post. We have been busy with getting ready for school, tomorrow the schools will begin again. Some of the older children, who are now living back home, but are going to boarding schools, have been coming for school fees etc. We have also some children with malaria, so we are always busy.
But I went to Kampala with my children... We are planning to go to the Netherlands in December as a family and I had to go with them to the Dutch Embassy for the visa application. I wanted to do it in the holidays, so they don't miss school. On the picture you see them waiting in the embassy, it was cold, so the sweaters were put on. They were complaining! I told them that in December it is much more colder in Holland then now. Helen discovered the water machine and she drank many cups with water, what made her going to the toilet several times. You have to do something when you are waiting!! But we got our application done and now we wait for their answer. We have been together to Holland several times, only for Catherine it is the first time. I believe there will be no problem.

When I left to Kampala, all the children in Amecet were fine, but in the evening I got a phone call about Joseph, who got convulsions, and in the night I was called again about a baby who had to go on IV drip. The two Dutch volunteer nurses, Petra and Marianne, did really well. It is good to be back in Soroti after two days Kampala, sitting in traffic jams! The children are fair and tomorrow schools begins!!!