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, October 29, 2012

Elias has graduated en Steven went home.

Friday was the graduation from Elias, he works with us as a social worker and he is also a good friend of the children and us, the staff. It was a big ceremony, there were 1500 students who graduated. Every student could only bring 2 visitors, so we couldn't go in person to cheer Elias, because his uncle and aunt went with him. It is a big achievement for him, we are all happy with him. Well done Elias, you deserve it!!!!
This is Steven and he went home yesterday, to his father. We have a long story with Steven. He came in Amecet on April 12, brought by his father, who said that he was his uncle, you can read that in the blog of April 12. For quite a while we thought that Steven was blind and deaf, we even took him to Kampala to be examined. You can read that in the blogs of May 21 and June 26. We observed him for a while and then we discovered that he could see us, he started to react on us and followed us. We were very happy, recently we have the feeling that he can hears us as well. I do believe that there is a hearing problem, but when it is quiet (which is not very often in Amecet) he does react sometimes on sounds. Steven has been gaining from 3 kg in April up to 8.3 kg now. He eats very well, also porridge and soft food, so we felt he can make it at home, we hope in time the hearing might improve. There is also a deaf school near where he lives, so they can always go there for help. The sister of the father is coming to live in his home to care for him, so Steven left for the village and we are happy with the way he left, he is a beautiful little boy and we pray that the family will open their hearts to him.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Happy Birthday uncle Simon..

We celebrated Simon's birthday today! The real day was yesterday, but that was a hectic day again, so today was better. The smaller children "helped" him with blowing the candles. Birthdays are not so much celebrated in Uganda, but we feel that it is good to thank God for this "birthday baby" and pray together for him. Of course the nice goodies are also very welcome! Simon is a big blessing to the Amecet ministry, he is quite busy, this year he started a part time study for Social Worker and he also has his own family.
This is a picture of Joseph 2, the baby who was born in the prison. And Thursday, he completely refused to drink, we had to feed him by NG tube. But now he is drinking well again and we can see that he is more happy and at peace. I really believe that he has gained, his face looks so different than 3 days ago. That is so encouraging!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Amecet swimming pool.

Today it was a warm day and it was a public holiday, so the children asked if uncle Calvin could open the swimming pool. He did and after first cleaning it from at least 15 dead frogs, and washing it, the pool was filled a bit and the kids could dive in. It is a pool of 1.5 x 1.5 meters, small, but it is nice for the children to play in. And as you can see on the picture, they did!! Of course it is under close supervision of the staff, especially when the small children in like Catherine(left) and Charles (right) want to come in. Even the mother of Ben was in the pool, this was for her the first time, and she loved it! It goes well with Ben, they checked his leg again, but they felt that the splint was not necessary, it would even be more difficult to handle him. Susan is doing also better, she was so shocked when the bone was broken and she understand that we have to handle him very carefully. She is a very good mum, but today it was so good to see her, for a moment, play as a child again.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sad news about Jesica.

Jesica came in Amecet on September 28. She was brought by the police, her mother has a mental problem and the baby was in danger, according to the police. They made radio announcements in the hope that some relatives would turn up. But until today, nothing happened. The mother is lost, they have been looking out for her, but it seems that she left Soroti. We have been treating Jesica for malaria and she is doing well. We don´t know anything about Jesica, we don´t know her age, we gave her a name. I don´t know if she has been immunized, at first I waited, because I had hopes that the relatives would show up, but now, we have to take action. So we took her today for a HIV rapid test, and the results were so sad, she reacted HIV+!! That was a disappointment, so tomorrow we take her for the DNA test, maybe the positive results came from the antibodies of the mother. In Uganda they have a good programme for HIV+ mothers with their babies. The babies are directly put on an ARV after birth, until they have tested them. If they come out HIV+, they will be put in ARVs and if the test comes out negative, they stop the medicines. I don´t think that Jesica has received any medicines, knowing where she comes from, so I am concerned for this beautiful little girl.
Then we had another problem yesterday. The grandparents of one of the babies came to pick her. I was supprised, normally we have to call and call if the family can come and pick their baby. The baby was with us for almost two months, and she is doing good, so she could go home. But in our papers was written that the father would take her. We talked with the grandparents and they said that the father was also coming. So we waited, when the father came, they held their meeting on our veranda, in total they were with 6 people and they didn´t agree. the father wanted to take the baby home, but the grandparents (the parents of the mother who had passed away) wanted the baby also, as a rememberance of their daughter. There was a lot of discussion, Simon and Elias were also among them and then they agreed all that the baby would go to the father, his first wife would care for her (the late mother of the baby was the second wife of the father). So the father will come back for his daughter, together with his first wife and a letter from his local counsellor.  
The little baby who was born in the prison, (see last blog) is not doing so well, he doesn´t want to drink, we had to give him a NG tube, when he doesn´t drink enough, we can give him extra through the tube. And today we got a new baby of 3 weeks old, a beautiful little boy. His mother died 2 days ago of hepatitis. So our days are busy and we don´t get bored!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Born in prison.

Yesterday, we got a phone call from prisons, we have been going there every week in the past, to visit the mothers in jail, who has little children. We give them a feeding supplement and soap and we help with other special needs. We stopped for a little while, because of confusion between the guards and us, but this week we wanted to resume our visits again, after we have had a good talk with the social worker from the prison. She called us yesterday, there was a four months old baby who was malnourished and if we could please take the baby for a while. The baby is four months old and his weight is 3.2 kg. The mother has no breast feeding. I was again touched by the story, I heard. Yes, the mother killed her husband in a fight, but this baby is her eight' baby, her other 7 children are at home with "neighbours". This baby is born in the prisons, what a tragedy. We took the baby in after talking with the mother and the social worker, his name is... Joseph!! So this is Joseph 2. He was not happy, as you can see on the picture, but Esther knew what to do!!  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Worries about Ben.

Baby Ben is the little baby from Susan, the 12 year old girl who gave birth by Cesarean last month. he is drinking very good and gaining, but we have worries about him. We took him for X-ray and to the orthopaedic doctor, but not much can be done. Three days ago, Susan gave him a bath and felt something crack in his left upper leg. he cried and the day after he also cried more than normal. Susan felt very bad, we tried to comfort her, she is a really good mum. Yesterday we took him for X-ray again and yes, there was a broken bone. We went to the doctor next door, he called a more specialised person, who came some time later to Amecet to see Ben. He even called with the orthopaedic doctor, where we went before and they all say that we can't do much about it. They expected it, so we have to be very, very careful with him, because his bones break very easy. I feel so sad about it, Susan is also sad about her baby, she doesn't understand everything, but she is worried. What will the future bring for this little boy and for his mother? The doctor will try to come back on Monday to make a splint or so for him.
Then we were busy with Fiona, (and also worried!) Fiona has been with us before, but is now back in Amecet since half of August. She is not gaining and she is very weak. The doctor changed her ARVs, but still we don't see much progress. Now we see her eyes become a bit yellow, so we went back to the doctor. We had to go for several tests, ultra sound, X-ray and blood tests. Her liver is not doing so good, but we have to continue for two weeks the way we do and then they do new blood tests. I would love to see her gaining, it will give her more strength and she will be able to do something. She mostly lays down the whole day. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Saying goodbye and `tot ziens`!

Wednesday morning, Simon and me (+ Catherine) left together with Bernard and Joke to Entebbe. Bernard and Joke have been with us for four weeks and they were a big blessing to us. They have been a great encouragement to us, Simon and me, but also to the staff and the volunteers. It is always difficult to say goodbye and I realise how often we have to do that. It makes me sad at times but we know that Bernard and Joke will come back! We had a nice meal in Entebbe, before we brought them to the airport. We were overlooking Lake Victoria and saw airplanes come and go.
On the way back, Simon and I bought a new laundry machine in Kampala. The old one broke down four weeks ago, we have tried to let it repaired, but in vain. With all the diapers and clothes from 24 children, we needed a machine. We found one and brought it with us at the back of the car.
Bernard is one of the members of the Figurant, the Dutch association who helps us a lot with fund raising. The Figurant helps us to build a second floor on the HIV children clinic in Soroti hospital
In 2009 we opened the first floor, but it got too crowded and in agreement with the Figurant, we started to build the second floor. They have more then 1700 patients now. We had hoped that Bernard could open the clinic and hand it over to the Hospital, but it is not finished in time. They are painting now, it will be a very nice clinic.

On the left picture you see the corridor and at the end of the corridor there will be the laboratory, exclusive for HIV testing and other tests for the HIV patients. There will be a big room for groups activities and research. We hope to finish soon and the whole clinic can be used.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

30 visitors on our doorstep.

 It has been a bit quiet after my last blog. The children are doing well, we don't have very sick children at the moment. Yes there is almost always one or two with malaria, but that is part of the African life, also the staff is part of that life!! It doesn't mean that we were not busy... On Friday we got 30 visitors from Holland in Amecet. There is an Evangelic Broadcast company in Holland which has a special organisation within, who raises funds for developing projects. This organisation, Metterdaad, is celebrating their anniversary and organised a tour for their members to visit several projects. That is how they came to us.  
They came with two busses and we first had a meeting in our living room, where I told them how we began and what we are doing, we saw a film about the work and then they divided into two groups, one group went with Simon and Elias to the village, to visit some families who had benefitted from the funds we received through Metterdaad, the second group went with Bernard and me to the Hospital and saw the new HIV clinic, the feeding centre and we gave soap in the childrens ward. In the afternoon we had lunch in Amecet and then the groups swabbed. It was a long and busy day, but I think a very good day. Because of the 3 Dutch volunteers, Bernard and Joke and me, we could talk with many Dutch people.
Then yesterday, Sunday, we celebrated the wedding anniversary from Joke and Bernard, two very good Dutch friends, who are coming every year to help, support and advice us. They are also our contact people who talk in Holland with the Dutch volunteers, who want to come and work with us for some time! 
And in the afternoon we received a small team of three people, again from the organisation Metterdaad. They were coming to film, Metterdaad has a new Ambassador for their organisation and they were visiting some projects with her to film and to use that to introduce her to the public on the Dutch TV. It is a Dutch singer, Pearl Josefzoon is her name, in the evening she sang a song for us. That was really special, Helen and Sarah are now fans from her, especially that she is dark, like them.
Today we are going to fim in Amecet with her and we are going to the village to visit a family.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A new "baby" Joseph...

 Today we received a letter from the doctor from the maternity ward. There was a baby, who lost his mother, if we please could help? Together with Petra I went to the hospital where I heard the sad story. The mother was only 18 years old, the father 19. She had given birth at home and started to bleed, they brought her to the hospital, but died on the way. The nurse I spoke said that she looked white, because of the loss of so much blood. On the picture here, you see the father with his cousin. The father has a lot of problems, they were not (yet) married, so there was no dowry paid yet. The family of the mother is angry, because he "killed" their daughter. Before they can bury her, the father has to pay first the dowry, he is then married! And then he can bury her. The baby is cute, and full term, but he had not drank anything after he was born, that was 18 hours ago!! we asked if he could give him a name, and after talking, his name became Edomu Joseph! So we got us a new Joseph, we call him baby Joseph, because the name Joseph is still in our heart and mind! Yesterday we also got a new boy, he is one year old and is called Emmanuel. Both his parents died of AIDS and last week his grandmother, who cared for him, died. He is malnourished, but HIV- and he has malaria.
Baby Joseph

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy UHURU!!!

Today Uganda celebrated 50 years Independence. It is a public holiday, normally there is a lot of marching going on on the sports field in Soroti town. The army, police, guards, schools and other groups march on the beat of the drum and there are speeches, but today all the officials were invited in the big celebration in Kampala, so in Soroti the celebration is postponed to Friday. Again a holiday!
We also celebrated, not by having a holiday, but by a special meal...Pork from the pork joint. It is a combination from pork, potatoes, onions, tomatoes all fried together and in one bowl. You eat it with your fingers, no plate and no cutlery. It is a real treat for everybody!!
The staff and also the children love it!

 In the afternoon we had a water balloon fight! Even the little ones joined in the game!

 When the water balloons were finished, we went on with buckets!!
 Sarah and Silivia got uncle Elias!!!                    

 And Marianne and Edith got uncle Simon, with a floating bucket??
And Silivia and Helen sneaked up behind auntie Esther, and got her as well.

It was fun and everybody enjoyed it, it was good to do it together after all the sad moments we have had this week.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Joseph and John Michel are playing together in Heaven....

"Joseph and John Michel are playing together in Heaven" that is what Helen told me yesterday, "and they play with Jesus and they talk about us, how they played with us,  here in Amecet".
As a staff, we are struggling with it, have so many questions, but this is how Helen (7) sees it. He is okay, he plays with Jesus in Heaven. I do think we should listen more to children.... (John Michel passed away in Amecet on September 10)
Yesterday was a sad day, we were all glad that the suffering of Joseph was over, but seeing this sweet boy laying on the bed and later in the coffin we had let made, it breaks your heart. We were leaving around 11 am to the village of Joseph. Before we had informed the family about what had happened. We had called them some time ago and they have been visiting Joseph during his last month. Some of the staff was coming and then Sarah, Sylivia and Helen wanted to come along. I first was hesitating, you never know how the people in the village react, but Joseph was their friend, so yes, they also should have the opportunity to bring their friend home. So we all left, it was almost 2 hours drive, Elias came with us because Simon had to go to school (he is studying social welfare). The family was waiting for us. They were sad, we all sat down, the coffin on a mat in the middle and I had to give a report about what has happened. We gave all the medical records and we left the family to mourn. We all have to work trough it, life is going on, we have a house full of children, that is difficult sometimes, it gives you the feeling that you step over it too easy.  A good cry and a good night sleep are part of the process, and knowing that God is in control is also a big part of it. The messages here on the Blog and on Facebook are also helping us so much!
And now... we  are going to see what this day might bring to us!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

PEACE for Joseph!!

This is how I want to remember Joseph!!! Happy, and so eager to go back to school! Everybody loved Joseph, he was social and caring for the little children, playing wit the girls and a good friend to all of them. We mourn him, but we are glad he is not suffering anymore! It is a comfort that he is now with the Father, no more pain, no more convulsions, no more NG tube and no more injections.
I was called at 3 am. and he had just died, together with the Dutch nurses we washed him and we were surprised how peaceful he looked. It is now almost 5 am. I can't sleep anymore, so many emotions are going through my mind. I have deep respect for Marianne and Petra, the Dutch nurses, who cared mostly for him with such a respect and love. It is a big loss to all of us and I am praying for the children who I have to tell this news in a couple of hours. Helen's drawings are hanging above his bed, she came often in the room to talk to him. Joseph was unconscious for the last 2 weeks, but when she heard that he might hear her, she came to talk to him. She told me that when she sees him like that, she has to cry. I told her that I felt the same and that it is okay to cry.
Thank you for all who have prayed for Joseph and for standing with us in this difficult time, please pray for us today when we have to bring him back to his village and pray for our children in Amecet.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Grown out of her suit..

Evalyn came in Amecet on June 9th, weighing only 1.3 kg. maybe you read my blog from June 9 and June 11, then you get the whole story about this little girl. She was the first of a wave of Pre-mature baby's, in total we got 7 little baby's, all weighing less than 2 kg. It was a tense time, we got many challenges, God brought Meri, a Canadian nurse, back to us and it was so timing! We lost 3 baby's from the 7! That was very sad, I know that Jesse, Martha and Esther are with the Lord and that they are loved  by Him, but it was a very hard time. Today the last baby of this premature wave went home. Evalyn was the first to come and now is she the last to go home.
This picture is Evalyn, when she came. the suit was too big, she was lost in it. Very fragile and small.
And this is Evalyn today!! A beautiful, smiling little girl. I put the red suit next to her, now you can see how small she was and how much she has grown. (her weight is now 4.2 kg.)This helps us to go through the hard times as well, just to see what difference we could make in the life of this little girl, and also in the life of her family. We thank God for His encouragements and His faithfulness!

We still ask your prayers for Joseph! This morning I was called, he had high fevers and we could not get them down, he was very, very sick. We thought that he was going to die. We talked to him, prayed for him, bathed him, the whole day you are busy with him, even I had things to do in the office or people to attend to who came for issues, the whole day you you have Joseph in your mind and heart. This afternoon I went to our neighbours (clinic) and I asked them for advice, the doctor was willing to come with me to see Joseph. One of our volunteer nurses felt that he might have now a pneumonia as well. And indeed, that was the case, so he is now on IV medication, on top of all his other medicines. It gives again a little bit of hope, we can do something again, but Joseph is suffering, it is so hard to see this sweet boy go through so much. I really struggle wit this. It is good that I see the smile of Evalyn on the picture above, we will not give up, God is on our side!