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!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We wish you a Hopeful 2014

This was our Christmas card, we wrote that we can celebrate Christmas and have Hope for the next year because : "the Son of man came to seek and save what was lost"(Luke 19:10)

Our thought was that Christ came to this earth for the weak and the lost ones. The baby on this picture can have hope, because Christ came to this world. You missed the Christmas card, because I have tried and tried and I couldn't download it in this programme. And Christmas came and went, now we are at the door of the new year, I just saw Sabine, the baby on the picture, since the picture on the card, she gained 600 gram, she is doing so well. I just want you to know, that we do have hope for the new year! 
This is Sabine today!

Doreen and baby Else are going back to the village

In several Blogs I have been writing about Doreen, she was a very hurt 15 year old girl, her boyfriend tried to kill her after he heard that she was pregnant. You can read her story in the blog of September 4 and 7. In the blog of October 9 you read that we got her a teacher in sewing. And she did very well. Her baby girl was born on November 13, you can read her story about the Cesarean. Doreen has changed a lot. She could hardly look you in the face, was very shy, but now she talks and she is a happy girl. We took her to the Physio therapy in the hospital and she has been doing exercises with her left arm, which was not working anymore. She can now handle her baby with that paralysed arm and the 3 fingers on her right hand. She really improved so much.
 Simon and Elias brought her back, together with some staff. We gave her the sewing machine, we loaded it in the car and she was very excited, she never thought that it would be hers! Doreen was ready to go back home. She loves her little girl, she can stand for herself and she has hopes for the future.

I am saying goodbye to my name sake. Baby Else is a very easy baby. And we are so glad that Doreen opened her heart for this little girl.

Doreen was warmly welcomed by her mother (at the right). She will live with her mother and her husband. The sewing machine will help Doreen to be independent. We are happy it all worked out so well. We 'll miss Doreen and baby Else, but this is the place where they belong!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas celebrations in Amecet.

We started our celebrations on Christmas eve, with a nice fellowship together, we remembered the birth of our Lord Jesus, long time ago. We sang songs and read the story and......
 we had a drama, played by the children. here is Angel Cathy telling Mary (Angela, who was already pregnant with a football)  that she would get a baby. It was fun to see the children participate in the celebrations.
On Christmas day we made together a nice meal, decorated the table and we had a beautiful meal with 34 people at our table. We have a team from the USA, visiting us and also a Dutch couple, who are missionaries in the North of Uganda, joined us for the Christmas days.
Also the children had a great time. It was a good celebration, we all worked together and we had a lot of fun and it is so good to be together on those days, remembering the love of God for each one of us, that He send His only Son to come and save us.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A home for Anna!!!

After the busyness of the Amun week "normal" life is continuing. We brought Bernard to the airport on Monday. He has been a big help with the Amun week. On Monday, Anna was handed over to her new family. On the picture you see the Probation officer giving Anna to her new mother. And on the second her new home. We are sure that she will be happy there, the new mother is so exited about her and she will be loved! Anna was brought to Amecet in August, her mother is mentally ill and wanted to put her on the Lira road, where a lot of traffic is. Via the Police she was brought to us, they have been trying to trace her family, but it was in vain. At least she has a home now and she will get all the opportunities to grow up and to be someone!
In the blog of September 4,2013, I wrote about a baby we were asked to visit. The mother was also mentally sick and the police and the people around were fearing for the baby. No one was allowed to touch the baby, otherwise the mother got aggressive. I was allowed to hold the baby, but I was not able to take the baby with us to Amecet. Now, 3 months later, the police and probation office contacted us again about this baby. And they brought the baby two days ago. The baby looks okay, there is a lady who wants to care for the baby, but they asked us to have the baby for some months, meanwhile they try to see how they can help the mother.
Yesterday I went to the prisons in Soroti to see how the work on the playground was going. Via gifts from Holland, we were able to build a small playground for the children of the female prisoners. We are going every week to the prisons to bring some nutritional supplements and soap to the mothers with small children. They asked us for some toys, but they get broken and missing, so the best option was to build some swings and a slide  and a merry go around. Yesterday they were planted and next week they will be painted by Janneke and Marieke, then we will hand them over to the children. I will keep you informed! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Amun week has ended.

This morning we all said goodbye to one another and we gave out the little Christmas gifts for their families. Everybody was in good moods and it was a happy gathering.
After the last goodbye's they all climbed in the school truck and Simon was going to bring them to town. He put them all on the different vehicles, going to their respective villages. Talked with the drivers and making sure that they were all in the right vehicle.
And here drives Simon the truck out of our compound. It is probably the last trip, because the government doesn't allows the schools to use trucks anymore. The plan is to use this long holiday (2 months) to build the truck into a bus. If we manage to get the funds for this operation.
So all the children are on their way home and we are cleaning up. It was a fantastic week, but very busy, I had also still some things to do with Amecet, which is quite full. Janneke was great, she kept Amecet going and she had also many patients going for a malaria test. I think 12 children went for a test, because they were not feeling well. And around 6 had malaria, so Janneke started them on malaria treatment. We had a great team, Margaret, Julius, Andrew, Jane and Samuel from the YWAM base, we also had a great kichten crew, with extra hands from Simon and Emma. And a special thank you to Dominique, Bernard, Elias, Esther, Ann and Simon, they really were working so hard!!  But it was all worth the effort, I think we have sown many seeds in the hearts of the children and encouraged them to believe in themselves!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Amun week- Day of forgiveness

This morning Dominique taught us about forgiveness. It was a good teaching with clear principles and Dominique gave a testimony of her own life. If you are not ready to forgive, you will hurt yourself, you will become bitter and it even can give physical complains. Many of the children are still thinking about their biological mothers, why did she gave her/him this HIV virus?? Many of the children are still suffering under the stigma of being HIV+, still forgiveness is the key........ 
That came also very clearly out of the testimony of the next speaker: Madam Nakassi. She is a lady we know out of one of the villages. She has a testimony that will not keep your eyes dry! She has been gang raped for three times, on different occasions, she was also infected by HIV/AIDS as a result of the rape. This lady went through hell, everybody rejected her and she got serious health problems. The change in her life came when she started to ask for help, she started to forgive the people who had hurted her and stopped to have selfpity. She is an amazing lady! Her story touched everybody and also the fact that she can help others with sharing her story!! It was a good day, tomorrow we are to say goodbye to them all, peace will be back  in Amecet, but we can look back on a very good week and we will miss them all!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Amun week - Familyday.

Today it was Family day. It was the first time we did this. We want to work more together with the relatives of the children. We invited all the relatives of the Amun week children to come for one day to our our Amun Family day. I think, it was a success, from around 35 children (of the 48) came the relatives today to Amecet.
 The relatives came a little late, so we were waiting for them, no problem for the children... Some music on and they were dancing and having lots of fun.When some relatives arrived, they were taken by the child for breakfast (tea and bread) and the rest was dancing while waiting.
We had an extra tent for today, and slowly the tents filled up.
 Madam Adongo came to speak about children rights and the people could ask questions to her.
And Jane Orem shared about Family life, how to get along together, more talking together, more time spending as a family together.  
Several people stood up and gave  a testimony, this is the grandmother of Christopher. This was so special, Christopher came to Amecet in 2003, has been very, very sick and now he just graduated from P7, is taller than his grandmother. So goods to see how proud she is of her grandson.
Dinah with her mother, the mother has been very sick and also Dinah was so sick, that we even feared for her life. Now she also graduated from P7 and she is a beautiful young lady!
Emmanuel and his sister.
And of course there is food.... First the parents and than we, the rest.

We can look back on a very busy day, but I think the relationships with the families of the children will benefit from this day. And it was great to see the children interact with their relatives. Tomorrow the last day of the Amun week... 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Amun week- Day 4 and 5.

 This morning, we started with singing and meditation. This time they were all reflecting on a Bible scripture by themself. It was nice to see them all sitting around in the garden, reading and praying.
Yesterday Simon and Bernard (in the picture) started the day with a teaching about basic communication skills. It was fun with a lot of interaction.
Then, after the tea break, Sam Abuku gave a teaching about seeing your potential, making plans for the future. It was a good and challenging message. In the afternoon they talked about it in their different age groups. 
 Today, Julius and I taught about relation ships, what is important to keep relationships working and growing. And after the tea break, Andrew spoke about adolesence and the changes that it brings to the body, when you get older. There were two small films and in age and gender groups we talked about boy friends and girl friends. It was a full day, so this afternoon we gave free, to relax and do some laundry.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Amun week- Day 3

 At 5.30 am Amun house is busy with everywhere children waking up and trying to organise themselves and breakfast is at 7 am. At 8.30 we begin in the tent with praise and worship and than a time of meditation. The teaching starts at 9 am.
Today I was the one to teach, about HIV/AIDS and ARVs. When you are standing in front of this group of 45 HIV+ children, who are all on the ARV medicines, then I really feel for them. They know where I am talking about. I tried to explain what the HIV virus does in their blood and why ARV's are so very important. I try to make it easy to understand and hopefully it stimulate them to take their ARVs with more care. When I talked about ARV's I took some time to remember the three children who passed away this year. Children from their group, last year they were there, it was very hard for them to take in. Several children cried, it is the reality, two of the three, got sick because of not taking their ARVs regular. I don't want to scare them, but it is the reality!
We watched a small movie about ARVs, you can see they are very concentrated.
In the afternoon they went into 3 groups (according their age) and they had a time of sharing and evaluating the morning teachings. They had really understood it and it was also good to share in the small group about the 3 children who passed away this year.
Then the games, it is so good to see them all participating, the big ones made most of the noise!!!!
This is a game in small groups. We are so thankful for this beautiful garden en place!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Amun week- I AM CHOSEN.

We have a very full house!! It is again Amun week. Two years ago we celebrated our 10 years anniversary and we had invited over 50 children for 3 days to celebrate with us. All these children had been living with us for a period of time during those 10 years. It was such a success, we decided to do it every year, but then with the purpose to encourage and train them. We invited last year 45 children who are all HIV+ and who have been living with us, this year we have 48 children in the Amun week. We want to encourage them, train them to live positive, encourage them to keep taking their ARV's and to listen to their testimonies. They are also excited to see each other again, they all come from different villages, they are very excited to be here. It was not an easy thing to organise, we have been meeting for weeks and we have help from some YWAM staff from the Soroti base. Today we started with a Sunday morning service. We hired a tent and put it in the garden of our Amun house.
Our Amecet staff is wonderful, they are really so supportive. Here on this picture they are sorting the rice. We buy rice in a big sack and you have to sort it, there are stones in and other things you would not like in your food. To sort rice for 70 people is a big job!!! 

Then the cooking....We have very big pots, which do not fit on our clay charcoal stove, so we do the big pots on firewood. Loyce is lightening the fire here. 

But the food was nice and everybody ate a lot!!

This is the singing during the Sunday service. We have a theme for the whole week, from 1 Peter 2:9 and 10 : I AM CHOSEN. This time we made purple T-shirts and the theme is printed on the back.
Most of the children sleep in Amun home, some in Amecet, but Amecet is also quite full and has to operate as normal. We have a lot of baby's, even this evening, while I was writing this blog, Janneke called me that there was a man at the gate of Amecet, who found a baby on the street. She had send him to the police and 30 minutes later, the police came, with the man and the baby, if we could take the baby in. Tomorrow they would start looking for the mother. Some people asked me how the baby Sabine is doing, we have been very unsure this week if she would make it, you just saw her getting weaker and weaker, but since two days we have some hope, she gained some grams, she didn't need IV fluids and sometimes she is drinking a bit herself (we feed her by NG tube). So keep praying for her! Also some asked how Doreen is doing with her baby, she doing well, is giving breastfeeding, she is struggling with her arm, she finds it hard to handle the baby, but now she can bath her herself and she loves her!! Here a picture from me, Doreen and the little baby Els, it is a real beauty!!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

World Aids day 2013

We stood still as an Amecet family, by World Aids day. It has been a tradition, we have done it now for many years. To me it is an emotional event. We remember the children who died this last year, we light a candle for each child and several staff members share about a particular child. 
 This year we lost 7 children, not all because of HIV, but sometimes they are still very little baby's and we couldn't test them yet. So we just remember them all. Like baby Peter, who died in Jan.2013, he was only 4 days old. Or Fiona, who was 12 years old when she passed away in July. Fiona was so sick and her body just gave up. Baby Anna, whose stomach was so swollen, she had so much pain. We also remembered William, who died recently after his operation, he was only 7 weeks old.
Esther, one of our staff, light the candle for Christine, she also died recently, after a very difficult and lonely time.
 After the serious time we also thank God for the life we see in many children. At the moment we have quite a full house and God is blessing us and He also entrust us with the care of the children. There were soda's and cake!!
We toast on LIFE!!!!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A busy day for Sabina (and us).

Sabina (the baby from yesterdays blog) is doing much better. During the night the diarrhea stopped, but we were still worried about the breathing. Very fast and difficult, we used our saturation meter and she didn't need any oxygen. The pediatrician from Soroti hospital, Dr. Florence, came in the morning to see her. She checked the lungs and couldn't give an explanation for the difficulty in the breathing. We had to put her back on a slow IV drip, she was still dehydrated, continue with the IV medication and when she was a bit stronger , in the afternoon, try to get a chest X-ray, a scan from the heart and a HIV test done. So after some hours of IV fluids and her IV medication, I took her to the neighbour clinic for the X-ray and the blood test. After that Janneke and I went together to the hospital to the doctor for the ultra sound of the heart. I had called the doctor first, to see if he was there and we didn't have to wait long with this little girl. The scan showed that there was a small hole in the heart between the left and the right side. That is why the breathing was so fast. With the report we drove to the clinic of Doctor Florence and she prescribed some extra heart medication. She feels that the hole can close by itself, in time. When the infections are over, she will pick up and get stronger. I think that Sabina will be in Amecet for quite a wile, her home situation is too harsh for her.
 Here we come back from the doctor, at least we can laugh again!!!
Maybe you think we have only baby's, yes, sometimes we have only baby's, but not at the moment!! Auntie Janneke 2 has always a lot of fun with the bigger children, she is really good in stimulating them to draw, count, read and paint! Left is Gipas, it is so nice to see him smiling and playing!! Today we got even two more little boys via the police. Both were brought because of problems at home and they were in need of a safe place. After a shower they loved to play and I hope they forgot their problems a bit.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Please pray for Sabina.

 This is a picture I took this afternoon from Sabina, the baby I wrote about in the previous blog. She is very sick at this time. She had not been drinking well since she came, she is now 3 weeks old and her weight is 2.2 kg. She started to get diarrhea, so we went to the doctor on Sunday and she had to be put on Iv drip and IV antibiotics. Today we didn't like the way she looked, so we went to the pediatrician from the hospital. She told us to put her back on drip and change the IV medication. We did, but this afternoon the breathing changed, we had to put her on oxygen as well. I am so happy that Janneke is here, she is now in charge of the medical side of the children. Since I am not living at Amecet anymore she is really an answer to prayers. So I don't have to go in the night back to Amecet, she just called me, Sabina is a bit more comfortable, but is still in critical condition! Please pray for her, it is such a beautiful little girl! Pray also for Janneke, she is still settling in and then directly such a critical baby is not easy. 
African baby's are so beautiful!! This is Emmanuel, he was born last night, but his mother started to bleed after the delivery and in a short moment, she passed away. Very sad, she was only 18 years old.
Emmanuel is brought to us, till the father has got a bit over his shock and the family knows who will care for this little boy.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Moses went out and Sabina came in!

Moses was picked by his auntie today. He is the baby on the picture with Sarah, on the blog from yesterday. We explained all the medication and I think the aunt understood. We will go and visit them soon in the village, to see how it goes.

 Today a new baby arrived! It was a little girl, she was brought by her sister of 16 years and the probation officer from Kotido. That is a district in the North. The population is there mostly Karomajong, it is a tribe which lives as nomads. They are very poor and they live mostly from their cows. Both of the parents died this year. The mother passed away after giving birth, the father died 8 months ago.The 8 children are now on their own, the oldest girl is 18. The sister was wearing the tradional clothes and was wearing many bracelets around her arms and legs. She also had the decoration on her face. It is a sign of beauty. She told me that it is cut with a razorblade and safetypins.
The little baby is called Sabina (after the social worker) She weighs 2,4 kg and is 2 weeks old. She looks healthy, just a bit small. 
This is our new leaders team of Amecet! At the front (left) sits Elias, then clockwise: Simon, Els, Janneke and Dominique. We all have a heart for children and we see that Amecet can really do something for children who are in trouble. I feel we are a good team and I I appreciate each one of my team members. I am looking forward to see what God wants to do with and through us.
It is going good with Doreen and her baby, we could take her back to Amecet on Friday. At first the baby kept on loosing weight, but since two days the baby is gaining again. It is not easy for Doreen, it is hard to handle her baby with one disabled arm and only 3 fingers at het other arm (hand). But she loves her baby and the feeding is going better and better. She needs still a lot of help with bathing and handeling her baby. She also gave the baby the name: Akello Else.....