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, August 31, 2013

A busy week...

In my last blog I wrote about William and how excited we were that he was pooping again, however, things are not going well with him, yes, he started to drink again, but on Thursday it went worse again. We had to put him back on IV fluids and stop all oral feeding, he is vomiting poop again. And he is also still pooping a bit. The doctor came again and we have to just observe, he is still on IV medication. He has pain, cries a lot and we can't do much for him. We really feel sad about him, but we don't give up! So please stand with us in prayers.
Then, at the same time we have 31 people staying in our Amun home. 10 youth came from Jinja to join, 13 youth from Soroti and 7 staff members. They are doing a training as youth leaders and they have had a wonderful week. The two groups of youth blended in so well, they all became good friends. And for me it is such an encouragement. Look at the picture above, are they not beautiful people?? This are not the leaders of tomorrow, but already of TODAY! This are all youth who have been living in Amecet, and later in Amun home. They are all going to school and they believe in themselves! When they came into our Amecet home, they were sick, hurt and rejected, but with God's help and the commitment of our staff and later the loving care of Ton and Arja in Amun, they became young people who will take their place in the Ugandan community! Tomorrow they will leave , together with our staff Elias, to Jinja, for the second week of the training.
Simon and I went this week to a three day workshop. It was organised by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. It was all about the regulation of children homes and alternative care of vulnerable children. It was a very good and interesting teaching. The Ugandan government wants to regulate all the children's homes in Uganda, There are many of them and they are not all working with the right motives. Some homes are closed by the government. They are going more towards Kinship care and foster care instead of having children for many years in an institution. It was very challenging and we have seen several points we have to work more on. The children deserve the best and it is our responsibility to do our best! We have to do more in tracing their family and in follow up when they have been resettled. The good news is that we heard that our Amecet home is approved and we get our certificate. It is laying on the desk of the Minister to be signed! We are on the right track and that is also an encouragement to us! But there is still so much to be done, so we go on with fresh motivation!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

William pooped and Full House in Amun!

I start with exciting news about William, he has pooped a little on his own!!He also stopped vomiting stools! We are very happy with that. We still don't feed him, he still gets fluids via the IV line, but there is progress! Dr. Florence came today to Amecet to see him and she was also content with the progress. It is so good that the pediatrician wants to come to our house to see this little sick boy. Thank you for your prayers for the little man.
We got today many people arriving in Amecet, I have written in the past about Ang Tulay programme. It is a programme developed in the Philippines, in English it is called "the Bridge" and it helps, in several steps, to handle pain, lost and rejection on a better, a Godly way. We have done the first week in 2010, we had invited all our bigger children, who have been in Amecet in the past, to be part of this week. All our children have been experiencing pain and rejection, most of them are orphans, they lost their parents. It was a success. There is a second week, which is more training to become a leader, to help others, I went through it myself in June 2013, it was really good. Today we started a very special week, for youth leaders. And we invited 13 of our older children, most of them are in secondary school, they all have been with us in Amecet and later in Amun home, together with 11 youth, coming from Jinja. They will all go through a week of learning together, learning about themselves and how Jesus sees them. Amun is Full House this week, they just fit  and we will use our pre-school for the training sessions. 
Our veranda was also full when they all  came to eat supper. It was great to see our Amecet children again. And they were happy to see each other. They all do well and their health is good.
                                                    And of course, after eating we sing!!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Worries about William.

We have big worries about  William, his tummy is swollen and not much stool is coming out. He doesn't drink and he started to vomit brown fluid, which looks like stools. There are still bowel sounds and there is still some stool passing the normal way. The last 3 days we have been every day  to the doctor with him. This morning we decided to go to Dr. Florence, the pediatrician, she examined him and we had to take him to another clinic to do an ultra sound. There was a kind of obstruction, but they couldn't say where. We went back to the pediatrician, she send us to the surgeon in the main hospital, he looked at William and wanted an abdominal X-ray, back to the clinic and after the X-ray was taken, back, with the X-ray to the surgeon. On the X-ray was no obstruction seen. The doctor thinks that the infection in his intestines paralyses the intestines and that is why only a little bit stools come trough. We have to give him several antibiotics by IV and stop all the feeding by mouth, put him on IV fluids and observe until tomorrow. On the picture above you can see the stools he has vomited, we keep the NG tube in to empty his stomach from time to time. On the picture below, Barbara (a Dutch nurse who is helping us for 10 weeks) gives William his IV medication.
It is so sad to see this little 12 days old boy, suffer so much. We have called his father and he came to see him this morning. we explained him what was going on, he told us that he is grateful for our help and that we can only pray!

We try all we can and we pray!!!!!


The first celebration started this morning early, Helen celebrates her 8th birthday today!! She came as a little tiny, sick baby of 12 days old in Amecet. Now she is 8 years old, doing well in school (P2) and is part of my little family.
Helen I pray for many good years and thank you for making our life so colorful!!! I love you!
The second celebration is the school holiday! This morning they all came to school to receive their reports. On this picture they are standing in their respective class cue. The teachers are giving all kind of good advice about how to spend the vacation wisely. After that they received their reports and their holidays started!! This school is also part of Youth With A Mission, together with our Pre school.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Catherine has school holidays..

 Catherine got her first assessment!! She is three years old and went this term for the first time to Baby class. She loves it and knows already many songs.
The most she likes the sticker, she got on her assessment, everybody has to see her sticker, she is very proud of it. This week the school holidays start, this time it will be three weeks. The pre-school stopped today, the primary school has Friday their last day.
The secondary schools closed last week.
We have some worries about William, I wrote about him in the last two blogs. His tummy is swollen and hard.We took him to the doctor. We got some medicines and try to help William to poop. He is not well and cries a lot and he is not drinking good. William is only 9 days old, but we do think that he is a premature baby.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Greetings from Lazaro and 6 kg. baby's...

 Greetings from Lazaro, he is known in Amecet, we got him in our home in 2009. He was that time very malnourished and sick. He has the brickle bone disease. His arms and legs are very deformed, because of the sickness and the broken bones he has had. We went to the village to visit another family and stopped at the home of Lazaro. He is healthy, much stronger than he was before, but he has of course, still this awful brickle bone disease. He is very small for his age, he is now 5 years old, but he looks 2 years old. The family looks after him and they seem to be happy. You feel so helpless sometimes, you can't do much for them.
We have three newborn baby's in Amecet, together they weigh just over 6 kg!! At the right I am carrying Grace, she is the oldest, born on 7th of August, then in the middle William, he was born on the 12th of August, I wrote about him in the last blog and at the left Agnes, she was brought yesterday, she is also born on the 12th of August. Agnes has still problems with drinking, we feed her every two hours. The other two are doing a bit better, but still they need a lot of care. They all three lost their mother just after the delivery, three little baby's with a difficult start.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A tough start for baby William..

The mother of William was admitted in the health centre for 2 days. Last night the labour started and just after midnight (so this morning) William was born. Everything seemed to be fine, but then shortly after the delivery the mother started to bleed. The nurse wanted the mother to be brought to Soroti hospital, no blood transfusions are done in the health centres. They called the driver of the ambulance, to come and bring the family to Soroti. The driver switched of f his phone. They went to the centre of the village to see if there was any vehicle to bring the mother to Soroti. They found a car, but when they woke the owner, they heard that the brakes were not functioning. They found another vehicle, but there was a problem with the battery. They decided to push start the car. The mother was carried in the car and they all left for Soroti. Half way the car broke down, they did manage to get the vehicle going again, but it was too late. When they arrived at the hospital, the mother passed away. The family came with the baby to Amecet, if we could please help...
And here is William, after a bath and a  feeding sleeping in his bed. His weight is 2.2 kg. He seems to be okay. I took him for a check up to the doctor and everything looks fine. The family went back to the hospital, to pick the body of the mother to take back to the village. Tomorrow will be the burial. I am living now for more than 15 years in Africa, but still I get so upset from stories like this. To loose a life so easily. A husband his wife, children their mother. I pray that William will be a blessing for his family!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Three generations: Baby Rose with her Toto and Tata.

On July 12th, we got a letter from Soroti hospital with the question if we could help with baby Rose. The mother was operated and she was not doing well. The grandmother was too busy to look after the baby and the sick mother. We went to the hospital, we could still talk with the mother and she was very relieved that we would care for her baby. We prayed for the mother, because she was really very sick and weak. But she picked up and went home, last week she suddenly came to visit Rose, she was doing much better, but still weak. Today she came again, together with her mother. It was so nice to see them sitting, enjoying the baby. I am so happy for Rose that she still has her Toto (mother) and even her Tata (Grandmother) to care for her when she goes home!!
Friday evening Elias got a phone call from one of the secondary schools where we have some of our older children in boarding school. One of them, Catherine was very sick. Elias went to get her and we brought her to our neighbour's clinic. She was very weak, she was put on IV drip and other medications. On Saturday evening she was discharged  and we took her in Amecet to recover. She was still weak, but this morning she was so much better, she could talk and laugh and eat, like you see on this picture (at the right). She enjoys being with her old friends (Mary and Sarah) and is getting better. We have several of our older children in boarding schools in Soroti. we are still caring for them, we support with the school fees and we help when they are sick. We have good contacts with all of them.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Saying goodbye to Angela and Miriam.

When we take a child into Amecet, we make an agreement with the family. We start with 2 months, when the child is not yet stable to go home after 2 months, we extend this time in agreement with the family. We both sign this agreement. We don't want to keep a child too long in Amecet, the child needs to "bond" with the family and if we keep the children too long in Amecet, we will not have space for new children. We struggle sometimes to bring children back to their relatives, they ask very often if we can keep the child longer, till the baby starts talking or walking. I am quite firm in holding on to our agreement. And sometimes I find that difficult, I feel bad for pushing the child back to the family. But when the child is healthy, gaining and drinking well, why should he/she stay in Amecet? We need always some empty beds, in case that we get emergency's.
Yesterday I was so encouraged, the family came for Angela and I didn't even call them to come!! Angela was taken into Amecet on 5th of June. And they came for her on the 6th of August! The mother of Angela died after giving birth, she was very young, nobody knows who the father is. Her uncle and his wife will take Angela into their family. They have themselves 4 children. They seem to be nice people and I believe that the auntie will love Angela. May God bless this family!
 Then 2 hours later we had another goodbye, Miriam was given to her new adoptive family. I wrote about Miriam on July 9 and July 29. Miriam only stayed one month with us and she is adopted by an Ugandan family. It is so good that more Ugandan family's are willing to help a child who needs a home. There is a procedure and this procedure is getting better, I think. The Probation officer is in charge of this procedure. As Amecet, we only advice and facilitate.
Together with Amos, the Probation officer, I give Miriam to her mother.
Is this not a beautiful picture? They both look so happy,  I pray that Miriam will really feel loved and safe. She is changed so much in this one month that she was in Amecet. She smiles a lot, plays a lot and she walks everywhere. She really gets naughty, she still has some fears for men, but even that is going better. (Elias walked around with her everyday as therapy!)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Amecet assessment.

Last year in May, we got a big group visiting us for a children home assessment, they came from Kampala, from Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. The Government of Uganda is inspecting the children homes to assess them. To make sure that the children are treated well. There is also a lot of child trafficking, so they want to stop that. They looked into several area's like management structure, financial management, Human resources, the child care, the record keeping, health and safety and more. Several months later we received their report (picture) of 24 pages. We had a good score, but we got some advices for improvement on several area's. We have worked on those points, Simon, Elias and me. About a month ago we got again an assessment, they went over all the same area's and we saw also that we had quite improved! We had to wait for the health inspector, who came to check Amecet the following week and with all those new reports we (Simon and me +Helen and Catherine) travelled to Kampala, together with the Probation Officer from Soroti. We presented the reports to the Commissioner of Children affairs and now we just wait for our certificate. 
There is a lot of work in making all those reports, but I see that it is so good to be transparent and following the laws of the country. Especially when it is to do with children. I am happy with the report, of course, there is still room for improvement, but we are on the right track!! I let you know when the certificate is given!!!
The trip to Kampala took two days, that is why I was quiet this week. But the work continues.. Two children went home, to their grandmothers! And three days ago we got a new baby, he is 5 months old. His mother died very unexpectedly and the father needed help, so he can arrange something for this baby. He is very heavy, more than any other baby we have. He weighs 8 kg! Then the following day, the police brought a little girl from about 1 year old. The mother was a stranger in town and was rooming around with the little child, they feared for her health. So they brought the baby to us and try to locate the mother, to get relatives to come and take the girl. We gave her the name Anna, she is so sweet, her weight is 6 kg, so you can see the difference with the 5 month old baby from the day before! She has malaria at the moment, we are treating that. I hope for a good solution for this sweet little girl!