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, September 30, 2013

William has been operated today.

This morning at 9 am, Barbara and I were at the hospital with William.We had some problems with him during the weekend. He didn't drink much and we couldn't give him by IV, because the cannula didn't work anymore. Barbara had taken him to the clinic for a new cannula, but they couldn't find a vein. They tried twice for a hour, but didn't succeed. He was feed every 30 minutes 15 ml. That stayed in. When the doctor saw him, we expected him to book us for the operation the next day, but he said he wanted to operate him that same day, and not wait another day!
 So we were admitted in the the hospital, they found a vein on his head, so they gave him some fluids before they would operate. Here you see Barbara in the ward, at the background the doctors do their big ward round, it was quite interesting to observe!
After some time, we were told to take him to the building where the theatre is and when the doctors were ready, he was laid on the operation table. I found it scary, such a small boy and all those machines... 
 Barbara was allowed to be present and observe the operation, but she had to put on the operation gear...
While they were operating William, I went back to Amecet to bring Alice to the doctor and to check if every thing was okay in Amecet.
When I came back, they were just finished, 1,5 hour later. They brought him out, he was a bit cold, from laying on the operating table and he needed blood transfusion. The told us to take William to the children ward. There we got a small space and William got his blood transfusion and other medicines. We had contacted William's father again and he was there, together with Moses, the older brother of William. Moses is a teacher and he and his father will be with William during the nights. William is doing well, after the blood transfusion and the extra blankets, he was looking good. He was still sucking away at his dummy.
We are very grateful that all went well, the doctor told us that he had made a bypass from the small intestines to the colon. There was a kind of tumor, which blocked the way. They couldn't take out the tumor, William's condition was too vulnerable, but for now this will help him. Tomorrow morning we will go and see him, we hope that he can be taken back to Amecet in a couple of days.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Waiting and waiting..........

At 10 am yesterday morning, Barbara and I were at the hospital. We knocked at the door of the theatre, where they operate from. They told us to wait, the doctor wasn't there yet. We were first standing, holding William, we were hanging around the door where you see the wheelchairs standing. Then, some people brought a wooden bench, so we could sitg. I was happy about that, because we have waited for 3 hours. You see Barbara sitting with William. William was fair, he had been on IV fluids and no more oral drinks. He was just sucking his dummy and sleeping. The father and the older brother of William had arrived as wel. The father came Thursday for a visit and we could explain everything to him, we asked if he could organise a attendance to be with William after the operation in the hospital. We will be there a lot, but it seemed good to us that the family is involved. After 3 hours waiting, I was called to see the surgeon, he told me that it was impossible to operate, there was no water and no electricity in the hospital. They do have a generator, but the little fuel was kept for emergency's. We have to come back Monday morning and will be booked for Tuesday morning operation schedule. We were not happy!!!! I explained to the father and the brother that it was re-scheduled on Tuesdayand they left. back to the village..
We started to feed William again, 10 ml every 30 minutes. And we hope and pray it will go well until Tuesday.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

William needs an operation..

Yesterday, we got again quite concerned about William. I am in a YWAM leadership training, this week, but the training is held in our Amun house, so that is nearby. There are YWAM leaders from the whole of Uganda and South Sudan here in Sororti for this training. Barbara asked me to look to William's tummy, she felt that it was more swollen. I agreed with her and I advised her to take him to Dr. Engulu, next door clinic. When I came back after some time from the training to check, I heard that they were referred to do another scan on him. I called the doctor in the hospital who was supposed to be there that day and we could come directly. He first did an ultra sound on his tummy, but could not see much, a lot of gas, he then wanted us to make an X-ray.
I had to hold William at his shoulders, while they made the X-ray. As you can see on the picture, it was scary, but I didn't drop him!!!!
The Xray also didn't show what was wrong, so then the doctor wanted an X-ray with a white fluid in his large intestines.

The doctor puts the fluid in by a catheter and then we hold him together, while the X-ray was made, they looked at it and then decided to make another one, so again the fluid in and again the X-ray. William did so well, he cried a little but was sucking on his dummy the whole time. I was proud on our little man!
As you see it was a very special dummy!!!
The doctor said there was a mechanical obstruction, partly, because he was still passing some stool. But it was too high in the large intestines to see it on his X-rays. He referred us to the surgeon.

So today we went to see the surgeon, I had checked and they told us to come at 8.30 am to his clinic. Barbara, William and I were there at 8.30 am. There was no electricity, so the generator made a lot of noise, he couldn't hear well the bowel sounds. We had to come to the hospital at 11 am, there he would take another look (and listen!) and then he would decide. So at 11 am we were at the hospital and the doctor had a good look at him. Yes, he needs to be operated tomorrow, the longer we wait, the harder will the operation be. He is booked in the ward, he has to be admitted for that, but we could take him home and prepare him from Amecet and come with him tomorrow at 10 am. He is back on IV fluids only, no oral feedings and we pray that he will be better after that. Something had to be done, we could not go on for ever, there was no improvement, he was not getting worse, but he has not gained anything in 4 weeks!!! He is still his 2.2 kg. Please pray for this little fighter, he is so small and not so strong. I'll keep you informed.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Last farewell to Betty Alwalo

This morning a visitor came to Amecet at 8 am. It was the brother of Betty Alwalo, he had very bad news. Last night Betty passed away in the Health centre. She was very okay, but on Thursday night she got a headache, they took her to the health centre and she got treatment. The next day it was worse, they went to a local clinic nearby,and were send to the bigger Health centre in Serere, she was admitted and put on IV fluids and medicines, but on Sunday night she died....
Betty has been in Amecet and later in Amun for a total of 13 months. She was HIV+ and got her ARV's medicines. She was a bit weak in the beginning, but after her stay in Amecet and Amun she was really changed, it had a result in her relationships at home, like if people did appreciated her more. Things were going well with her. She was a sweet girl, with a beautiful smile, especially Arja, who was leading Amun home with her husband Ton, loved her so much.
The brother asked for help for the coffin which we gave, he took the coffin on the back of the motor cycle to their home. Simon and I went in the afternoon, for the burial.
It has something beautiful, the (blue) coffin stands under the mango tree on the compound of their home. Everybody sits around it, speakers are talking about Betty, but also how to use the pump at the borehole, so that it will not breakdown so fast and the youth is warned not to go to video halls and people should not drink too much. Halfway the petrol for the generator was finished, someone jumps on a motorbike to get some new petrol. Simon and I were also invited to say something, how we knew Betty.
Betty was loved, many people cried, there were a lot of classmates at the burial, they were all in tears. Together we brought her to her last resting place! One thing is sure, she will sing in the choir in Heaven, she always loved to sing.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Baby stories...

I have been writing a lot about William, the last week not, because he was doing well, he was drinking and pooping, the only worry we had is that he was not gaining, but we thought that he needed some time after all he went through. We changed his milk formula into premature formula...But today it was not going good with him, he started to vomit, only drank 20 ml per feeding and for a child of 6 weeks, it is not enough.  And the colour of the vomit looked again like poo poo. The good thing is that he is still pooping good. But he didn´t look well, we took him to the clinic next door and they told us to put him on IV fluids again, they worked hard to get a cannula in. We don´t know what to do now, we really thought he would do better now. Please stand with us in prayer for this little man of 2,2 kg.
Then we got a new baby today, a little girl, she was born this morning at 7 am. at home in the village. But the placenta didn´t want to come out, so they went on a motor cycle the mother in the middle to the health centre. When they arrived at the health centre, they discovered that the mother had died on the way. So sad.... It is a little girl, weighing 3 kg. she will be staying with us for 2 months, in that time the family will take care of her.  
This is the new baby, I took her to the clinic next door, to let her check and they retied the cord, it was only tied once with a banana fiber. While they were doing that, I saw a new born baby laying in the corner of the room. The mother had just given birth and the placenta didn´t come out, they transported the mother to the main hospital. there was panic and they left the baby behind. The poor baby was screaming, I covered her and I hope the mother will be okay. I have seen again today, that giving birth is a risky business.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A week full of stories...

I have been a bit quiet on our blog, it is due to problems with Internet. Often I write the blogs in the evenings, but now I am living in our own home, I couldn't do that. I do not have Internet there, I bought a little stick, where you can load Internet on, it should work, but it hasn't until now. In Amecet we are shifting the office into a bigger room, so the Internet is out there as well. They are working at it, so it should work soon. And at home... I hope I can find a better solution, because Internet is very nice and handy....
On Monday I went with Simon to the hospital, on Friday a baby was born premature and the parents wanted to bring the baby to Amecet, because it was so small. Simon went back with them on Saturday and discovered that the main reason that they wanted the baby to be in Amecet, was that they wanted to abandon the baby. Even the police was called, the mother didn't want to breast feed and they talked to her and the baby stayed in the incubator, with the mother at the side to give breast feeding. On Monday I went, together with Simon to look how they were doing. There were three baby's in the incubator (see picture) in the middle was our small, 1,2 kg. baby. I talked with the mother, try to encourage her,(she was only 18 years old) see if they needed any medicines and Simon talked with the boyfriend of the mother, who was not the father of the baby. It was a bit of a mess. The next day, I went back to the hospital, with Barbara, the Dutch nurse. We looked at the papers of the baby, we saw some thing we were not happy with, we couldn't see if the baby got all his IV injections, the mother didn't know what he got. But what could we do?? Ask the nurse, who was extremely busy, she would ask the doctor... The next morning, the boyfriend came to Amecet, the baby had died, if we could help with the burial. That was now the next problem... the boyfriend was not the father, his family didn't allow the baby to be buried in their land, the real biological father had ran away and the mother had ran away from home and had no contact with her parents. Simon went with them to the police and they came with them to the village, the home of the mother. The police came with them in case the family refused to bury the baby in their land. Simon told us later that they did not refuse, but the mother of the baby had a very bad reputation at home, confirmed by the neighbours. A sad story, for all party's.
On Wednesday we brought Mary Ikuret back to the village, she is standing on this picture, next to the tree. Mary has been twice in Amecet. We resettled her in July 2012, back to her grandmother. It was not the ideal situation, but we thought that it would work. Mary was still on our Harmony primary school, we still had contact  with her and her grandmother. But we noticed that she was often too late for the school bus and then she had to walk a long way, arriving at school very late. We changed her to a school nearby her home. At first it seem to work, but then we started to see her in town, and sometimes she still came to Harmony school. She often walked together with two smaller cousins (3+5 years). Elias has been talking to the grandmother and together they travelled to Katakwi, to talk with the family if there was a possibility to come back to the village. That was going to be done in the holidays, so she could start the school in the village after the holidays. But then it seems to go worse with Mary, they were stealing food, were beaten by the owners of the food. Then she was lost for 2 weeks. We did radio messages, until this week, they were seen, helping someone in a restaurant, washing the plates. Simon, the grandmother and the police went to get them, that night they slept in Amecet and Elias took them to Katakwi the next day! They were welcomed by the uncles and we think this is a better place, we hope and pray that Mary will settle down, I had to go to the hospital for new ARV's and explain what has happen and ask for a referral letter to Katakwi health centre. I pray she will take her medicines, her uncle's promise to help her with that.
Friday we got an invitation to join the closure of the week of the Deaf... The last years there is a much more attention and help going toward the disabled, the blind and the deaf people in Uganda. They get help on several ways and there are also disabled people in the Parliament, who are fighting for the the right s of the disabled people. There was a week of activities and this time it all happened in Soroti. Friday was a big day of celebration and President Museveni was suppose to come, but he send his minister of Parliament instead. There were speeches, dances and songs. everything was translated into sign language, there was even a speech in sign language, which was translated into English.
It was very interesting to see people dancing on very simple wheelchairs, there was a dance, done by deaf people, on music. Good to see the development in Uganda in this area.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Personal Move....

Yesterday we moved to our own home!! I have been living in the Amecet compound. A small house, but nice and comfortable. Only my family has grown, and for 5 people it really got too small. Mary and Sarah need space to study, Helen and Catherine to play and then I also need some personal space!  I bought a piece of land, just outside Soroti and started to build a home for us. My parents both passed away, while I was here in Uganda and we got some little money, which I used to build our new home. It seems to be good for the girls to live outside Amecet. They have all lived in Amecet and they do love the baby's, but it is time to be more like a family. Yesterday was the big move, we had already brought many things there, we were just waiting for the electricity to be connected. 

The moving out was organised by Simon and some of the staff. While we were moving the last things to our new home, they cooked a meal and we had some speeches and gifts.
Simon was holding a speech and I felt really blessed by everybody who came, even the ones who were free that day, or had a night shift were present.
Here I, officially, hand over the responsibility to Esther. I will be still with Amecet, but in the evening or night, I will not be there, so Esther is willing to take over in case there are decisions to be made. Of course she can call me, but I can't come at night and leave my girls alone.

 Then we all went in two vehicles to our new home. I received two small palm trees and the people who live in Amecet n'ainapakin home planted one,
while the people who live in Amecet n'amun, planted the second one. Here Auntie Grace the cook, got her turn with the hoe. 
 They prayed for our home and for a smooth settling in!
After a busy day it is nice to rest! Catherine is now in a new BIG bed, she is very proud of that. And even got new sheets from Aunti Anneke!  
This was a more personal blog, today. But it has all to do with Amecet. I feel blessed with the staff and the support I receive from them. For the five of us, a new chapter starts, we are all excited about our new home, but we do also miss Amecet a bit. I am coming to work there during the days, while before I lived there and was always involved in everything. We think it is right, but not easy.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Important visitors came to Amecet

We got high visitors today in Amecet. We got the Chief Judge and the Resident Judge from the High Court visiting us. They came together with The Regional (East Uganda) Police commander, the Regional Police Spokes person, Regional Crime Intelligent Officer, Regional Army Commander, State attorney, and a person who works for " Justice for Children" and someone from National Television.
They had heard about us and they all have to do with children within their work. They wanted to see the place, inspect and ask some questions. At first we showed a part of our film and I told them what we do and which children we get and how we help. After some questions they wanted to see the rooms, toilets etc.
 Here they look at our "Wall of fame" and asked about some children. 
We walked through the rooms and told them some of the stories of the children
The Judge wanted to see some records and statistics.
It was a good visit, they told us that they had seen the home from the road, but that they had no idea what was all going on inside. They never thought that something like this could be found in Soroti!
But it is there!!!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Saying goodbye is always a bit painful..

Today we said goodbye to baby Rose! Two months ago we were called by Soroti hospital, there was a very sick mother with small baby of two months old. If we could help??? I drove to the hospital and the situation was not good. The mother could still talk and she was very grateful that we wanted to care for her child. Rose also had to be tested for HIV, she was at risk. We did that and the first DNA test came back negative, so that is really good. She also gained 1,5 kg. and she got a stand-in mother in Mary for the time she was in Amecet. Mary will miss her a lot, but a child need to be with the mother, so Mary was happy to hand Rose back to her real mother. We will still see them on  our "Come back" days. We pray that all will go well with the two of them!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A busy Saturday...

It has been very busy, these last days. In the last blog I wrote about a 15 years old girl, who was brought by the police. She is resettled back to her mother, together with the Probation office and the Police. But the other 15 year old girl has arrived. She is pregnant and her boyfriend tried to kill her, to wipe away the evidence. She was cut badly by a panga, but she survived narrowly. Her left arm is paralysed, by the cuts in her shoulder and from the right hand she misses two fingers. She has scars all over her body and she is very traumatised. The Police asked us to care for her during her last months of her pregnancy, they fear for the baby and also for the mother. They live deep in the village, far from the health centre. We took her to the doctor, for check up and ultra sound. To see how old the baby is and if everything is okay with the baby. The expected due date is on November 10, the baby is fine, but very small. The mother has typhoid, so we are treating her for that. The problem is also the language barrier. She speaks only Kumam, in Amecet 4 staff speak this language, she is very "emotion less" a bit if nothing doesn't matter anymore. Yesterday I bought a dress for her and I got a very faint smile.It needs time, but I pray she will open up and start the emotional healing, the physical healing is going on, as you see the at the scars on the picture. We will also take her to the physiotherapy office in Soroti hospital, to see if we can help her with her left arm. It makes me so angry, when I see this girl, how can the father of this unborn baby do this???
Just now, as I am writing this, I was called to the veranda. The Probation officer was there with a lady, carrying a sick baby, she came walking from Orungo to town. Looking for help for her child. Orungo is at least 50 km from Soroti!! I brought her to our neighbouring clinic, in the hospital is it very hard to get a doctor on Saturday. I feel for this lady!
But we do have good news as well! William is doing very good, we started to give him milk, slowly, we began with 5 ml. per hour. There was no vomiting and normal stools (without blood). We are so happy, we almost fight to give him the bottle!!!  I was the lucky one here on the picture!

The father came to visit William this morning, together with the 11 year old sister of William. They were so happy to see him so much better. And also for us, to see their joy about the little man! It is all worth the struggle!

The family of Martin came to pick him today. The mother had died after giving birth, the father is very young, but the grandmother will help with the baby.  Moses, who left Amecet 2 weeks ago, came back. We had called the family, because we got only yesterday the result of the blood test. And now we know that this beautiful boy is HIV+. So sad, we have to go with him to the HIV clinic and he will start his ARV medicines. It would be better when we do that in Amecet, when he is stable with the medicines, he will go back to his family. It was nice to see him again, but we are very sad that he is HIV+.
We are now waiting for the teenagers, coming back from Jinja. Together with our staff Elias, they went to Jinja for a continuation of their Ang Tulay training. Via the telephone I have heard very nice stories, it will be great to see them again.
So is was again a busy Saturday!!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

William and some Police calls....

We have still worries about William. Barbara (the Dutch nurse) and me were really a bit desperate, when he started to vomit poop again. The doctor asked us to go to a clinic to make a scan and a X-ray again, not much came out of this. Then he started to loose blood when he pooped. The doctor came again and we had to do a blood transfusion, we did that all yesterday. And today..... we got a Poop explosion!!! I think it is so important that I had to put this picture in the blog! We are so happy with it!! The doctor advised us to start to feed him again. For almost one week he only got IV fluids, he really enjoys the 5 ml. milk we give him every hour! Until now he hasn't vomit yet! Please pray for him, these coming days are very important.

We had today a very busy day. William was stable and in the morning we went to the hospital with 4 baby's. For immunization and I also had to get for some other children ARV medicines. We also had a new girl in Amecet, she came via the Police, she is 15 years and was living with two guys in town. She came from the village. Simon had to go with her to the police again and there were statements written down. We also got Margaret, from the YWAM base, coming to counsel her, it was better to do that in her language and by a woman. Then we got another call from the police that there is another girl from 14 years old, who is pregnant and her boyfriend tried to kill her. She has many scars and she even lost two fingers in that attempt. She lives in the village and she needs medical attention. In the past we have cared for Susan, a twelve year old girl who got her baby, while staying in Amecet. We talked about it and we feel to let her come. Margaret is willing to come and counsel her. We expect her tomorrow.
Then this afternoon... we got another call from the police. There was a lady who gave birth to a baby, two days ago. The mother has a mental problem, she has no home, she is not from this area and she tried to feed the two days old baby sweet potato. They were afraid for the well being of the baby. The lady is aggressive and wild. Together with Barbara, Simon and the Local Counselor from that area and me, we drove to the place. The lady was not willing to listen to the counselor or anyone, she was staying in a hut on some one's compound. The hut had a leaking roof and it was very dirty. There were several neighbours standing outside the hut.
The lady was shouting and wild. I went inside and greeted her. She smiled and was very happy to see me. She spoke good English and I asked her about her baby. She had given birth in the dirty hut and was all alone that time. I asked her if I could hold her baby and she gave me the baby directly (while they had told me that nobody was allowed to touch the baby). I was encouraged and tried to talk with her about her own family or what her native language was, but on that she didn't answer. The baby looked good, the cord looked good, but the baby was very small. We talked about breastfeeding and I asked if I could take the baby to the doctor and for immunization.  
  But she didn't want that, I asked the name of the baby, and she said that the baby was called Rose Mark, so I think Mark will be good, since it is a little boy. He looks beautiful, but he does need better care. We left the lady, but the neighbours and the counsellors will try later to get the baby form the mother. I pray it will not rain tonight, because the roof leaks very bad. So it was a busy day and certainly not a boring one!!!!