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 29, 2014

Twins, twins, twins and......twins?

Right now, we have 16 baby's in our home, and then I mean BABY'S!!! On top of that we have toddlers and bigger children. Among those 16 baby's are 3 sets of twins!! We mostly put them together in one bed, for the bonding. Twins are mostly getting the same name in Teso, the first born is called Opio (boy) or Apio (girl) and the second born is called Ocen (boy) or Acen (girl).
This are Acen Evelyn and Opio Steven, we separated them when they got a bit bigger. They were constantly kicking each other and waking each other up. Evelyn and Steven came in Amecet when they were two days old. It was for their safety, their mother is mentally sick and she wanted to kill them. They are now almost 6 months old, we have been trying to resettle them in their family, with the grandparents, but it didn't work out, we took them back. But now, finally they are leaving tomorrow (if all goes well)! They are beautiful children, smiling and (baby)talk the whole day. 
Then we have  Apio Mary and Acen Betty, they are now almost 2,5 month old. Their mother died after giving birth. In the beginning they were very sickly and crying, but nowe they do very well. They will go back to their father and sibblings.
Last week we got our last twins, Opio Gabriel and Ocen John, they are only 4 days old, they are drinking wel and we have high hopes for them.
Last week we were asked to come and see a lady in the maternity ward in the hospital. The lady is expecting twins and is 8 months pregnant. The mother is very sick and they don't know if she will make it. She was referred to Mulago hospital in Kampala, maybe they have to induce labour to save the lives of the baby's. If the baby's are well enough to leave the hospital (after delevery) They will probably come to Amecet for some time. A very sad situation. 
So we will have more twins!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A very difficult start for Gabriel and John...

When I drove home today, my phone went, it was the doctor from Soroti hospital. he asked if we could help, a mother, who gave birth through a Cesarean operation had died, leaving two little twin boys behind.
I picked my children and drove back to Amecet, the children stayed there and Janet, one of our staff, went with me to the hospital. We found the grandmother with the two baby's. The story was so sad, the mother needed a Cesarean operation and all went well. They came back on the ward, she was laid back on the bed and a little later they found her dead. 
The grandmother was very happy that we wanted to help her with the baby's and after explaining everything and filling the forms, she signed with a thumbprint on our papers. We took the 2 little boys who got their names Gabriel Opio and John Ocen. 
Janet holds the two little baby's while I drive back to Amecet. 
 In Amecet, we weighed the two boys, they are very big for twins! The first born weighs 3,1 kg and the second one weighs 2,680 kg. That is a good size for twins! We gave them a bath and then....
the feeding. Janet and Janneke both took one, they don´t drink a lot yet, but it is good to give them something every 3 hours. We prayed for them, they had just such a difficult start in life, but everything looks good. We will do the best we can and we pray that the family will take over in a couple of months.

Going to school...

This morning, while were sitting on the veranda, feeding baby's, we heard someone shouting.... It was Max, uncle Calvin had been picking guava's from the tree and Max was bringing them to us! This is the same Max from the story on July 5th!!! It is so amazing, when I left for my break to Holland in June, I said goodbye to Max, knowing that I would not see him again, because he was dying at that time! But God had another plan, he can walk on his own, with the help of the stroller, so you can see him all over the place, behind the stroller. He goes quite fast and sometimes your hear some screaming, than he is stuck in a bush, because his co-ordination is not too good. He is still different, he can really abuse people verbally, he doesn't know his boundary's, but he is doing so much better!!
When older children come to Amecet, we try to let them go to school as soon as they are able to do so. Gabdesia is a girl of 13 years old, she came to Amecet in August. She was very weak, got malaria and was really sick, but now she is doing good. We asked her if she wanted to go to school, because we have seen that going to school is so good for them, they are like  "normal" children, they getting a big boost from it. On Monday she went for the first day, she loved it!!!! We start with half days, so she can rest in the afternoon, because we don't want her to get sick again. This morning she was under the shower at 4 am!!!! At 5 am she was ready to go to school, but the bus comes at 7.15 am, so she has been coloring for more that an hour this morning.You can really see that going to school gives them an enthousiasm, energy and hope for the future! Gipas is a boy of 13 years old, he also started school on Monday and he is glowing all over! On Monday he was so tired, he slept the whole afternoon, but now he is picking up. He loves his new schoolbag and is proud of his uniform.
On this picture, they are brought back to Amecet by the school bus, left Gabdesia  and right Gipas.
Tomorrow we will bring Christine back to her mother. You can read her story in the blog of 12 September. We will give her a schoolbag, books and a pencil. She will go to school in the village, so we also give some money to make her a uniform. Christine is doing well and she is now ready to make the big move, back to the village. And going to school will be good for her, to go back to normal life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Christine's tragic story...

Today I want to tell you the story of Christine, a girl of 9 years old. I have to go back to the end of May: The family of Christine had had their struggles; the first wife of the father died and their 2 children were living with them. The second wife left the father around 1 year ago and took the 2 youngest children with her. The 2 oldest children (Christine and her sister) stayed with the father.
Owning land means wealth, food and having a home, a place to live. There are many problems about who owns which land. In families people will kill their own brother, because of the land. In the family of Christine were also land issues. And at the end of May 2014, someone threw a granate through a hole in their hut, while the family was sleeping. There was a big fire, the father and the 2 children from his first wife were killed instantly. Christine and her sister were injured and brought to the hospital. Her mother was called and she stayed with them in the hospital. The sister died shortly after that in the hospital. Christine survived, but was very fearful and traumatised. The hospital staff and her mother requested if she could stay for some time in Amecet, while her wounds were healing and also her emotions got some rest and healing.
Christine was fine within the Amecet compound, but when we would take her only for a little walk or to do some small shopping, she was very scared and would not let your hand go. Some counsellors from the hospital came to talk with her and also our staff and social workers kept encouraging her. Last week we took her on a trip to her mother in the village. Her mother went back to her parental home and Christine is very welcome there. She met her two little siblings, her grandparents and other family members as well. It was so good to see her relaxed and happy,
Christine was sitting with her grandmother (near the tree) and even she was a bit shy in the beginning, after a little while she was looking around and smiling. Together with the family, we agreed that we will bring Christine back to her mother in 2 weeks. We can prepare her a bit more and she can still go to school there and will not miss too much.
Such a tragedy, Christine has seen so much and has gone trough so much! But she still can smile!! Here she sits together with her mother, we believe that she still has a future with people who love her and will care for her!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Many mini (wo)men.....

Little Anthonia was born on 14th of May 2014. She was 2 month premature and her mother passed away shortly after the delivery, due to extensive bleeding. A very bad start for such a tiny little girl who got such a big name!! The father was confused and 3 days later, the uncle, with the help of two nurses from the hospital, came to Amecet for help.
 It was a lot of work, feeding by NG tube, sickness, but what a joy when we saw Anthonia going home today!!! She tripled her weight, is a smiling, chubby, beautiful little girl. 
On the picture you see the father, together with his daughter Anthonia, he came to pick her. It is such a reward, seeing this little girl going home. Especially Janneke, our nurse, has put a lot of her energy and heart into the recovering of this little girl. We said goodbye lately, to some other of those mini people, Sabina, Lawrence and Barnabassi all went home healthy, while they came into Amecet in a very critical condition.
At the moment we have two other mini-men in Amecet. When they came, one day apart, they were both under the 1,5 kg. They are no brothers, but they are very alike. Janneke had a lots of struggles with them in the beginning, but now they are both almost 3 kg! They doubled their weight and they are doing well, no sickness, just sleeping, eating and crying like on this picture, it was time for their bottle. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"Run for a child" Marathon in Soroti

Yesterday, Saturday morning at 8 am, it was quite busy on the Sports field in the middle of Soroti Town. There were already many people registered and they were receiving their running number. Of course the fan club of Amecet was also present!!!
We parked the car close by so we could use it to rest and to change diapers!! Even Max was with us, this is a miracle, you can read about him in our previous blogs.
We were encouraging our auntie's of Amecet, six of them were running: Sharon, Martha, Barbra, Winnie, Faith and Rebecca (not on the picture). The Marathon was 8 km. long and some of them were running on their slippers.  
The Guest of Honor was the Minister of State for Relief and Disaster Ecweru. On this picture he (in the blue) gives the last instructions and on the blow of the whistle, he will lead the group, running from the Sports.
And there they go, as Amecet fan club, we hopped in the car and we drove to a spot where they would pass and we cheered and encouraged them. We were just back when the first runners arrived back on the Sports. 
After all the runners were back on the Sports, we had a gathering with some speeches and MP Ecweru gave Amecet the money which was raised. I was receiving for Amecet 5,420,000 Ush!! (around 1,700 Euro). We were very happy, also for all the appreciation and the trust we received from the community and government officials.
There were some prices made available for the first runners who arrived, the first one was a boy who left quite a while after everybody and arrived as the first! He must be the next Kiprotich!!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

100 Years Uganda Police:" Run for a child" .

The Ugandan police is celebrating 100 years of existence on 3/10/2014.
As part of the activities, they are organizing a marathon in Soroti on 6/9/2014. The purpose of this marathon is to raise money towards support for the vulnerable children in Amecet!
We are working a lot with the Police, many children, who are in a crisis situation are brought to the Police and they bring them to Amecet. The child is safe and in the meantime the situation will be assessed, by the Police, Probation office and Amecet. Our Social workers Elias and Simon are quite busy with the children who come via Police. There are sometimes children found in town, they are lost, so the family must be traced. There are children who are abused, that cost a bit more of time and counselling to find a safe home for the child again. Sometimes there is a new born baby found, this are emergency cases and we are happy to help.
On this picture the Soroti District Police Commander is visiting Amecet. It is good to network and have good relationships with the partners. We are very honored that the Police choose Amecet for their celebration activity from several other NGO's. It means recognition of our work and a chance to tell more people about our Ministry and how to care for their vulnerable children themselves. Simon has gotten the opportunity to speak on several radio stations in Teso, to talk about the children and people can call in to ask questions. There are 4 places in Soroti where people can register to join the 8 km. Marathon trough Soroti town. We have up till now registered 200 people in Amecet alone and people can also buy a T-shirt, which are donated and the money is also for Amecet.
I let you know how the day went!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When it rains, the garden must be ready...

I first want to let you know that I (Els) am back in Soroti. I have had a very good break, longer than my usual vacation, time to rest, visit old friends and enjoy the life in Holland!
It has been very busy in Amecet and very quiet in this Blog. My colleagues were so busy and they had not much time over to write in the blog, our apologies for this.
 I will try to bring you up to date, lots of things happened, so check on us in the coming days.......

It is raining quite a lot in Uganda, that might mean a good harvest coming up... The people start preparing their gardens and as Amecet we also play a role in that. We have a group of grandmothers of children who have been living with us for a while, most of them are HIV+ and have lost their parents due to AIDS. To help their grandmothers, we provide them with seeds, so the family has enough to eat and sometimes even can sell their crops. Simon and Elias have been busy the last couple of days, providing the families with seeds.
 This grandmother cares for her grandson, she is a sweet old lady and is always so excited about the seeds we give. When we visit her on other times, she always shows us her garden.
We not only give to grandmothers, this is Susan, a 15 year old mother The seeds help her to provide for her and her son.
Around 10 years ago, Martha lived in Amecet. After she became more strong and healthy, we resettle her to her grandmother and her aunt. The seeds help the family now for many years to survive.
 We do also work with the grandfathers, this is Isaak's grandfather, happy with the seeds.
 Ivan's grandmother is cripple, but together with her grandsons she is able to work in her garden.
 When we have enough funds, we give also other help to the grandmothers. In the past, we gave a goat, orange trees, a plough and a bull and one year we gave a cow to the every family. Mary Christine shows here her last calf, she has in total 4 cows now. They look very well after the animals and it is a big investment for the family.
Evelyn gets her seeds from Elias. Evelyn lost her parents and lives now with her brother and sister. There is some family living around them, who keep an eye on them, but the seeds mean a lot to them!
This grandmothers project is a very vital part of our ministry, we help the families to be stronger and able to look after their own children.