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!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Twins are going......and twins are coming.......

We said goodbye and we prayed over the two little boys, John and Jonathan. They came into Amecet on October 2015. Their mother passed away after giving birth. Very sad, they were both around 2 kg. The family of the late mother brought them to Amecet. They are also the ones who are taking care of them after Amecet. And today was the big day, their weight is now 4.7 and 4.6 kg and they are beautiful little boys with such a charming smile!

 The two little boys are dressed in the clothes that the mother had bought for them. The family brought them along and it felt almost like a tribune to their mother to dress the boys in them. The lady at the right will care for the babies, with the help of other family members.

We don't receive payment for the help we give to the families, this is the ministry that God gave us to do, but sometimes we receive blessings... the family brought two big chickens, one for John and one for Jonathan. of course we receive those and we will enjoy eating them:).
After saying goodbye, I had go go to the hospital with one of the older children. While I was in the hospital I got a phone call from Amecet: Els, there is a new twin, please come. So I went back to Amecet and I saw two little girls: Theresa (Teddy) and Elizabeth (Lisa). Very small, tiny girls, their weight is only 1.7 and 1.8 kg. they are 10 days old. The mother gave birth at home and had severe bleeding. They brought her to the hospital, but it was too late, she died at arrival in the hospital. The girls are small, but they look healthy. We took them to the doctor and we started the feeding. We already looking forward to the day we can hand them back to the family...... But for now, we will pray that they start growing, they do not drink so well, but we give them some time...
So it is going and coming in Amecet, please pray for the night duty staff, they have now again 2 more new born babies on their schedule!!

Is this not sweet??

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sad and strange baby stories...

 In the last 12 days we received 9 babies in Amecet, so many...... and the stories are so sad and some are really strange.....

It all started on January 13, I wrote about that baby, we have called him Elias, around one week old and he was found along the road in Katakwi. Up till now, we haven't heard from the Police that they found the family... He is doing well and is drinking good!
Than on January 14, two 3 days old tiny twin girls were brought. The mother passed away after the delivery. They were very small, their weight was 1.8 and 2.1 kg. They have been gaining a little bit by now..
We started the Amun week on January 16, we had 41 children extra in our Amun home for a week of training and encouragement. the Amun home is almost next to Amecet home and on January 19 I got a telephone call from the Police that there was found a baby in the Arapai Market.. I went to the Police station to pick the baby, it was a strange story, the baby was around 4 months old and was found lying in the grass on the empty market with a note tucked in his clothes. On the note was written where they could find the father.... The Police asked us to take the baby for safe keeping, while they were doing the investigations.
On January 20, an one day old baby was brought by the family, the mother died after the delivery because of serious bleeding, that same day, 2 hours later, another baby boy was brought, he was also one day old. The mother died after the delivery and the father ran away, the couple was not married. The uncle and the auntie brought the baby, they will be the ones to care for the baby, after Amecet.
On January 21, the police called, they were coming with the mother of the baby who was abandoned in the Market on January 19. The mother lived together with a boyfriend, who was not the father of the baby, and he had taken the baby and abandoned him in the market. The mother was not involved. But the couple were both in the Police cells, the boyfriend for child trafficking and the mother for not reporting the matter. The mother was happy to see her son again and they left with the little baby... That same afternoon a family came with a baby boy of one week old. They got a phone call a week ago that their niece had given birth in Kampala, and the condition of the mother was very serious. They rushed to Kampala and sat for one week at the bed of their niece, who was unconscious, she died a week later and they took the baby back to Soroti and asked us for help..The niece had just finished her education and had been looking for a job, nobody knows who the father of the baby is.....
Yesterday, January 24, an auntie came with a baby of 2 weeks old, very small and tiny, his weight was only 1.8 kg. The mother has a mental problem and rejects the baby, she also was in the hospital for complications after a previous operation, so another little fellow in the baby room.
Today, January 25, two Police  officers came from Ngora, a District East of Soroti, they were holding a small baby. They told us that they found the baby with a lady they suspect that she stole the baby. The lady came from Kenya and is not the biologic mother. She had different stories and said she found the baby, but could not say where, in Kenya.... The baby had been in the Police cells since Saturday and they were worried about the baby, so they brought the baby to Amecet, so that he is in safe hands..The lady is still in the Police cells and they hope she will tell them where the baby comes from. The baby was not well fed and he was not bathed for 2 days. So the staff bathed him and weighed him, he was 2.5 kg and we think that he is 3 weeks old. While the staff was making his bottle, he was crying so much that the only thing to quiet him was a  (clean) finger....
As you can imagine, we are quite full now. Please pray for the night duty staff, they are with only two people and to feed all those small babies every three hours....

Friday, January 22, 2016

Amun week: a great ending of an important week..

As I wrote in my last blog, the main focus was this week on adherence, the taking of the medicines. In almost every teaching it came back and the children got it!!! Now we pray that they will do it!!!!
Today we looked back on the teachings, the children mentioned what they had learned and then we went into the three age groups to practise a presentation about what we had learned. The youngest group had made a very nice drama....
 HIV is attacking a young lady, and also malaria and TB are ready to attack
 But the lady goes to the doctor and gets ARV medicines, the CD4 (white blood cells) are now getting stronger again to fight the TB and the malaria.
But the young lady gets tired of taking her medicines every day, she hides them and gets very sick, HIV is strong again, the doctor (left) even has to put the lady on a drip (the plastic water bottle), the CD4's are standing at the background, they are weak and can't fight for the lady. The doctor talks with the lady and tells her that she will die when she doesn't swallow the medicines every day. the lady promised to change her behaviour and swallow her drugs every day at the right time!!!
The older group had a drama about relationships, being HIV+ and being afraid to reveal the HIV+ status to the girlfriend, and stopping taking the ARV medicines in the boarding school out of fear what the other students might say when they see you taking medicines every day. The drama's were all good and very much about real life. they had understood the teachings...
We ended with the graduations of 6 youth. Two of them finished Secondary four, then 3 finished a life skill course  in tailoring and one finished a course in welding! We prayed over them and over their future and they cut the cake!! Catherine (my daughter) sneaked also in that group (front,left), because she said that she also graduated (from the preschool!).
And of course, we closed the week with a nice meal, which was enjoyed by everyone. It was a very busy week, but we had a great team to work with. And we a strong kitchen team, who cooked and served all the meals in time, which is a big blessing. We pray that the youth will know that the thief (HIV) only come to steal, kill and destroy, but that Jesus comes so that they may have life to the fullness ( John ten:ten). Tomorrow they all go back to their villages...
In the meantime Amecet went on as normal. we got several newborn babies in but I will write about them in another blog!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Amun week: lots of attention goes to the ARV's

It is not easy for the youth to take their ARV's (medicines which slow down the growth of the HIV virus) regularly. It has always be a point of attention during our Amun weeks, but this time it comes back in every session. yesterday one of our youth gave a testimony that she had stopped taking the medicines. With the help of her family and Amecet, she saw that it was wrong and she is doing very well now. This made an impression on all the children. Today we had invited TASO to come and share. It was a very good time, they talk about the same things, but with another approach. If you not take your ARVs, you will die!! It sounds hard, but it is the truth, we lost two children this last year, because of this!! And everybody knows the two children, so it made them more serious about taking ARV's.
This year we have some new children in the group, they are just 10 years old and we felt that they can understand the topics now, so we invited them to be part of the Amun week. the good thing is that we have meetings in age groups, so they can talk about the topics on their own level.
I am so thankful to be part of this happening, Many of these children came as babies or small sick children in Amecet. years ago. They were then proven to be HIV+, sad, but it is not the end of the world. I went back to some old files on my computer, to look at old pictures. It is SO encouraging to see the big changes, that they are alive and doing good. It is not always easy and we have ups and downs, but this is why it is all worth doing for:

Lazarus came in Amecet in 2003, and this is him in 2016                    

Michel was very sick and weak in 2005, but this is Michel in 2016!

Rebekka came in Amecet in 2003, small, and sick, but now she is a beautiful young lady!!

Emmanuel was very malnourished and sick in 2003. Now he lives with his grandparents and is a handsome guy!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Amun week: an Orange cloud at the Lira road...

It was all orange today: almost everybody was wearing their orange T-shirt!! 

 Margaret and Andrew gave a lesson about HIV/AIDS. A lot of topics during our week, will go about this subject and all the things around it and related to it. There is still so much to know and especially to know how to handle it in their own lives and situation.
 After lunch we divided the children into 3 age groups, to talk about the subjects from the morning in a more smaller group and with the same age group. Of course after the serious time there were games and sport. It was a good day and ...without rain this time!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Amun week has started!!

Every year we have our Amun week (week of Hope) in December. But due to several reasons, we were not able to have the Amun week in December, so we postponed it to January. So it is the Amun week 2015, but happening in January 2016!!
We have been busy with organizing and meeting together to think about the theme. We meet with a group of 10 people, we get help from several people from the YWAM Soroti base. And Saturday January 16, the children came!!We had put a tent in the compound of our Amun home and that is where we have the meetings. This year 41 children are invited, this are all HIV+ children, who have been living in Amecet before. This week we want to encourage them, teach them, listen to them and see how we could help them more to accept their status and to live positively with it. It is not easy to live with HIV, we miss two children this year, who were witn us during the previous Amun week in 2014, they both past away, due to not taking the ARVs well. (ARVs are the Aids medicines to slow down the growth of the HIV virus). All the children sleep in our Amun home and you can imagine that is quite an operation!!
They were all excited to come and to see each other again. On Sunday morning we had a service in the tent, Steven Orem YWAM Soroti base leader) spoke and of course there was lots of singing!!!
The theme is coming this year, came from John 10:10 and everybody gets an orange T-shirt! We got a lot of blessing today, in the form of rain!!! So when they all came to Amecet for lunch, we had to squeeze on the veranda, to eat our plates.

 To wash our hands before eating was easy today, because of the overflowing rain tanks!
We are looking forward to a great week with them, and I will be writing more about this special event!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Uncle Elias got a namesake...

Several of the babies went back to their relatives in the last 2 weeks! It is always a joy to see them go, of course there is a part in me that worries a bit.... Most of those babies lost their mother just after their birth. To come home in the village without a mother to care for them is not the ideal situation, but it is so good to bring the baby back where he or she belongs. In the midst of the siblings and you just pray that it will go well. Most of the time the grandmother is there or an auntie. 
Today I was so blessed to see Lisa go home. It was a sad way how she came into Amecet. Her mother had become pregnant while she was still in school, she was only 20 years. She died after the delivery. And she never mentioned the name of the father of the baby. The grandparents brought the baby to Amecet, they called the little girl Baselisa, after the grandmother... We called her Lisa in short. Today the grandmother came to pick her namesake to take her home. I really liked the grandmother, such a sweet lady and so happy to take her granddaughter home. She came together with her sister. No I have no worries about Lisa, she will be loved and cared for!!!
Yesterday I got a phone call from the Police in Katakwi, a District north of Soroti. There was a baby found in town, if we could help?? I told them to come with the baby and all the details they had, and a letter of referral from the Police. Today the baby arrived, the lady who found the baby brought him. She had gone for water to the borehole at 5 am and she heard the baby cry. They think that the baby had not been laid at the side of the road long, he was not cold. But what a risk, there could have been animals, it was still dark at that time. the lady had not seen anybody... She went to the Police later and they asked her to keep the baby, while they were trying to find the mother. the lady took the baby, but she had also a child of 18 months herself and couldn't care longer for the baby. The Police had not found anybody yet... So that is how the baby came to Amecet. It is a small, cute baby boy, he is already 13 days old and his weight is only 2.3 kg. Who can put such a beautiful baby at the road side, she must have been very desperate....
We took him to the doctor, he got his first immunization and then we needed to find a name! we always let the family find the name, but in this case there was no family, so Elias felt that we had never had a child in Amecte with his name, so...Elias got his namesake!! All the auntie clapped for him while he was carrying him. We pray that he will drink well and starts to gain and that we find his family or a new family for him!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Special visitors in Amecet....

We started the year very well, our little baby Innocent is doing good, he even drinks by himself and we got special visitors today in Amecet! A while a go we met a lady, who studies  at the Flying school, here in Soroti. She has a foundation. called, Bambino foundation. She helps to fund raise for children homes like Amecet. She had been here to talk and she shared that she was working together this time with an organisation in Kampala, called Dorahmwima foundation. They had organized a celebrity football match in Kampala to raise funds for children homes...... and we were one of these homes!!!
Today they came driving from Kampala with a van full of stuff, they had asked us before, what kind of things we need and they bought it all!
 Everything was carried out of their van and put in front of our veranda. There was a photographer with them to take pictures.
The children  "helped" a lot, but had also a lot of fun, as you can see on this picture. There were so many things they brought: baby oil, baby powder, baby soap, milk formula, sugar, washing powder, diapers, buckets, cleaning mops, cleaning soap and more, all things we use daily!! Such a blessing!
We were able to share what we do and they were touch by the stories and the children. The lady at the left in this picture is Dorah, she started the Dorahmwima foundation, to support the babies and vulnerable children. She has been Miss Uganda in 2008 and has many connections. But they really have a compassion for children. I was touch by the fact that they came up from Kampala, which is a 7 hours drive, to give the items to Amecet. There are many children homes in Kampala, but they felt that they were to bless Amecet, up in Soroti!!
A very good start of 2016!!!