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, February 27, 2017

First school day for Jackson...

 Jackson has been with us for quite a long time. It took also a long time for him to stabilize, he was sick and every time high fevers... It took a numbers of doctors visits to figure out what was the problem. But now he is stable and doing well, only his relatives are not able to care for him, so he is still with us. He loves to play with other children and with the puppies!!! We were looking into bringing him to the nursery school, but due to the potty training, we delayed.
 But today was the big day.... I brought Jackson to school. He got his sports uniform and on this picture he is with teacher Susan, the Head Mistress of the Harmony Nursery school. Jackson is a bit scared, but he walked with her to the class where all the children gather in the morning for Bible time...
 And that was just a bit too much.... So Teacher Susan took him out again, it was a bit overwhelming..
Teacher Francis took him over and he just waved to me and walked into school! I just saw him coming back, very proud and smiling. I called Teacher Susan and she told me that he did fine!! So Jackson has started his first step on the road of Education, many more steps to go...I am curious where he will end up...

Friday, February 24, 2017

A trip to the eye hospital and sad news...

 Yesterday we went with baby Mary to the eye hospital in Tororo (3 hours drive). I wrote about her in my blog of Feb. 15. The results of the tests was not so encouraging. Mary is not completely blind, but there are scars on her retina and they do not know if there is development possible. She react on light and a little bit on bright colors. They showed us how to stimulate her and we have to come back in 3 months. on the picture is Anjo (Dutch volunteer nurse) holding her. So we made a trainings plan for her and we pray........
 Simon got a phone call today...if we please could help with a coffin for Joseph.... Joseph is a boy of 10 years old. When he was a baby, he was in Amecet, sick and malnourished. He picked up and after some time we could resettle him with his father. Joseph was HIV + and he was on Arv's. In January he came for the first time to the Amun week. I took the picture during that week. He looks sad, he was sick during the Amun week and we treated him with several medicines. When the Amun week was over, he stayed behind, because we wanted him to go home when he was strong again. He played a lot with the Lego and he was happy. But he missed his father. When he was stable we brought him back home. Yesterday Simon saw him and his father in town, they had come for the refill of his ARV's. And than today...... Simon went to get a coffin and he brought it to the village, he got the sad story, his death was  unexpected, he had not been sick since he came back from the Amun week. We were all shocked and down from it....
I'll end with this picture, it is in our garden. It has been so dry and it looked if there was only soil, you could not see any grass, then we got a rain storm, we got even hail stones.. and see the new life, which was hidden, came up. I never saw those white flowers there before. It gives me hope and a feeling of expectancy. When God's rain storms come, anything can happen, I am looking forward to it, I think I could really use a spiritual rainstorm...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dear John Peter, R.I.P.

We got a phone call this morning that John Peter passed away  last night. His sickness intensified, they said.
In our blog from January 2 you can read how he came into Amecet and in the blog of February 9 you can read about the difficult decision we took, that we brought him back home. John Peter cried so much that he wanted to go home, to his grandmother. In the beginning we thought, we have to give him time, he will get used to the life in Amecet and he will start eating better. But he did not, he was miserable and didn't like anybody, even the children. He was not getter any better, so we felt that we should bring him back to his grandmother, maybe he is beyond help than it is better to be with his own people, during his last days.
I felt sad when I heard the news, but I felt also a relief that we made the good decision, he has been with his own people and now he has peace. We could not help him anymore, but now he has no more pain and no more sickness. I know he is smiling now...............

Friday, February 17, 2017

We got the grant of approval by the Minister to operate a Children Home!!!!!

 Last week Simon travelled to Kampala to receive  the certificate out of the hands of the Minister. Today we celebrated this  again, together with the two Probation Officers and our staff of Amecet!
 This Certificate means so much to us, it means that we are one of the 39 approved Homes in Uganda. There are hundreds of Children Homes in Uganda, but only 39 are approved.I must say that the process towards this certificate was not an easy one. We did our first application in January 2002, now after a total of 5 applications, three assessments and 15 years further, we got our approval of the Government of Uganda! It really means a lot to us! We find it important to be transparent and in line with the Government rules. We improved on different area's and after the third assessment we are now an approved  Children Home!!
 So we had a toast on the future of Amecet, that we may be used for the good of the children!
This are the four men who have worked so much towards the Certificate. When I started the process 2002, later the men took over and did a great job... From left to right:
Elias Iga Okiror, Social Worker in Amecet
Oluka Amos, Probation Officer in Soroti
Ekallam Joseph Oteko, Retired Senior Probation Officer in Soroti, but was with us for years.
Orugon Simon, Social Worker in Amecet
We have been working together and I am very thankful for these 4 men. I think without them it would not have been the same.

I am also very thankful to God, Who was with us all those years and enabled us to help more than 800 children. We are also thankful for you, who read this post and support us by giving and prayers! Without your support we would not be able to do this ministry, we do appreciate you so much...
Please stay with us, this certificate is important, but it will change nothing in our work. Children are still suffering and we are committed to do what ever we can to help them, we still need your support!
We celebrate this milestone, but there is still much work to do!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Martha, Mary and falling trees...

 Every week we visit the feeding centre in Soroti Hospital, we bring some nutritional supplement, we talk with the care takers, who are there sometimes for months, caring for the child. We met little Martha, the baby on the picture above.  She was cared for by her mother, a 16 year old teenager. Her family seems not too supportive, the young girl was really struggling with the baby. The baby was severe malnourished, her weight was only 1.8 kg in October, when the baby was already 6 weeks old. We met Martha and her mother many times, as they stayed in the feeding centre since September 2016. On Monday, we got a phone call from the Social worker from Soroti hospital. He asked us to help with baby Martha. The mother is giving up, she can't cope with the situation any more, they feared the safety of the baby. Simon went to the hospital to talk and later on we went to pick Martha. We had also a good talk with the mother, she will be coming twice a week to Amecet to spend time with her baby. Simon went the next day to her home in the village to talk with her parents and we think that this is the best solution for now. It is not good to get the baby away from the mother, but in this case I think it is the best solution we can come with. The baby is 5,5 months old and her weight is only 2.9 kg. She doesn't suck from the bottle, so we need to feed her by NG tube, it is a cute little girl and this morning she gave us a beautiful smile!!! 
Mary was brought to us in the beginning of January 2017. Her mother died from HIV/AIDS in the beginning of  December and the first HIV test they did on her , was positive, she was started on ARV's. She was brought by an auntie and was very malnourished and very "floppy", she could hardly keep her head up. She is 5,5 months old, but her weight is now 5 kg. (she is the same age as Martha). We  have been busy with her, because at first we needed her to get strength and  to gain weight. Now she is 5 kg, we started to look at her other problems..... we think that she is blind and deaf..... So we took her to the eye doctor in the hospital and he also thinks she is blind and deaf, he send us to the pediatrician. We took Mary to the pediatrician and she looked good at Mary and was not sure, she sometimes react if you put suddenly a bright light on her eye. We were advised to take her to the eye hospital in Tororo (3 hours drive) and also to go for a heart ultrasound. We did the ultrasound and there they told us that there is a small hole in the heart, but it might still close by it self... Next week we will go to the eye hospital..... maybe they have some good news for us????

In front of Amecet we planted 15 years ago a nice tree. It gives nice flowers (and a lot of leaves on the ground!) It has grown out in a big tree, I like the tree, the way it has grown, but....... the roots are going towards the staff house. And we are taking the tree down. On that place we will build a round shelter, where we can sit in the shade with the children. On the small picture, you see the shelter from Amun home, a similar hut we will build now in Amecet. I still feel sorry about the nice tree, but sometimes you have to give things up when you want to get development.....

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Difficult decision

 We had to make a difficult decision, this week.... We have two older HIV+ children in Amecet who are not doing good. Anna Grace (left on the picture) is with us since May 2016. We have struggled with her, trying to get her to eat, to co-oparate with us, her medicines were changed into stronger ones, but  all in vain.... Anna Grace was part of the Amun week and we saw there a change in her. But as soon the Amun week was over, she gave up and we even found medicines in her room and refused to eat. John Peter is not so long with us, since the end of December 2016. But he has been crying for his grandmother since he arrived. Refusing to eat, refusing to bath, refusing to do anything... We hoped that the Amun week would help him, but he only used it to make a dramatic show, he let himself fall on the ground and started to shake. We took him out and he walked normally back to Amecet. He is just so miserable, the only thing what went better is the wound on his face. We had a serious meeting and we decided to bring them both back to their relatives........
Here they sit in the car, driving them back to their village. It is not really a happy trip, we are worried about them, but this was not going well. We will visit them soon again, to see how they are doing. We would have loved to bring them home smiling and healthy, but maybe they will do better now in  their own homes....
Late yesterday afternoon, Simon brought this little boy to Amecet. The hospital had called him that they needed help. The mother of the little boy was very sick and was admitted in Soroti hospital, together with her little son. There was nobody to help her, to give her food or to help with her son. The caretakers of other patients on the ward took pity on them, they bathed the boy, clothe and fed him, but yesterday the mother died and who would take the boy??? There is nothing known about the mother, only her name, there is no next of kin, no address, no name of the little boy, nothing...  While investigations are done, the child is with us in Amecet, we gave him the name Gideon. The mother will probably be buried in a small graveyard for poor people and strangers. We hope that someone will be coming for Gideon

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

R.I.P. Esther

Esther passed away shorty after mid night in the night of Monday/Tuesday. As I had just written earlier that evening (previous blog) that we have been busy with the oxygen machine and had brought her to the children ward, because there was oxygen. I was sad that day, it took too long for Esther to get better. I was worried, we had done everything what we could do...... Sarah was with her in the hospital and she called me at 12.20 am. She was scared and felt that it was not going good. I told her to get a doctor or nurse. As I called her back, some minutes later, I talked to her while the doctor examined Esther and we heard, together, the news that it was over. It was strange that I was on the phone with Sarah, just that moment. 
I was preparing to leave very early that morning to travel with Benjamin to Kampala again. One of the staff members, Lydia, was going with us and she and Baby Benjamin were also staying in our house, so we could go early. I really wanted to go to the hospital, to support Sarah and to take the body out to Amecet.... I woke Lydia up and asked her if she could take Benjamin in her room, so I could go. I called Simon, he is our neighbour, if he wanted to come with me, to travel alone in the middle of the night is not so wise. We found Sarah sitting on the bed (with 2 other patients..) and we carried the little body of Esther back to Amecet. There we prepared  her and clothed her in a nice dress. I was back home at 1.45 am. It took me a while to get back to sleep.....I have peace with Esther gone, she has suffered so much and you just saw her little body get smaller and weaker. I want to remember her how she was, she was small and fragile, but she was a fighter and she could look at you with those black, bright eyes. Like on the picture above. 
Dear Esther, we miss you, we loved you, but we know that you have fought so much, now you can rest, no more medicines, no more injections, enjoy the presence of Jesus, He cares for you. I am sure you are smiling now, we haven't hardly seen you smiling, but I am sure that you are happy now !!!
My alarm went at 5 am again and we were on the road at 6 am. Elias drove, we picked him in town. In Kampala, we saw the doctor and talked about Benjamin. we do not see much progress, but that takes time, according to the doctor. He wanted us to go for a M.R.I. he felt that Benjamin's head is smaller than normal. So we jumped in the car and found the place where they do M.R.I. examinations. We asked if we could get the results directly, because we wanted to take it back to the doctor. That worked out, but by the time I got the results, the doctor was gone out, so we had to go back the following morning. At least we could go to eat something, and then we drove to the guesthouse where we would spend the night. Helen and Cathy were also with us and they did so well. 
So at 8 am this morning we were back at the doctors office. He took time to talk to me and to explain the M.R.I. It was not really good news, they saw some atrophy in the brains, that would mean that he will be slow in everything and there is nothing to do about it. The doctor thought that it probably happened during the pregnancy, that the mother might have had an infection. 
I felt so bad after wards, this little beautiful boy has nobody to care for him, no family. We were going to try to find a good family for him, but this is difficult now, people might be afraid of his condition.. it seems so unfair... It all felt so heavy...Esther died and now Benjamin got this bad news. We had times that we got baby's in Amecet, we feed and care for them, and they go back to their relatives, it was almost easy. But this is not easy, who will care for Benjamin in the future??? We pray that God will show us the way and help us in making decisions..
Please stand with us in prayer????