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!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Today was a day I can't describe......

We brought two children to their last resting place......

 Benjamin came in Amecet on September 18, 2016. He was born at the side of the road, in a compound of strangers. You can read that in the blog of Sept. 18 2016. The mother had a mental illness and ran off, nobody knew her or saw her again. Benjamin came to Amecet via the Police and Probation Office. After a month he started to get convulsions and they have been there until yesterday. We went to many doctors with him, for a brain scan to Mbale, for a EEG and a MRI to Kampala (blogs of Jan.4 and Jan. 12, 2017). But nothing helped and the doctor told us that he had brain damage. In the blog of May 8, 2017 I asked for prayers for him, because he couldn't swallow anymore... Yesterday God took him HOME. We feel so sad, we loved this little boy, but we are also happy for him, he had suffered so much!! Benjamin has never smiled in the 9 months of his life, that really touched me, he didn't experience any joy, it makes me cry... When he passed away yesterday, we had problems where to bury, normally, we bring the children back to their relatives in the village and they bury the child. But now there was no family, we were his only family!! We tried to get permission to bury him in YWAM land, but the authorities said we had to bury him in a plot of land, where people are buried when there are no relatives, or strangers who die in Soroti and nobody knows who they are. We were not happy with that, but we started to organize.. Then this morning two people came from the family, where Benjamin was born. The mother had given birth at their place/road and they heard from the Police (whom we had called) that Benjamin had died. They heard about the burial place and asked if he could be buried in their land, so he would not be alone.. We asked the authorities and it was okay. So we drove to their village and the people started to gather to mourn Benjamin and to lay him to rest...
 We were sitting under a big Mango tree, people started to come, neighbours and relatives of the family. The priest came and we had a small service. While we were sitting there and singing ateso songs, a white dove flew around the place. I just felt the Peace and the Presence of God. It was good, people mourned over this little boy, whose life was too short. Rest is Peace little Benjamin and your laughing will be heard in Heaven!!
 But that was not all..the burial was just finished when I got a phone call from Amecet, baby Christine just died.
 Baby Christine was brought into Amecet on Monday, 2 days ago. A small baby, weighing 2,5 kg. her mother passed away after the delivery. Everything was fine with her, Deborah, our nurse took her to the Doctor to check, that same day. But this morning when the night duty wanted to feed her at 5 am, she saw that her stomach was swollen., She didn't feed her, she was taken to the doctor around 8 am and he prescribed some treatment, but it went worse, they decided to take her to the specialist some time later, but she passed away on the way. In just hours she became sick and died!!! 
When we came back from the burial of Benjamin the little coffin was waiting to be brought to the village of her father. Simon organized this and Deborah and some staff went with him.
It is too much, two coffins on one day.... and too many tears are flowing..... 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A new start for Alice.....

Alice has been taken into Amecet twice, the first time in 2013, she was only 8 months old, after some time she was re-settled with her mother, trying also to involve the grandmother. It went well for a while, the mother is very unstable, after a while we had to re-settle her with other relatives. On and off, we kept in contact with the mother, who got Alice back with her. The mother has a mental illness and the local authorities got very worried when they saw Alice begging on the streets. The mother used to get money via Alice and Alice was quite good in it... The authorities asked us to take Alice back into Amecet and they brought her to us in March 2017. The mother is pregnant again and still on the streets. We have tried to re-settle Alice with her relatives, but nobody was willing to take her. In the meantime we let Alice go to the nursery school and she did that very well, she calmed down and started to listen and got better manners. Alice is a very cute girl and makes us laugh many times.
We found a Ugandan family who is willing to take her in and to care and love her. On Friday she was handed over by the Probation officer to her new parents. They are very excited about getting this little girl and we see a good future for Alice with them. Alice was very happy           We have been talking with her about it, but just before the handover, Simon talked with her in the office, explaining to her what would happen. She was very okay with it, walked to her new parents and greeted them. When she was sitting
in the car to leave, she waved with a big smile and said:  Bye, I am going to my home!!!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

I could write a book.....

I am working for more than 15 years in Amecet, but still there are situations which are so shocking and new to me...
Sunday evening the Police brought a little boy of 4 years old. It was late, so he got a bath, a meal and he was brought to bed, The next day more details came out.......
 He could tell us his name: Emmanuel. Via the Police we heard that he was stolen from his family in September 2016, by a lady. The lady left Soroti and took the boy with her. The real parents and the Police have been looking for him and they have done radio messages, but no body had seen him or her. Recently, she came back to Soroti, maybe she thought that people had forgotten about the whole case. But somebody recognized her and Emmanuel and the Police arrested her and brought Emmanuel to Amecet. Emmanuel was shy at first, but is now playing all over the place and our Social workers are together with the Police and the Probation Office to find his real family and to make sure that Emmanuel goes back to his real parents.
Today Simon got a phone call from an organization who asked if we could help and take 6 children...
Another sad story...The mother left them (or was send away???) the children stayed behind with the father and the grandmother. But also the father left, to a new girl friend (?) the children were left behind with the old grandmother. She really tried, but there was hardly food and this morning she put the six children on the bus to Soroti and told the driver that they would be picked there..... The bus arrived in the bus station, the children stepped down and found a place where they all sat on the floor. The Bus driver saw that and he felt for them, he saw that there was nobody to pick them. A lot of people gathered around them, that is how we found them....We helped them in our vehicle and drove to the Police. They wrote a statement and asked us to take them to Amecet. The organization who called us, is going to trace for their parents. the children were shy and quiet..
When we drove to Amecet, they started to talk and to laugh.. And here they stand in front of our home. The oldest is 12 years old and the youngest is almost 2 years old. He is carried by his oldest brother and he is not doing a step without him. There are 5 boys and one girl (second from left).All the children are malnourished. They were excited to be in Amecet. Elias had first a talk with them to explain why they were staying with us, after that they all got a bath and we found clothes for all of them. The oldest boy, told me, that he was very happy with his clothes and he said that everything was so nice and clean..... 
I saw two of them standing next to the toilet, they were amazed how that worked and they flushed  and flushed.... in the afternoon two of them got a fever, our nurse Deborah, took them all for testing and three of them ended up on medication for Malaria. It is a nice bunch of children and I can't understand that parents just leave them behind. We will see what will happen tomorrow.......

Sunday, June 4, 2017

We received Grace today in Amecet...

They had told me that there was a new born baby girl coming, the mother had passed away. So I waited for the little girl, they had to find fuel for the motorbike, so they were late.. When I saw the little baby, I knew this was not a newborn baby, she really looked me in the eyes. While one of the staff took the little girl, I got the sad information from the father and the uncle....
Baby Grace was 11 days old, she was born by a Cesarean operation after 8 months of pregnancy. The mother had had severe headaches during the pregnancy and got very sick, paralyzed at the legs, so the doctors feared for the life of the baby and the mother. After the operation she was send to another city for a CT scan, they had seen something in the brains. From Soroti Hospital they referred her to Mulago hospital in Kampala. In Mulago confirmed that there was cancer in the brain, she died 3 days later.....The family had tried all that they could, the burial was today at heir home, but the father came to Amecet with the baby. He didn't dare to wait. The baby is small and she lost weight since she was born. her weight is now 1.8 kg. She looked at me with those beautiful big eyes, we got her a bath and a bottle, which she took and she slept.... 
We pray for Grace and also for grace in her family...

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Bringing relief help to the families....

Like many other places in Africa, there is a drought in the Teso region. Many families are hungry and have only one meal a day. The mango season was a blessing and for many families the meal is: go to the tree and pick a mango. There was some rain before and the people started to get their gardens ready and sow their seeds, but then, the rain stopped and the seeds are dying in the ground.. We asked our partner organization in Holland "de Figurant" if they could help us and we would bring some relief food to the most needy families. Last month Elias, our social worker, organized the relief action.
They bought food for 52 needy families, and every family got 20 kg. Posho, 15 kg beans and 2 bags with salt and 2 bars of soap.
The people were very happy with this, it helps them, but it also encourage them so much!


Simon and Elias, took the relief items to the families and that was also a lot of work. the families do not live in one place, but are living in at least 5 districts around Soroti. 

This is Max receiving the items, but he was more interested in the balloons Elias had for him...
Max has lived in Amecet, he is a "miracle boy", at that time we did not think he would survive. Now he can jump and even ran....

An auntie with four children to care for...One of them has been living in Amecet long time ago. She is doing very well.



We do realize that this only helps a little... The rains started again, but the seeds were spoiled in the ground. The people asked us for help, they asked for cassava cuttings. This grows fast and it is also the main food here in the Teso region. They make Atapa from it. Normally cassava gives a good harvest and it is also easy to sell. But at the moment,  it is very hard to get  the cassava cuttings. Elias and Simon decided that this would help the people for a longer period of time and they were able to get the good cassava cuttings. The problem is that you can't have them laying around long, for then they are not good to plant anymore.

A truck came to deliver the sacs with the cuttings in the Amecet compound. Here you see some of the sacs.




  Simon and Elias loaded as many sacs possible on the vehicles. They had divided the families and both went to deliver the sacs to the families. The cassava is almost seen as "gold", Simon told us that he was talking with some people and at the back of the car, people tried to ran away with a sac with cassava cuttings. People are really crying for them.
This is Alice with her grandmother, Alice was in Amecet as a baby and her grandmother cares for her. She sold her goats for food and the only thing left to sell was now her land.. She really cried when she got the 2 sacs with cuttings.

But  during all those kilometers driving, over sometimes very bad roads, it can go wrong. Elias got a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere... No problem, we just change the tyre and we go on, thought Elias...But during a repair in one of the Soroti garages the jack and the spanners disappeared.. 

They noticed also that the spare tyre was soft, so Emmanuel, took the spare tyre, found a motor taxi and drove to Katakwi, to get more air in the spare tyre and to borrow a jack and spanners. Some of the sacs had to be unloaded and Elias stayed with the car and the "gold". 
After the changing of the tyre, they went on to deliver the rest of the sacs in Katakwi. That evening, they came back home much later than planned!!!! 

 There is still rain now and then, so we hope and pray for a good harvest.......

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Esther is now laughing again...in Heaven...

 Esther was with us in Amecet since February 2017, she was very thin and also weak, but she could still laugh by that time. She had several health problems, one of them was being HIV+ and she was even operated in April. When I left, at the end of April, I was not sure if I would see her again, and I said goodbye with tears in my eyes.....
I came back in Uganda on Saturday evening ( 27/5) and on Sunday I felt to go Amecet to see Esther. She was very sick and weak. This picture is from that day. She recognized me and she could still talk. On Monday she was more weak, but she could still tell me that she wanted to sit with me, I had her in my arms for a while, the speaking was more difficult. The doctor of the hospital came to see her in Amecet, on Tuesday and prescribed blood transfusion, we did that yesterday and we also put her on the oxygen machine. But in the evening, we saw that it was not going better. With the staff together we prayed for her, knowing that God could take her home every moment.
I went home, unsure of my emotions, I was sad, but I also knew that when God would take her home, her suffering would be over. But I also felt anger, towards....I don't know..., angry at the HIV, which took again an innocent victim...  Seeing the first picture, where Esther could still smile and laugh and then the last one, where she can hardly open her eyes... Esther should have been playing, going to school and having the hope of a good future...
This morning she was worse, didn't react on anything and at 11.30 m Deborah came to tell me that she had passed away, just quietly, without a lot of struggle. Simon and Emmanuel are carrying the coffin with her small thin body into the car, which will take her to her last resting place in the village.
Esther was only 9 years old, we celebrated her birthday just 2 months ago, by that time she hardly smiled anymore, but now....I am sure she is smiling and laughing with Jesus...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Reunion....

There was a special gathering in a big play garden in Holland. we met with the 8 Ugandan children and their  families, who all have been living in Amecet, but are adopted in Belgium. Amecet works hard to reunite the children with their own family, if that is not possible, we try to find an Ugandan family who wants to give the child a home and a family. If that is not possible, the child can be adopted by a foreign family, this is a long process, via High Court.
 We had to make a group picture: from left to right:
At the top Helen and Mary
Then: Justin, Cathy, Els, Peter and Moses
Sagal is sitting in front of Els
Then sitting: Emmanuel and Thomas
Frank (brother to Emmanuel) and Walter
 It was all started by the plan to let Helen and her good friend Mary meet together, When Mary was still in Amecet, they were very good friends.. After Mary went to live in Belgium, there were long Skype talks... They just had to see each other and this meeting ended up to be a reunion....
 I was so excited to see them all again, and it is going well with all of them. Their parents also all came and it was a very nice and relax time. The children played and the adults played with them and talked together. I was impressed with the way they had grown and changed. the most I was touched when I saw Thomas, here on the picture. This little boy came into Amecet, more dead than alive, now I saw him playing in the sandbox!!!!
And now...we say goodbye to Holland and we fly back to Uganda tomorrow. We have had a good time, saw many people and did many thing. We enjoyed our time very much , I feel refreshed and I am looking forward meeting everybody in Amecet again.