Last week twins went home, James and Samuel went back to their village. Around 6 weeks ago they were brought to Amecet, not because they were sick, or because their mother had died or because they were malnourished, they were brought to Amecet because their family feared for their safety.... Their mother has a mental problem and can be very aggressive at times. In the past she had two times twins before, they all died. The family was afraid that James and Samuel were not safe..... So they came to Amecet and in the meantime the family had clan meetings and our social workers went to talk with the grandfather. There was an auntie who was ready and willing to take the twins in her home and to raise them as her own. The mother didn't come there so the children would be safe. And last week, Simon brought them to the auntie and they were received very well. We pray that they will be united good in the new family and we pray that the mother will come to her senses...
Lots of things are happening, in Amecet, our days are not boring at all!! Some children went home, the picture above is Nalibe, he was brought by the Probation office (children protect unit) from another district. His mother has passed away and he was so vulnerable. His father came to pick him and was very happy to see him so healthy and smiling.
James was brought to Amecet after his mother passed away. During the pregnancy the mother had been sickly and the delivery was too early. Around 6 weeks early. The baby was born, but then suddenly the mother started to bleed and died..... James was very small, weighing only 1,6 kg, he was at risk, so the family brought James to Amecet. That was one week ago. We laid James in the medical room, with the windows and door closed it is a warm room. We took him to the doctor next door and James was put on IV medicines and we started to feed him by NG tube. There is a place in another district, where we can get special pre mature formula. We order it and they bring it to our home. We use that also for James. It looked to go well, but two days ago he started to have a temperature. For premature baby's it is difficult to maintain their temperature, so we check it every two hours and if it is higher we take away a blanket, if it is low, we ad a blanket. Normally that is enough. But with James not, he started to vomit a bit. We took him back to the doctor, and his medicines were changed, the milk intake a bit lowered and we observed... Two nights ago, his stomach started to grow and was a bit hard. When I came in the morning early (after some phone calls in the night), I took him back to the clinic next door. James had many prickholes from needles, I think even in the hospital, where he was born,, they tried to get a vein to give him IV medication. The cannula he got the previous day was blocked again... his veins are so tiny and now we had to stop the oral feeding and only give him IV fluids, so we had to get a new cannula.
At the moment, we have 3 sets of twins in Amecet. .On the picture above you can see our last set of twins, Moses and Tom. They are 1 week old. They were born with a caesarean operation, everything went well, the mother was discharged and at home she started to bleed. They rushed back to the hospital, but it was too late, she died. The two little boys are brought to Amecet for 2 or 3 months. During that time the family can organize themselves and then they will take over the care for them.
This is Samuel, he is 13 months old and very malnourished, we picked him and his 3 months little brother Daniel today. But let me start at the beginning: Yesterday, we got a phone call from a nurse, who works in a village Mission hospital in a neighbouring District. There was there a young mother with two baby's , only 10 months apart, who were malnourished. The mother has a mental problem and the baby's are crying from hunger and mostly laying naked on the floor.
This morning, Simon and I went there, to see if and how we could help. Our car has a special permit, because it is still lockdown in Uganda and you can not travel from one District to another District. There are no cars on the road and there are Police checkpoints. But they know the Amecet cars and they just waved to us when we drove by.
When we came to the hospital ( around 1 hour drive), we talked with the nurse and the mother, the grandfather was also there and we saw the children.
A happy day today in Amecet!!! Charles was picked up by his new family, who are so excited to have him! We are so excited that Charles has now a family, who will love him and care for him!
Today the Amecet staff received a Goat blessing! One of the missionaries in Soroti is a veterinarian doctor and he wanted to encourage and bless the Amecet staff with the precious gift of a goat!! They told us that God knows about our struggles and how difficult it was (and is) to be in, for the lockdown, that this was a reminder that He knows it all and that He wants to encourage us!!
As in many places in the world, Covid 19 seems to be on its return, in Africa, and in Uganda are we now in the second wave. This wave is worse than the first one.... In many boarding schools were outbreaks and two weeks ago, the President closed all the schools again and a stream of people tried to get to heir homes, up country. The president also locked up all the districts, so nobody could travel outside their district, public transport was stopped. In two days, all the schools in Kampala tried to get transport home, it was chaos, people slept on the bus stations, trying to get a seat. The busses were only allowed to fill up half, and the bus fares doubled...
The new infection rate is high and many people are dying. The prices in the private hospitals are outrageous and the normal hospitals and health centres are running out of oxygen. So last week the lockdown was tightened, no bodaboda's no private vehicles and no churches and any social gathering allowed. Bodaboda's are bicycle or motor taxi's who will bring you anywhere you want, so only walking is left and the bicycle, if you have one.. There is a curfew from 7 pm till 5.30 am. And you better be of the street, because the police and the army are on patrol, if they get you, they can be very violent...
In the blog of April 16, I wrote about Ivan, a small malnourished boy. He was abandoned by his mother and he was HIV+. Last week we could bring him back to the village, to his father.... he is strong, smiling, healthy and almost walking!!! It is sometimes hard to let children go, you start to love them, but they belong with their family and we pray and hope he will do well there. ( we keep in touch with them)...
In our blog of April 16, I wrote about the premature twin babies we got in Amecet. The girl's weight was 950 gram and her twin brother's was 1200 gram. Honestly, I was scared to loose them and together with the team, we set up a plan to care for them... They were in a separate room, got fed every 2 hours, taken their temperature and we did that for all those weeks!! God had His hand on those little one's, they started to grow and we never had major problems..... I had told the team, when they are both over the 2 kg., we will celebrate!!
Last week, three small babies were brought to Amecet, you can see them on the picture. Left is Emmanuel, he was the first, He was brought on 5th of May, in the morning! His uncle came with a neighbour, the father was not able to travel.... Emmanuel was born the day before, his mother gave birth via a Caesarean operation, Emmanuel was breech... The mother died after the operation..... Emmanuel was her 10th baby!!
In the middle is Francis, he was brought by his clan chairman and a friend on the same day, in the afternoon. He was also born via a Caesarean operation, but 2 weeks ago. After the operation they went home, but the mother was not fine, she died yesterday from a long embolism(?). Francis was her 11th baby.....
The baby at the right is Nalibe, his parents are from the Karamojong tribe in the North. He was brought by his father and a friend. Nalibe was born on 22/4/21, also 2 weeks ago and also via a Caesarean operation. His mother started to bleed seriously, 2 weeks after the operation and she passed away. Nalibe was her first baby.
Three small boys lost their mother, but there are 19 other children who also lost their mother!!! There is still so much to be done in the healthcare in Uganda, too many mothers die after giving birth, too many children loose their mother to give them love and care.
We do our best for those three boys, they drink and they gained a bit, but we can't help all those other children and we couldn't help the mothers.... Pray for the healthcare in Uganda, for the antenatal care and for those who help with the birth process....
PS. Just some good news to end this blog: our two mini babies, the twins, have gained again!!! Deborah is over the 1.5 kg and William is going towards the 1.9 kg!!! Is that not great. you can read more about them in the two previous blogs...
Last Sunday evening, baby Hannah went to be with Jesus....... It was a big, big shock to all of us, because Hannah was doing so well. this was the baby who was found in the bush, still connected with the placenta. I wrote about her in the blog of March 9. We all got to love this little girl and there was a family, who was willing to foster and adopt her... Many questions and tears among the staff...... It was more than a year ago that we lost a baby. Hannah was not wanted by her biological mother, but she experienced so much love from the staff while she was in Amecet, and now she is in the loving arms of Jesus!!!!
This is Deborah (at the back) and her twin brother William (front). Last week Thursday, we got a call from the hospital in neighbouring district, that a mother has passed away, leaving 2 baby's behind...... The mother was only 7 months pregnant, but she had developed pre -eclampsia and the Doctors had preformed a Caesarian operation, trying to save the mother and the 2 baby's. Unfortunately, the mother passed away. The family asked us if we could take the two mini baby's to Amecet. Honestly, when I saw them, I had to swallow, they were so small..... The little girl's weight was 950 gram and the boy weighed 1200 gram. We have had small baby's under 1 kg. in Amecet, but they didn't make it. What to do??? They would for sure die at home, those baby's need a lot of care, warmth, hygiene and feeding..... often they develop complications, because they were not ready to be born.... Earlier that morning I had read in a devotion that we get sometimes chances offered, it is to us what we do with them...... We don't have to do it alone..... So we took them in the car, back to Amecet. We took them directly to the doctor and we had to give them several days IV medication. We gave them both a NG tube and we set up a feeding schedule, with taking temperature, writing down urine and stool etc. At first we fed them only 5 ml. every 2 hours. They couldn't handle more... William didn't poop, so we prayed for poop and he did after 4 days. Now they are both regular with urine and poop. They are now 8 days with us and they have gained!!!!!! Deborah was 950 gram, now she is 1105 gram and William was 1200 gram and today he is 1370 gram. We are very happy with this, but we realize that they are not yet out of the danger zone. They are laying in a separate room, which we keep as warm as possible. we have assigned one staff to attend to them and we pray that they will pull through, please join us in praying for those two precious children.....
This morning a newborn baby was found in the bush. It was in a part of Soroti, not far from Amecet . The baby was naked, still connected with the placenta and was put in a paper cement bag. people found the baby around 10 am and they called the Police, some women tied and cut the cord and the baby was brought to Amecet. It was a beautiful, newborn baby girl. She was a bit cold, we took her directly to the doctor and her cord was re-tied and re-cut. She was given a canulla and is started on I.V. medication. Because of being in such a dirty place and we don't know how and where she was born, she is very vulnerable to sepsis. Her weight is 2.1 kg, she doesn't drink very good, but we give her some time. She is fed now every two hours and we keep her nice and warm. It makes me so sad, seeing this lovely little girl, and knowing that she was thrown away in an old cement bag. Nobody should be coming in this world and be treating like this. I pray that God will protect this little girl, we gave her the name Hannah, which means "favour" or "grace".
This week two new baby's were brought to Amecet. The first baby was brought by his mother and a nurse from the HIV baby clinic in Soroti Hospital. The baby was 2,5 months old and his name was Samuel. The mother was HIV+ and was not doing so well, her Viral Load was very high, so she could not give breastfeeding to her baby. The nurse asked us if we could help the mother, by taking Samuel for some time in Amecet. ....
This morning I went with Elijah back to the Orthopedic doctor in Soroti Hospital. I went together with Peace, one of our staff, because Elijah doesn't like me so much, I don't know why, but I don't want him to be stressed, so his big friend Peace carried him. It is good that he can express his favorite aunties, I really tried to become friends with him, but no, maybe because I always go with him to the hospital and he doesn't like the doctors either!! The braces, Elijah wears at night are becoming too small, so we went for a bigger size.....
This picture, above, shows the end of this amazing story, but we go back to July 21, when the Police from another District, brought a very small baby to Amecet..... It was an infant of 4 days old, it was a girl and her weight was 1.2 kg!!!
She was cold, and very skinny, we took the baby directly to the clinic next door and the baby was started on I.V.Medication and we worked very hard in warming her up.
We laid her in our incubator and fed her every two hours a small amount of formula milk.
If you have read over last post (from yesterday), you would know that we said goodbye to 8 children in the last 3 weeks. It means that we are left now with only 4 baby's!!! We have never had such a small number of children, but it is also good for us, we don't have so many staff workers and with Christmas and new year, half of the crew is free....
It has not been an easy time for the staff during the Covid 19. When we went into the the tight Lockdown, we had to ask the staff who lived outside Amecet, to stay home. It was too risky to have the staff coming every morning and going home every evening. We offered them to come and live inside, but not everybody could do that. The staff who stayed, was at first not able to go home and to leave the Amecet premises. later we allowed them to go out on their free day. We also asked the outliving staff if they still wanted to come back to work and live inside, several staff members came back and lived in our staff house and in Amun house. It was not easy, and we even had to ask 2 staff members to leave, because we caught them stealing. This are difficult times, we understand that families are in need, but we can't allow this (it was after several warnings). We appreciate the staff so much, without them, we could not continue to minister to these little ones.
In the last 3 weeks we said goodbye to 8 children!!! This is really our joy, to see children go back home, happy and healthy!! The picture above was of one of them. This was a special happy occasion, the little Benjamin came to Amecet because his mother has a mental problem. Two years ago we had also a baby in Amecet from the same mother. That baby is adopted by a lovely family, here in Teso. The same family is now adopting this little Benjamin, so he will at least have a real brother. It was a very happy day!! You see the big brother who came with his parents to pick his new baby brother.
Every year we memorize World AIDS day in Amecet. We have a picture of each child that passed away in that year and one of the staff shares a memory of the child and light a candle. It is an emotional meeting, memories come back about the battle we fought for every child. We have also a beautiful bouquet of flowers, next to the candles; they represent all those children who "made" it through Amecet and are now at home with their relatives, or are adopted in their new family. They are going to school or some of them already work.
Through the years we have had 1040 children come through Amecet, we did lost a number of children, but most of them are doing well and are happy. They all appear on our wall of fame, (on the picture above). This year we had no children dying!!!! And we are so thankful for that. It has not happened before. We do get less children with Aids, the mother to child infection has gone down so much. We also didn't get older children who are HIV+ and stopped taking their ARV medication at home. I am not sure why, but I am thankful and happy, together with the staff that we didn't have to go through the pain of loosing a child!!
No, we don't talk here about a football player transfer, but about our dear Ali. Ali was brought to Amecet on 1/6 /2020 by the Police, we soon found the grandfather and heard that his parents abandoned him and nobody really wanted to care for him.
Lately, we received a number of small, new born baby's in Amecet. Often we get first a phone call from the Probation Officer, a health centre or a relative. Because of the Corona, we are careful and when they come with the new baby, we let them sit, near the gate, under the mango tree, with Face masks. One of the staff comes with a blanket and we take over the baby (who is most of the times naked) from their blanket into ours. Dominique or me then, will do the intake and get all the details, while the baby gets the care inside the house..
Before Amecet started in 2001, I was working with a project called FACE (Facing Aids with Compassion and Education). We travelled to the villages and we had a Mobile clinic for people suffering of HIV/Aids. There was counselling and small income generating projects. That was in the time that the stigma for people with HIV/Aids was still very big. I saw many grandmothers caring for their grandchildren, since their own children had died because of AIDS. I felt for those strong ladies, who had to dig in their gardens to provide for their grandchildren. I started a small project, looking for sponsors who wanted to help a grandmother. I got a small group of families who I could give a small support every month.
When I started Amecet, I still continued with this Grandma project, but when I got help from Simon and Elias (our social workers), we changed it in more practical help. We gave seeds, cassava cuttings and groundnuts to plant in their gardens and the crops would help the family to eat. When we got special gifts, we gave one time a goat, another year we could give a cow, we gave orange trees and we even one year a bull with a plough. It was such a good way to support those brave women and it helped the families a lot! We target the HIV+ children who had been with us in Amecet and were now cared for by their grandma's, and some very needy families.
here some pictures from the last years.....
It is Party time!!! Baby Esther is over the 3 kg.!!!! last week I told the staff, when Esther weighs more than 3 kg., we will get soda's!! And today we weighed her and she was 3,045 kg. so we have a party!!! It is amazing how this baby changed and survived, You can read her story in the blog of July 21, this baby was aborted and by "mistake", she came out alive, her weight was 1.2 kg. she was 2 months premature. We struggled with her, so small, so fragile, we had to feed her by NG tube and several times we had to put her on oxygen and IV. medication, but Esther is a fighter!!! I am so proud of her!! We had given her the name Esther, I believe God has a special plan with her, like he had with Queen Esther in the Bible. We took her today for a special HIV test, we pray it will be negative, but since we don't know anything about her mother, we need to do this test.
This picture is from 2013, Charles and Cathy are playing wedding (must have been after one of the staff got married.) this wedding was probably directed by Helen, who loved to play wedding. In Uganda the family of the groom has to pay dowry to the family of the bride. This is normally agreed during an introduction meeting, where the groom (to be) ,comes with his relatives and friends to the home of the bride (to be) and the families are introduced to each other. The fathers and the uncles are than negotiating over the dowry price. Mostly they ask cows, goats, money and presents. This is at least done in Teso, the area around Soroti. Sometimes they don't agree and there won't be a wedding until an agreement is made... Sometimes the price is so high that the couple is going into debt, to pay the price. Sometimes the family of the bride agrees that the groom can pay afterwards, or in bits... And that was the case with the parents of David...
In spite of the Covid 19 crisis, Amecet is functioning... We don't have so many children as before, we work with less staff, only the staff who is able to live in, but we are do our core business, helping children to shine again!!! On this picture above (in Aug.) our social worker, Elias is going to bring Godfrey back to his family. Godfrey was found by the Police and thru the tracing, by hanging posters around the place where he was found, we found his family. He gained weight during his stay in Amecet and he is much more healthy now. Elias has been meeting the family before and we trust that Godfrey will do well at home again!!
The Amecet farm is part of the Amecet Ministry. It is set up to generate income for the children's ministry. It is a very valid part of Amecet. We hope that it brings more fruits in the future, like vegetables, fruits, milk and funds. In this blog I want to show you what we have in place right now, with pictures and simple explanation ( because I am a simple city girl :)!).
This is the picture of the blog of July 8th. A call from the hospital, it was about this baby Elijah. Elijah was born with a clubfoot and a rotating knee, then he had problems with the fingers on both hands and an eye problem. We are 5 weeks further and Elijah has kept us busy.... The mother died in the hospital on July 8th and the family could not commit themselves to bring the baby once, sometimes twice a week to the hospital. That is where Amecet came in...
A couple of months ago, the police brought Lucy to Amecet. A little girl of 4, maybe 5 years old. She was stolen and nobody knew where is came from. The Police is looking for the woman she was with, but up till today there are no clues where Lucy came from. We have put adverts in the National newspaper and she has been even on National TV. The Police have been checking the reports of missing children also from other parts of the country, all in vain.
Today the police arrived at Amecet with this baby.... It is a little baby girl with the weight of 1.2 kg........ The baby was stolen, but it is unknown from where. Concerned people brought the baby with the lady, who claimed to be the mother, to the police. They told the police that they never saw the lady pregnant, the lady had no breastfeeding and after being examined by a doctor it was confirmed that the lady could not have given birth 3 days ago, as she said... The police brought the baby to Amecet and will investigate where the baby comes from. When I saw the little girl, I felt so sad and also a kind of angry, who could take a little baby like this ?? It is a pre-mature baby, and she is very weak, she was not fed for hours...... I took her directly to the doctor (our neighbours) and she was diagnosed with a septic cord and low temperature. She got a cannula and is put on antibiotics via the I.V. we laid her in our incubator, so she is more protected and also more warm. When I fed her, she drank 30 ml!! She was so hungry, she cries, that is also a good sign.
Because of Covid 19, we do not go so often to the villages. But today we went, my daughters, Mary and Helen went with us, because one of the children we went to see was Daniel!!!! Around 6 weeks ago, Simon and I brought him back to his grandmother, you can read that in the blog of May 29.
Yesterday, Simon got a call from the hospital. A doctor called that there was a baby of 3 weeks, whose mother had died that morning. The family could not take care of the baby, the mother was only 18 years old and there was no father in the picture.... So I drove to the hospital, I went to maternity ward, the doctor was not there, they knew about that baby, so I called the doctor and he told me he was in orthopaedic ward and the baby was also there. I felt that is a bit strange, but I went to that ward and I saw the baby, with two legs in a cast.. Now I understood why the baby was in this ward, there was something wrong with both legs... they had not said that over the phone.. I heard the story, the baby was born 3 weeks ago in the hospital by caesarean. The mother got a sepsis, she stayed all those 3 weeks in the hospital (with the baby) and at the end she needed a blood transfusion, there was no blood available and in the morning at 6.30 am she died... The baby was called Elijah and had a clubfoot at one leg and a rotating knee at the other leg. they had put a cast on both legs and the family was told to come every Tuesday to the Orthopaedic ward for review and changing of the cast and physiotherapy, every Thursday they also had to come for physiotherapy. The family lived in the village, they had left already with the body of the mother, there was still an uncle and some neighbours around. The doctor was afraid that they would not be in position to come twice a week, that is why he had called us. The family is willing to have the baby, but they can't make it twice a week from the village to Soroti... So we filled the papers and I took Elijah to Amecet. We have a commitment to Elijah by taking him to the hospital twice a week. Elijah drinks well, but he had a fever and when we took him to the clinic next to Amecet, he was put on IV medication.
We are a bit careful with taking children in, during this Covid 19 time, when two weeks ago, a young mother came with this baby at our gate, we saw that the baby was in need of help. The mother had no breastfeeding and this baby was already 5 weeks old. But the mother really loved her baby, so we gave milk money and let her come back in one week. One week later she was there again, the baby had gained a little bit, but looked miserable. We talked with the mother and offered her to take the baby in Amecet for two months. She was very grateful, she felt still weak, after the delivery. Baby Samuel was now 6 weeks old and his weight was 2.1 kg. At birth he weighed 3.6 kg. We feed him every two hours and today his weight is 2.7 kg. His mother came to see him, she was so happy, she said she could see that he was already doing better. Samuel was put on antibiotics and we are waiting for blood transfusion. His HB was low, but up till today, there was no blood for transfusion. We hope and pray that Samuel will start drinking good and gaining and getting stronger so that he can go back to his mother!
I am so excited!!!! For many years we have been able to place children (with the help of the Probation Office) into local foster families, but for the families to do the last step, was difficult. It cost money to make the adoption legal and how to do it??? There was an organization in the Netherlands, Metterdaad, who was willing to help these families to do this last legal step. The children will be safe and be a full member of the family and also the clan! We have been working on this project for more than a year, the Corona crisis postponed the hearing in court again. Then the Chief Magistrate, who was also in Lockdown in Soroti, offered to work on all of them and together with the Probation Officer and our two Social Workers, Simon and Elias, all the papers were gathered and finished! This week there is a group of some families every day and we will finish the 50 adoptions.
All the 50 children have now a family they belong to, they are wanted and loved, they go to school and they get new clothes at Christmas!! When I think back of all the stories of where they came from, there was one little boy of 4, he was just left behind in the bus station, another new born baby girl was left behind in the field, and was burned by the sun. There was a baby saved from the pit latrine. Another boy of 3 years was found at night, just sitting in the street. Three little boys living by themselves in the village, or the twins whose mother had a mental problem and she poked into the eye of one of them...….. I can go thru like this, stories which make you cry and wonder in what world we live... I am thankful that we, as Amecet, can make a little difference in some of those stories, give them a happy end..... Of course their life story is not yet ended, but they have hope on a better future!
Keep checking this blog, we will have a small ( according to corona rules) party when we give out the official papers to all the families.. I can't wait to see all those precious children again...…..
Ali was brought to Amecet around 10 days ago. He was brought by the Police, he was "found".... But they knew his name, we didn't have a good feeling about him. He was very malnourished, had decubitis wounds and he looked as if he had a brain damage. He was really in a bad shape, we think he can be 4 or even 5 years old. He can't talk and he can't chew his food.
The next day, Simon, our social worker went to the village where he was found. He talked with people and showed the picture of Ali. And via several people, he found the home where Ali came from.... He was dumped there by his mother (who disappeared) in the home of the grandfather. His parents separated and the father was doing business in South Sudan. The care in his new home was not good.........
Ali is not happy, he was treated by I.V. medication and feeding him, takes a lot of time and effort... But he has been gaining more than 1 kg. already. He cries often, as if he has pain... Dominique found the therapy!!!! She puts her phone with a film of Tom and Jerry and he laughs and laughs!!!! This is not an easy case, for now we work on getting him healthy and more strong, there is also a big task for our social workers, to make sure he is safe in the future!
Today it was a big day in Amecet!!! We said goodbye to three children!! Simon, Robinah (one of our nurses) and me travelled to the village to bring three children back to their relatives. Because of Covid 19, there is still no public transport and also the motor taxis are not allowed to operate. Last week, Simon went to the three families to check on them, some of them we can't even reach by mobile phone. We always try to get a mobile number, sometimes a neighbour or relative, but this time we had not all the contacts, so Simon went to visit the, last week. They were all ready to receive them back and we were going to do that today. Simon had asked them to come to certain places near their home, because the time he visited them, the whole neighbourhood gathered, we didn't want that, because gatherings are still not allowed. So we left at 8.30 am, with the face masks, on our way to the village.
Today I want to share something what happened, last week, at our Post Box. I check the Post Box a couple of times a week. Since Uganda went into Lockdown, we had only once mail, all the other times there was no mail and the men in the mail office didn't know when it would come again.... They told me: just keep checking...…. But last week I received a message on my phone from them, that the mail had arrived and our little box was full, if I could come and empty... Of course I went the same day!!
When I took all the letters and magazines out, I walked back to the car, when a lady came to me. She said that she wanted to thank me for the help we gave her, by paying the scan for her baby... I honestly couldn't remember her and I asked her how the baby was doing now? She told me that the baby had died...… wow, what do you say then...…. I said I felt sorry for her and asked some more details, the baby had died in the hospital, she had a heart problem and was very sick and just died..... A difficult situation..... Then she said that her other child was now sick, I asked her how old the child was and what the problem was. The child had asthma, I told her that there was a special clinic in the hospital on Thursdays, she told me she had taken the child there, but the doctor told her that she needed to buy an inhaler for the child. She had gone to the pharmacy and they cost 15,000 shillings ( almost 4 euro). And she had only 7,000 shillings. I felt for her, this lady really cares for her children and I am sure she was scared to loose another child.. And now she was trying to get 8,000 shillings (2 euro). I was sad and aware again about the struggle where so many mothers go thru..... I opened the car and put the mail on the seat, then I got into my bag and handed her the money. I wish you could have seen her face!!!! She was so happy and told me that she was going directly to the pharmacy to buy the inhaler. She thanked me several times and walked off to the pharmacy. I climbed in the car and then I looked into the back-view mirror... I had to laugh.... I saw the lady walking away, with her arms up and jumping up and down...…. It made me laugh and I knew I had a lesson learned today in gratefulness.... This lady was so thankful for such a small gift, this attitude I want more in my life and also that even with a small gift I could make a difference into someone's life. I want to be more sensitive towards the needs of those around me, even small gifts can be a big blessing to some one else!!!
Since Amecet is on Lockdown, we do not have as many children as normal. When we went into Lockdown we had only 7 children, we had them all in one room, their ages were 0-1 year old. But now we have to open a second room and we have the oldest children in the new room. As of now we have 11 children in Amecet. We got two new born babies, whose mother died after the delivery. Actually one mother died before the delivery, as she needed a cesarean operation, she died before they started, they rushed than and saved the little baby boy. He came only a couple of hours later in Amecet. They were both above the three kg. so that helps, they are doing well.
There was also a little girl, brought via Police and Probation Office. She was tortured by her stepmother. The father was not around, he was looking for work, by digging in people's gardens. The little girl is around 3 years old and is doing also very well, right now as I am sitting in our office, I hear her singing (while it is nap time..). Our two social workers, Elias and Simon are still on standby, They are talking with the relatives of the little girl, they found them, in spite of the Corona time. We try to re-settle her as soon as possible, it might be more difficult to settle back home, when she stays longer in Amecet. But we have to know that she is save of course!!
Baby Steven was born at home, in the village. Because of the Corona virus, there is a curfew and the baby was born in the evening. The next morning, things were not well with the mother, they brought her (and Steven) to the health centre, the centre referred them to the Hospital in Soroti. There came out that she had an intestinal obstruction and she died after 3 days... The family asked us to care for the baby, there was no one at home who could care for him, so Steven was brought to Amecet. I did the intake, sitting near the gate, a staff came to get the baby from there and the family is not allowed to come and visit him.. It is sad, normally we encourage the relatives to come and see the baby, now they can only call to hear how their child is doing.....
Steven is doing good, he drinks well and has gained already!!
Yes, we are a Children Home, but our greatest joy is to bring a child back to their relatives, or to find a home for children who have nowhere to go to. And to let them settle in their new "forever" family!! In the blog of Feb. 7 and March 31, I wrote about Emmanuel and Abraham. I Have now the pictures of their coming Home.... At the back is Mr. Oluka Amos, the Senior Probation Officer of Soroti. And the new parents of the two boys. In the middle their new little sister, Anna.
This is a part of our Amecet-Corona team!! We miss some people, they were sleeping after their night duty and before their night duty of tonight... This is the team who is locked in with the children in Amecet. Dominique leads the team (at the back, right) with her daughter Apio Ruth. Our rock in times of need, David, is also there, he is the one who runs to the market to buy the fresh food. and he helps with all kind of other things in and around the house. All the staff who lives outside Amecet are at home. Simon and me, got both a pass, from the authorities, so we can come in the car to check on them (with 1.5 mtr distance) and to help if anything is needed, like milk, food or medicines. Today we got a request from the RDC if we could bring some help to 14 children, who were with their mothers in the prison. This is what Simon and me than do.
Uganda is locked, no public transport, no private vehicles...…. Yesterday, we send all the staff who lives outside Amecet, home. In the evening, the President spoke to the Nation, from 10 o' clock pm, no more vehicles (among other restrictions), we have a curfew from 7 pm until 5 am. All the staff from outside Amecet are at home, a group of 14 ladies, agreed yesterday, to go in quarantine with the children who are left in Amecet…. Just yesterday, Simon went with the two boys, Emmanuel (10) and Abraham (4 or 5?) and the Probation Officer to bring them to their new family.....
Maybe you can read the blog of February 7, where I wrote their story and how going to school, changed them already so much......
They lived in the village with their mother, who was struggling so much and couldn't cope with life anymore. She hang herself, leaving the two boys behind. The Police brought them to Amecet and we have been searching for relatives, but all in vain, several times we have put their picture in the newspaper, but no reaction. We got the green light from the Probation Officer to look for a foster family, who wants to adopt them after the foster time. We found the family!!!
Yesterday Simon and the Probation Officer were going to bring them. Emmanuel cried when he climbed into the car, Abraham was excited to go on a trip. They have had a good time in Amecet, they were loved, got their food on time, they could play and go to school, they could be normal boys (with being naughty at times!), but Amecet is not a good place for them for long term, they need to go to a family.... Amecet was good for them to be, after all the tragic and emotional things what happened to them, but now they need to go to a family where they can belong and grow up...
Simon told us today, they were so warmly welcomed, the couple was so happy to receive them and the boys felt it, they relaxed and smiled. Normally the couple would have come several times to Amecet to get to know them, but because there is no public transport for one week, they saw each other now for the first time! The clan leader was also present and he told Simon that he was so happy for the family, because there was nobody to inherit!!!! Is that not great.... Those two lonely boys are now the heir of this family!!
I am so thrilled about this, and I felt to share it with you, in this time of bad news all around.
Today Amecet is going to lock down, we are not closing, but we will have a serious lock down. The Corona virus has also reached Africa.... We had some volunteers, who left last week, when the airport was still open. Now all the borders are closed, the schools and churches are closed. No public transport and we are waiting what the next restriction will be.... It is scary, there will be so much suffering, people live by the day and when there is no income today, what will they eat tonight??? There is violence, people who are positive , are not safe, there is also a thinking with some people, that it is the fault of the foreigners, they brought the virus into Uganda. All the positive tests up till now, were Ugandan people, who came from travelling abroad.
Also in Amecet we have been thinking how we could be more safe and today we had a staff meeting. After the staff meeting all the staff who lives outside Amecet ( and comes to work everyday) will stay home until it is safe again. All the staff who lives inside the Amecet compound has agreed that they will go in quarantine with the children until it is safe again. There were some staff who lives outside, who also agreed to come and live inside Amecet. So we think we have enough people to care for the children, do the laundry, clean and cook..
We have been working hard during the last 10 days to re-settle the children who were due to go home, on the picture above, you see the Probation Officer from Soroti, handing over Hellen to her new foster mother. Hellen was abandoned as a new born baby and she will grow up now in her new family! There were some other children who were also brought home, to relatives or to their new foster family. It will reduce on the children in Amecet and on this way, we can easily handle everything.
Gabriel was brought to Amecet on Saturday evening. His mother had been in a traffic accident and was killed on the spot. She had been holding Gabriel (3 months old) in her arms. Gabriel survived, but he has big wounds on his head from scraping over the ground.
Jeremiah can laugh and he can make you laugh!! This was very different just one month ago. The picture left is the same Jeremiah, one month ago. He was most of the day angry, hostile and when you tried to touch him, he refused you.. he is around 2 years old and he was brought to Amecet by the Police on 23/12/2019. He was abandoned. You just knew that he has not been treated well, a small child like him and already so much mistrust in people. It was sad. Our Social workers has been trying to trace his parents and we now become to know that this little boy has been handed over from one to the other person. His mother brought him to a friend, after a while the friend got tired of him and brought him somewhere else and so he went from one to the other and ended up in the Police station. This has been going on for more than 18 months!!
We tried to make him smile, reaching out to him, talking to him and showing him love and see the picture above.... he has changed so much. When you come he greets you with a beautiful smile: " morning" he says and it is so great to see the change in this boy, he trusts again, he is willing to come to you and sits with you. He is happy (and very naughty at times!).
The biological parents are found and a process is going on, we work together with the Probation Office, to make sure that Jeremiah goes to a safe place.
For now he is still with us and we enjoy his smile!!
Maybe some of you remember the twins Brian and Brenda, I wrote about them in the blogs of August 11 and 14. They were born. 2 months premature at the side of the road. Someone brought them to the healthcentre and the healthcentre referred them to Amecet, the mother didn't want to feed them, she has a mental sickness and she ran away, shortly after that.
Aloysius was brought by his mother. He is malnourished, weak and dehydrated. And he has a sever schisis cleft palate). The day before, I was called by the social worker of Cure Hospital in Mbale. The mother was send there for the operation, but the baby is too weak and malnourished. he asked our help. I sad to him that the mother could come and the next day she was at our doorstep. The baby is 4 weeks old and his weight is 2.6 kg. The mother has hardly breast feeding, so the baby is starving. The mother has a lot of burdens to carry, her husband got a stroke, one year ago, and is paralyzed since that time. We took Aloysius ( I really have to get used to the name!) in and took him to the doctor. he was put on IV fluids, he is so dehydrated. This morning he looks much better, but drinking is the problem. he is hungry, but his stomach is not used to much milk, so we start slowly, every two hours. He wants to drink, but he can't suck, it is frustrated for him. You have to take time with him and be very careful that he swallows right.
Please pray for Aloysius, he has a lot of work to do in a couple of months, to grow to 5 kg.!! Pray that he doesn't get an infection and that we can minister peace and love to him..
Emmanuel and Abraham are brothers. Very close brothers! Emmanuel is the oldest, we think he is around 10 years old and Abraham is the youngest one, we think around 4 years old. They have no one else than each other. I am so impressed with Emmanuel, who cares so much for his little brother, They are always together.. they were brought to Amecet on the 7th of January, by the Police. They lived in the village with their mother, but their mother committed suicide and nobody in the village knew their relatives or where they came from. Those two boys had only each other.....
The first picture showed how they came into Amecet, malnourished, dirty, sad and scared. They had jiggers in their feet, and they ate well, so they started to gain weight and they started to look better and they played together. We had put them in the newspaper, maybe there were somewhere relatives??? But up to now, nobody reacted. We felt they could go to school, in the meantime, while we waiting. In February, all the schools started again in Uganda. We got uniforms and school bags and the second picture I took on the first school day. They were so happy. When I took the picture, I realized that Emmanuel had no slippers, so we stopped on the way to school to get him slippers. They are both going to our Harmony School, run by Youth With A Mission. Abraham goes to the nursery school and Emmanuel to the Primary school. The schools are not at the same location. The first day, Abraham cried almost the whole morning, he wanted to go to his brother....... Emmanuel was very happy and he showed us proudly what he had written.... The second day went much better, we found Abraham playing, when we came to pick him... Today, the teacher told us that he was doing great, he made friends and he is doing very well in class!
The first step to a brighter future, many more steps will follow, but for now, we do it step by step.........
To read our old blog you can click here