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.........
Very regular children are brought to Amecet by the Police. This are children who are often abandoned by their parents and someone finds them and brings them to the Police. The Police brings them to Amecet and then together, the Police and the social workers of Amecet, try to find the relatives of the child. This is not easy, we put ads in the local newspaper, posters in the area where the child is found, talking with the people in that area and this time it worked out for two children!!
The children love to jump on the trampoline... The trampoline has been such a blessing in the past years. Children became free and playful on it and we were so sad when we had a big hole in the trampoline. It is used so much, we do have rules, normally only 2 children at the time (for the picture we did just four, but that is normally not allowed:))
The children are our priority, they were in 2019 and they will be in 2020!
It has been a while since our last blog. I have been on leave for one month. Maybe you remember that I lost two daughters, in June and July 2019. I really wanted a break and be with Christmas with my relatives, so I traveled with Helen, my other daughter to the Netherlands. We had a good and refreshing time. Last week we came back to Soroti.. They had done very well, some children had gone home, some new children arrived, so in this blog I just do some stories....
Today , we celebrated Christmas as Amecet family, we were with 39 people!! Also the guys who work in the farm, the extra holiday staff and all the caretakers, the Kitchen staff, the guys who work in the compound, the laundry ladies, the whole family!! It was really fun, we had all gotten a name and we prepared a gift for that person. One by one we gave our gift to that person on the beat of African music.
We have had a great week, there were around 42 children, the youngest was 10 and the oldest was 19. Our theme this year was from John 15:15, "I am a friend of God". We had our focus on Friendship, how do you make friends? Do I have friends? Am I a friend to others? We had teachings about relationships, family life, HIV/AIDS and taking ARV's every day, Openness and acceptance of HIV+ status. Personal Hygiene and Education. Every afternoon we went into 4 groups, to talk more in depth about the teachings of the morning and these groups were than in age groups. In every group was a lot of talking and they had really picked up from the teachings. Even the young ones of 10 and 11 years could come with such a good questions.
There were games in the afternoon and we did a lot of singing!!! They love singing and our song of the week was: I am a friend of God. I think they all will sing that at home in their village!!
Every year we remember on World Aids Day, the children we lost in that year. Every year it is an emotional event!! This year we remembered 10 children, they didn't all passed away in Amecet, 5 of them died at home or in Hospital, but we do include them in our remembrance. This year we had the Amunweek starting the day before, it had even a deeper meaning, because three of their friends were among the children who had passed away..
On Wednesday I was at the graduation of our Harmony Pre-school. It was quite a party, 38 children were leaving the nursery school to go to Primary school. During the celebration, I got a phone call from our Social Worker, Simon. Please come to the Police station, there is a stolen baby, can you come to pick her? I was there with Helen, my daughter, so I asked her to come with me, to hold the baby, as I was driving. At the Police station, we found a young lady (maybe 25 ?) holding a small baby of around 6, 7 weeks. She was brought to the police by her land lord, because she suddenly came with a baby home and had not been pregnant and her stories were strange. The Police made a report and asked me to take the baby for safekeeping to Amecet. The lady had a very strange story, that someone had given her the baby, because the mother died and that she was to take care of her. But she didn't know names had no documentation. The Police put her in the cells and the next day, Simon and the Police drove with her to the area where she said they gave her the baby.. Helen and I took the baby to Amecet, we gave her the name baby Helen, because Helen had carried her..
The next day Simon came back and told us that nothing was true about the story that the lady had told us, nobody knew about her or a mother who had died. But....there was a report of 2 weeks ago, about a missing baby. That had happened on the Market. The parents of that missing baby were notified and they came to the Police, a report was made and the whole group, together with the police came to Amecet.
We have 3 Daniels at the moment and all of them do really good! We call them Daniel 1, 2 and 3. This blog goes about Daniel 1 and 2. They are almost the same age. On this picture Daniel 1 is sitting in the middle. Daniel 2 is the second from left.
This morning (Sunday) my phone went at 6.30 am. It was Amecet, there was a mother at the door, her son passed away in Soroti Hospital and she had no transport to take the body... It was the mother of Emmanuel Adaun (left on this picture). I telephoned Simon, who knows the family very well and Simon jumped in the car and drove to Soroti Hospital. he found the body, outside on the veranda of the hospital and he brought the body to their home. later he got a coffin and also brought that to their home.
In the blog of June 26, 2019, you could read about the process of the adoption by local, Ugandan families. I wrote there about a meeting with the lawyer. For many Ugandan families it is very hard to take the last step for the completion of the adoption. They need a lawyer and they go to High Court. for the final adoption ruling. It is for the future of the child very important that the adoption is finished and legal, so the child will be safe in his/her Forever family! Today the first group came to sign all their papers and to finalize with the lawyer. The next step is the filing of all the papers in the Court and a date is given. On that date the Judge will say the final word about the adoption.
On the picture above you can see a happy family with two foster children: Ruben and Rebecca. Both children were without a family and now they are happy in a family and they have a future!
Today we had our monthly team meeting, where we meet with the whole staff. Due to some circumstances, we missed two meetings, but normally, we have them every month. We meet with everybody, the caretakers of the children, the kitchen staff, the laundry ladies, the medical staff., the social workers and also the garden staff and the staff who is working in the farm. It is a time of communication and sharing. We have an update on the children, we share if there are short term workers coming and staff changes. It is also a time of discussion, we talk about some issues which are not going too well and we try together to get solutions for some of the problems we have.
Today we talked a lot about the Bio gas and how to use it. Also how to feed the Bio gas, because it needs one wheelbarrow cow dung per day. The staff tells us about things which are broken or in need of changing.
It is a good time and people share together to see that we improve the Ministry of Amecet.
In the blog of September 18, you could read about the making of the tank for the Bio gas. How they digged and build the underground tank. We are serious looking into ways to reduce on our budget and one of the ways is to use Bio gas, to cut back on the money we use for charcoal and gas (in bottles). Today we had a lesson from the man who build the system, and Elias, who was the organizer behind it. We needed a separate stove, So in the kitchen, we need still some modification, but it works!!!!!
The end of May 2019, the Police from a neighboring District brought a little baby girl of one month old.. They had given her the name Betty and the story was that a woman had stolen the baby. She had told people that it was her own daughter, but the people had never seen her pregnant. She didn't give breastfeeding, so they reported her to the Police. There was a doctor's investigation, which also confirmed that she was not the biologic mother. She kept saying that she is the mother and her husband is a soldier who is at present in Somalia. Betty was brought to Amecet, while in the meantime, investigations were done. Everybody loves Betty, she is a little cute girl, ready to smile to everyone... The "mother" even came to Amecet to visit Betty. The husband came back home for a time of leave, they were summoned by the Police to do a DNA investigation, we offered to help with that testing, but they never kept any appointment. They kept dodging the Police, and also us. We heard that the lady worked as a witch doctor. the last story is that the lady, at the end, told the Police that she bought the baby, from someone..... From the Police and Probation office we got the green light to put the picture of Betty in the Local newspaper and when nobody reacted, to find a family for Betty, to foster and to adopt her later on.
We have several families on our list, who want to adopt a child. So it was not hard to find a family, the Probation Officer and one of our social workers went to check the home, all the paperwork was done and today was the big day: Betty went to her new family!!!.
Imagine, a child of 6 or 4 years old, and he doesn't know his name....just because nobody ever calls him by his name!!! Is that not terribly sad??
In June we got three brothers via the Police and the community officer, from a neighbouring district. Two twin brothers from probably 6 years old and one younger brother of maybe 4 years old. They don't know their own names...... The story is sad.. Both parents left, they separated and left the boys behind in a small dark little house, without anything, no mattress, no sheet, no plate or anything like that. Every day someone, mostly the grandmother, brought some food to them, but there was no care, no love and no parenting. They were no allowed to play with other children, because everybody thought they were HIV+ and they were infested with jiggers (a kind of flea that comes into your skin and grows there). A community worker got alarmed and notified the authorities.
Amecet had a wall at the front and at the back, we did not have enough money to do the sides. But thanks to several gifts, we could build at one side. We are more safe now, also for snakes. We are thankful for the wall and we have faith that the other side will come later. Another big development is that we are getting Bio gas in Amecet. We pay a lot for charcoal and gas (in bottles). For some years, we are looking into ways to use resources in such a way that our budget gets lower. And we have looked around and into Bio gas. With the cow dung we get from our own cows, we could be able to cut down on our expenses.. The Dutch Foundation "de Figurant" celebrated their 20 years anniversary in May with a benefit concert for Amecet. One of the projects they help us now is to set up for the Bio gas. And I think it was very interesting to see how that goes!!
Innocent, is one of those 7 children. I love this picture, he stands so tough, with his hands in his pockets... It is only 7 weeks ago that he was brought in Amecet, malnourished, dehydrated and sick......Now he is strong, happy and he gained almost 3 kg. and he plays all over the compound. he was abandoned by both of his parents. Our Social workers went to talk with the relatives and the family of the father (where the children normally belong) didn't want him, but they found the family of the mother and they were willing to take him and to care for him. When we brought him back, they first thought it was the wrong child, they didn't recognize him. We pray that the family will like him and care for him. he is a cute boy and easily to love.
We are happy for Abel!!! He went today to his family after being in Amecet for more than 9 months!! His story was difficult and very sad. He was born in the Hospital via a Caesarian section. The mother of the father cared for his mother in the hospital. But in the night the mother killed her mother in law and it was a drama!! The family of the father didn't want anything to do with the baby. The farther brought the baby to Amecet. Abel was small and we had a lot of struggles in the beginning, like if he knew what was going on...... After some months he picked up and started to grow and everybody in Amecet loved him!! In the meantime Elias, our Social Worker tried to talk with the family, it was a difficult process, but Elias had patience and at the end, (after 9 months..) the family was ready to take Abel in their family. The elder sister of the father came, together with the grandfather, to pick him today!!! She looks like a nice, friendly lady and we pray that Abel will be loved and will grow up as a member of the family!!!
This is Grace, she is 11 months old and her weight is just over 3 kg.!!!!! Her mother came this week with her to Amecet, she did not know her date of birth, so we first thought she might be 7 months old. The mother told us that she is HIV+ and her baby is also HIV+, she had no ARV's for the baby, but the mother was on ARV's herself. There were two more children with her (4 and 6 yrs??) they looked well. We were shocked about the baby, but we had the feeling that the mother might disappear if we would take the baby in. She told us that she was very poor and that her husband died one year ago. Our Social Worker, Simon, went with her to give her a lift home and to see how the situation was at their home. he talked with the neighbours, the L.C.1 (local counselor) and even went to the health centre where the mother gets her ARV's. The story of the mother was not all truth, the health centre had been given ARV's for the baby, but the mother doesn't give them to the baby, she never brought the baby for immunization either. A very difficult situation, the baby is in great danger, she gave the ARV's for a couple of week in November 2018 and then started this month again with some.
The baby is very weak, malnourished and deheydrated, we decided to take the baby in Amecet, we talked with the community members and with the mother of course.... We don't know why the mother rejected this beautiful little girl, maybe she is angry at the father, who is alive but lives somewhere else (far). I must say that I also felt some anger towards the mother, when I asked her why she never went for immunization, she just said that she gave up.... I feel for this little girl and we pray for her, that she is not resistant for the ARV's. I also feel for the mother, she needs to come to terms with the fact that this little girl is not responsible for the situation where she is in. Pray that the mother is not taking off with the other two (healthy) children.... Pray that little Grace will start eating and drinking...
Today we had to say goodbye to Brian, we have struggled for 2 weeks, but today he left us.....We took his twin sister close to him, to let her say goodbye to her brother. What a difference in those two small baby's... Brian did a good fight, it amazes that this little boy can fight so long... he was on the oxygen machine throughout and got several IV. medications.. A tribute to the staff, who stood with him so closely, during the 2 weeks he was with us. It is sad to let him go, but we know, he will be loved in Heaven. Our Social Workers are now busy to get permission for burying him in the burial ground of Soroti Municipality, we have not found relatives and the mother has ran away.. Normally a child will be buried at the family/clan home, but with Brian it is not possible.
We got a phone call, on 7/8 about twins from a health centre in the village.. Simon went there the next morning, the mother of the twins had given birth at the side of the road. Nobody knows the mother, she was alone and she is mentally retarded. Someone helped her and brought her to the health centre, but she refused to breastfeed and than we were called. The baby's are very small, their weight is 1.7 kg and 1.4 kg. We brought them to the Doctor and they were put on IV antibiotics. The second day, Brian got breathing problems, because they are premature born, their lungs were not ready yet for the world, so he is put on special medicines and on the oxygen. We feed both baby's every two hours via the NG tube. Today they are 5 days old, we do all we can, they are in a special warm room and we pray they both make it.... Every day is one day of more feeding and strength!! We have pictures of the mother, and we have several stories of her, we want to know where she is from, so we can contact her relatives, she is not able to care for the baby's, It is another tragedy.....
Left is Brenda, right is Brian.
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