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.
On 26th of July my youngest daughter Catherine passed away... only 7 weeks since her sister Sarah died... My heart is aching, my eyes are tearing... Cathy was 9 years old, a very active and fun loving girl, she loved to go to school and to play with her friends...
Cathy did not react good on the change of ARV medication and even that we stopped the medicines already after 10 days, the liver started to fail. She was flown, with the help of friends, to Kampala in an small airplane that had oxygen on board, was cared for in the I.C.U. of a good hospital, but after being in a coma for one week, she passed away due to complete liver failure. My, our hearts are full of pain, I miss her every day, in 7 weeks two of my four daughters left me.. If you see the picture above, this was Cathy, a beautiful little girl, my heart is full of pain and questions.
The YWAM community and other friends were all around us during this difficult time, Cathy got a nice burial, with 650 people attending, all organised by friends. Her grave is in our garden, next to her sister Sarah. I know they together in Heaven, no more pain and no more ARV's. Sarah loved Cathy so much and they will be together with Jesus.
I live in Uganda for more than 20 years, I have seen quite a lot, but sometimes I am still shocked and I don't understand what is going on... I wrote before that it was so quiet in Amecet, and it was, but now.... one baby after the other is coming and the stories, they make you cry...
It was a bit quiet in Amecet, a number of children went home and one went to his new foster family. Three new baby's were brought, they all lost their mum after the delivery!! Mostly it is overbleeding or the placenta doesn't want to come out. Still many of the children are born at home, in the village. When I ask them why they didn't go to the healthcentre, they answered that the baby came at night.... On the picture at the left is Michael, he is the oldest, he was born on 15/6/2019 and he was brought to Amecet that same day, in the middle, the little lady Veronika, born on 21/6/2019, she was brought 3 days later and at the right little Innocent, he was born on 3 days ago and 5 hours later, we received him in Amecet. At the moment Michael is not drinking so well, so the doctor suggested that we give him a NG tube for now, until he starts drinking better
This is a pictures of 31 Ugandan families, who all are fostering 1 or 2 children via Amecet. It is so exciting, read this story below and meet some of the children.... For quite some years we try to find Ugandan foster families, who want to take in a child without any relatives, and are willing to adopt that child in the future. The process is all done via the Probation Officer (Child protection), there are forms to fill, interviews done and their home is inspected by the Probation Officer. At the end the Magistrate of the Court grant the family a Care order to foster the child and the Probation Officer comes to Amecet to hand the child officially to their new family. This is such a joyous moment, a child that was abandoned or rejected by their own relatives has hope of a future and they belong to a family and they are wanted!!
You have not been able to read our Blog for almost 2 months, my excuses for this. I also do not use this blog to write about my own family, but today I will. In the beginning of May, I left with my 4 adopted, Ugandan daughters to the Netherlands. We were invited by the Stichting de Figurant, to join them for their 20st anniversary with a benefit concert for Amecet. De Figurant has helped Amecet a lot and we were all very excited to go and see family and friends. I also used that time to go with my second daughter Sarah for a second opinion to a cardiologist, because she was not doing well, health wise. While being in Holland, Sarah went worse, she was confused at times, was very tired, could not walk much and I became very worried. I was able to see a neurologist and he advised me do go for a MRI and a lumbar punction. Because of the short time, it was not possible to do this all the Netherlands, but I was able to set an appointment in Kampala for the day after we arrived back in Uganda. You understand that this visit went very different then we had expected.
The 13 Karomajong girls, I wrote about in the last blog, are still in Amecet. They are from a District, North of Soroti and were being transported to Soroti, to work in people's homes, gardens and kitchens. The Police found them in a check point and brought them to Amecet for safe keeping, meanwhile they sorted everything out, We have been getting visitors from Kampala, from their District, from Soroti government, Police, Probation Office etc. But they are still with us and it is not easy. Their ages are 5-15, they want to go and work themselves as well and now they sit in Amecet. Especially the older girls are tough!! Only one of them can read and write, the rest never went to school. But we found out that they like the game Memory..... And now they play Memory everywhere... And they love it. They also play on the trampoline, the swing, but Memory is the favorite!! It is busy, having those 13 girls around, we are not the best place for them, there is not much to do for them. But until the authorities are still talking and sorting them out, at least they are in a safe place. They didn't like to sleep on the beds, they were too soft, and they are so surprised that they get so much food, like 3 times a day....
You might ask what is the connection between children traffic and Good Friday ? Today we remember Good Friday together as staff and we got a group of 13 girls on our doorstep, they were rescued by the Police, they were being trafficked for child labour....
Dear, Dear Raphael,
When you came to us in November, you were so weak and sick.
We took you to the doctor and there we got the confirmation that you had that terrible disease, AIDS,
but we had hope and started you directly on the medication..
We did have worries about those enlarged nodes, but we prayed and hoped that they would disappear after using the medicnes
After a little while, you became stronger, you started to move around, playing a little...
But the swellings in your neck were growing and later we found out that you got also that other terrible disease;: Cancer...
I am so sorry Raphael, it seems so unfair, that you with your 3 years, had to carry both sicknesses and had to go through all this..
We tried to help you, gave you your special blanket with the pillows in the middle of the hut.
You sat there as a little King and we served you as a little King!
You got porridge when you asked for it, Bananas when you wanted them, Auntie Dominique gave you sweets...
And yes, you were a child, sometimes you cried, because you wanted a sweet or sitting on the lap with auntie Agatha...
A sweet, some soda, it brought a smile on your face, and your smile made our day, so we loved to give you what you asked for...
We saw your leaving come closer, we were sad, but also glad that your suffering would soon be over.
Today it was the day, we didn't know yet as we all gathered around you to pray, to release you and to ask God to take you in His arms...
5 minutes after our prayer, the Father just did that, He took you in His arms and you were gone....
Many of us cried, we miss you...
We miss your smile, we miss our little king on his pillows asking for bananas,
I am sure there are bananas in Heaven and your are enjoying them, right now!!
Dear Raphael, you were truly loved, we are thankful that we could be with you in this time,
your struggle is over, the pain is gone....
Enjoy the loving arms of your Father......
Christine was brought in Amecet on 7th of Feb. 2019, only just 2 months ago, very weak, sick and malnourished. The mother passed after excessive bleeding after the delivery. Christine was very small, her weight was only 2 kg. In the beginning, I was afraid that she was not going to live...... But she did!!!!! We had to feed her by NG tube, she was on IV medication and IV fluids, but she fought and we could give back to the father and the grandmother, a lovely smiling baby, weighing almost 4 kg!!
Last week we were able to bring Faith back to her family, together with her 6 weeks old baby!! We love to help and take children in our home, but we even love it more to bring them back to their families!!!! Faith was brought via the Police, she is 15 years old and she was 5 months pregnant. She had not been living at home, with her family, for a while.. There were many issues to deal with and our social workers have been visiting the family several times, to prepare them for taking Faith back in. Last week was the big day, we were able to make a packet with some practical items, for her. Having now a little baby of 6 weeks old, to care for, makes a her extra vulnerable. Her uncle and his family welcomed her back in.. When we bring a child back to the village, we bring her back to the community... As soon as we arrived, a small crowd gathered and the baby went from hand to hand. It is the community that has to welcome her back as well. We will visit her from time to time...
As Amecet, we not work only with baby's. We still follow a group of vulnerable children (HIV/AIDS and Orphans) even when they go to secondary school. They all have been living in Amecet when they were young and Amecet has helped them through the primary school, when they were living with their relatives and even in secondary school. There is a group of 5 girls in a secondary school in Soroti, they are in boarding and yesterday was the visitation day. There is one visitation day per term (3 months). So families come to school and everywhere people sit in little groups and eat together. Simon's son and daughter are also in the same school, so we were in a big group!
Maybe you remember the picture (left) from 17 days ago, 2 crying miserable little boys. They were weak and malnourished. Today I made the picture above. And we are all amazed about the difference we see in the two boys. They are smiling and playing and Francis, (at the left) is walking everywhere. They are eating good and they love to drink milk, which helps a lot when you are malnourished!!
They even got a new friend, (picture at the right) Alphonse was brought 4 days ago to Amecet. Both parents disappeared and the grandfather cared for him. But he struggled and Alphonse is malnourished now. But even Alphonse can already walk and he walks around and he plays. Our group of toddlers is growing,
We have 4 toddlers again, Raphael is also among them, but he is too sick to walk now. He sits on his blanket and plays sometimes a little with a car or so, but for the rest he can't do much. The doctor gave us morphine, which helps against the pain. We try to make his life as comfortable as we can. If he asks for bananas, he get. The other day we had soda's for our staff meeting and he also wanted soda, we give, he is still eating well, he loves porridge. But it is hard to see him suffering.....
These two little baby's do have their mothers, but they are not able to care for their daughters. Both mothers have a mental problem and the baby's are not safe with them. That is sad, because the mother would be the one to care and protect the baby....
One of them, Jesca (left) was born 11 days ago in a health center somewhere in the village. The nurses of the centre had seen the pregnant lady and she seems not to talk and nobody knew where she came from. They felt pity and took her in the health centre, because she was almost giving birth. It was not all that easy, the lady screamed and got wild, but baby Jesca was born... There was an article in the Ugandan newspaper about her, with a picture of the mother, but nobody reacted.. The Health authorities called Amecet, they were very concerned about the baby, the mother didn't want to breastfeed the baby and was still not talking. They were afraid the mother might just ran off and leave her baby behind. So Simon drove to the village and had a talk with the people in charge, and came back with baby Jesca, (named after the midwife). Now our job starts... Simon took also pictures of the mother, we will also put her picture in the local newspapers, because out of the two words the mother spoke. she must be of this area. We need to get in contact with her relatives......
Around 8 days later, we got a phone call from the hospital in Soroti. A mother with a mental problem, had given birth to a baby girl. They were concern for the baby. We went to the hospital and recognized the mother....we have had already two children from her!! Both of the children were taken in by relatives, so the children are safe, but the mother is still very confused. The nurse needed medicines to treat the baby, I went to buy them and left them with the nurse. The next morning, we got a call to come and get the baby. Simon, our social worker, had contacted already the family of the mother. They didn't know she already had given birth. I went to get the baby, together with Mary and Babrah, our two nurses. But the situation was changed, there were suddenly some relatives showing up and they were not happy with us, being there. After investigation, the ladies were no relatives at all, but one lady had taken the pregnant lady in and cared for her and brought her to the hospital, that is really good, but her motives were not good. The other lady wanted the baby and we think she had already paid money, because she was talking about that she lost money and wanted us to reimburse the money. The ladies left and later the mother also left the hospital, leaving the baby behind. The baby is now in Amecet, I am sure we will be able to find a good home for her.
Today is International Women's Day!! In Uganda it is a Public Holiday, all the school are closed.. But not for us, the women of Amecet, for us it is a normal workday,
But in the afternoon, the men served us a soda and biscuits.... Calvin, Emmanuel and Elias carried the soda's out to the hut where they were welcomed by an applause!!! We missed Simon, who was gone with a child to visit the village and David, who went to the Market to buy vegetables.
Of course there was enough for the men too to enjoy!!
But we let Emmanuel and Calvin fold the diapers, while we enjoyed our soda!!! (we helped them a bit, later).
Frances (left) and David are two new toddlers, brought to Amecet. They are both malnourished. David was brought to Amecet by his mother. She wanted to leave him with us, she came without any papers and we felt it was too risky to take him in, even he needed help. The mother was separated from her husband and had gone back to her own home. We talked with the mother and explained that she should come back with the letter from the local leader and a relative. She did and we talked and decided to take him into Amecet. Yesterday, Frances was brought by the Police. His story is sad, his parents also separated and the mother left, Frances was left with the father and a new stepmother, who had abused him. He is also malnourished and has wounds on his body.
We have seen smiles from David ( he is now 3 days with us) but Frances is not happy at all, he cried the whole night and nothing could stop him, he is angry and irritable. At the moment he sits in a children chair next to me in the office, I found a music box that he likes and he sits with it in his hands. There will be a lot of work to be done, when the boys are healthy and hopefully smiling and playing again, our social workers will work with the family, so that they can both go back to a safe environment.
Today 4 children left us, to live with their new foster families, who were willing to give those 4 children a home and a future!!!! This is a real happy day, all 4 of those children had no family, they came into Amecet with sad stories, but now there is Hope, there is joy and there is a future for each of them! The Probation Officer, Mr. Oluka Amos (at the left on this picture) came to give them officially to their new parents. There was a process before, all the forms are filled, interviews are done, house inspected and today was the official handover.
On Tuesday baby Charles was brought into Amecet. A small baby, who was too weak to drink by him self. We had to feed him by NG tube. The next day we got all the medical papers and we saw that he was a premature baby, who was born 3 weeks too early. The mother had died because of severe bleeding, the health centre where Charles was born, referred them to he hospital, but also there they could not help. The baby had already traveled a lot, before reaching Amecet. At first we thought he was doing well, he only vomited every time after feeding, so we reduced the amount of milk we gave and fed him more frequently, but on Friday morning he had problems breathing. We went to the doctor and he was started on several IV medicines and we also put him on our oxygen machine. It looked he was doing better, but this morning at around 6.45 am, he suddenly died. It was a shock, there was not much struggle, he just stopped, while still on the oxygen. We had to call the family and get a small coffin in town.
A lot is going on in Amecet. This is baby Christine, she was born in the hospital, where her mother passed away, after a Cesarean. The family brought Christine 18 hours later, to Amecet. By that time Christine was dehydrated and had fever. She was weak and miserable. We took her to the doctor and she was put on IV fluids and IV medication. We had to feed her by NG tube, because she was too weak to drink from the bottle. We are now one week further and she is doing better, the fever is gone, the skin is better, not so dry, we still feed her via the NG tube, because she can drink only 10 or 15 ml.by herself. But I feel, that we won this battle (don't know how many battles are around the corner...).
In the last blog I wrote about the 2 Raphael's, this blog goes about one of them, the small Raphael, who is still with us in Amecet. I wrote that we went to the hospital to let the doctor take a biopsy from one of his glands and we have been waiting for the result. The result I got back yesterday..... and it was very sad news, Raphael has Cancer and it is a very advanced stage.... We have been afraid of this, when he came in Amecet on November 20,2018, we took him even the same day to the doctor and the day after that, to the HIV clinic, where he was started on ARV's. There have been x-rays, scan's, blood tests and they "hoped" that it would be TB, Raphael was started on anti TB drugs, but now it came back to us, black on white, that it is Cancer.... According to the doctor it is advanced and too far gone to start treatment.. Raphael has no parents, his father was murdered and his mother died of AIDS, she never went for treatment or ARV's and never took Raphael for treatment either. At the burial of the mother, there was a clan meeting and the clan decided that Raphael would be given to his auntie. But they saw how sick he was, so they first brought him to Amecet. The auntie came to visit Raphael twice, she is a kind lady, but we don't know how she shall react when she hears how sick Raphael really is. I am so sad about him, he is starting to adjust, smile and talk. he plays a bit, but he is too weak to really play. Someone gave him this cap, which you see on the picture, he loves that cap, and even put it up when he sits on the potty!! It stays in his bed during the night!! We have to talk with the auntie, to hear what she thinks of this, but Raphael might stay a bit longer with us and I pray we can love and care for him, give him a banana party every week (he loves bananas) and cuddle with him and pray over him when he is sick and help him when needed. Pls. join us in prayer for this precious boy!!
This is the first Raphael (12 years old), he was brought to Amecet in August 2018. He was very weak, sick and malnourished. He is HIV+ and we took him the same day to the doctor to do tests and to see how bad it was. His Viral load (load of the HIV virus in the blood) was over 3,000,000 (normally it should be undetected). He was really very sick. He got the right medicines and also medicines for several infections. At first we thought that it was going well, until we started to see strange behavior. We took him to the Psychiatric ward and the doctor there diagnosed: HIV related psychosis!! He got more medicines and was now spaced out, so the medicines were changed. I was hesitated about keeping him in Amecet, with all the little baby's, was it safe??? We decided that we would give him a chance, but that we, as staff, always needed to watch him, where he was and what he was doing.... Now, looking back, I am so happy that we made that decision, it was tough in the beginning, but he picked up, got more peaceful, happy, started to eat himself, (we even had to give him a NG tube, because he refused to eat!) Started to play a bit, we had to go back to the doctor several times and the medicines for the psychosis were getting less and less... He wanted to go to school, and we started with half days, we informed the teacher and everything went well!! He was part of the Amun week en he went back home to his father and sister. In February he will go to a boarding school and he is doing so well. I was in the hospital this week and the nurses called me back, they told me that the last Viral load of Raphael came back and it was only 160,000!!! This is amazing!!!
If you compare those two pictures, the one left and the one from last week at the top of this blog, only 5 months difference!! We are so happy this boy has his life back! Of course he has to keep taking his ARV medicines every day, but he has definitely a future ahead of him!
Last night, I got a phone call from the Police, they were standing in front of the Amecet gate, but no one opened the gate for them. I called Amecet and they went to open the gate, the Police brought, together with a nurse from Soroti Hospital, a small 5 day old baby for safe keeping. The baby was born on the first on January in Soroti Hospital by a Cesarean operation. Someone had stolen the baby from the bed. The mother was discharged and went home, while the Police tried to trace for the baby. And they succeeded!!! So last night they got the baby and arrested the woman who had taken the child. They brought the baby to Amecet for care and safety. This morning a big group of people (16) came into Amecet, it was the Police and the father and mother of the baby, together with grandfathers, clan leaders of both sides (fathers and mothers side). It was such a joy to lay the little boy into the arms of the mother!! She was so happy, she had still a lot of pain from the operation, but she was smiling and shining all over when she saw her little son. After some talking the group left, with the little baby and they were very happy and thankful!!
James was born on Friday, December 28 at home, in a tiny hut, deep in the village. Someone helped his mother, but after he was born, things went terrible wrong... ..his mother started to bleed, the family looked for a way to get her (and James) to the nearby Health centre, but his mother passed away on the way to the centre..... The family turned back home and the next morning the family decided to bring James to Amecet, they had heard that they looked after baby's. They organized a motorbike and an uncle and an auntie started the 2,5 hour journey on the motorbike, with the tiny baby. (this was Saturday). It was my free day, so I got a phone call, that a new baby had arrived. I told them to take the baby in Amecet and just take all the details. One hour later, Dominique called, the baby was very small and very cold. The doctor of the neighbour's clinic had been called to see him, but we had to first try to warm him up, the temperature was even lower than the thermometer could read. The weight of the baby was 1.140 kg., this baby was very premature, even the family had told us that he was maybe 1 month early...
WE WISH YOU ALL A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS, ENJOYING BEING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND REMEMBERING THE GIFT OF LIFE, THE SON OF GOD, BORN TO GIVE US LIFE!!! WE PRAY FOR A GOOD LIFE IN 2019!!!
Friday was the official ending of the Amun week. In the morning we had a teaching about the good of education, with Elias and Andrew. Then the groups went to practice a drama about one of the lessons they have had. And after one hour they presented the drama's in the big group. It was fun to see the creativity of the different age groups about HIV/AIDS, honesty and family life. Of course we made our group picture and we had a nice meal with a soda. We also had the official ending in a big circle and giving our struggles to God, in believe that He will help us with the,m, because: everything is possible when I believe!!!!
Yesterday we talked a lot about HIV/AIDS. We did the first session in a quiz form, so that they were teaching each other. They really know a lot about HIV/AIDS. And it was good to see them explaining to one another. We talked about the ARV medicines, all the children are on ARV's, they know where they talk about... Then we had a lesson about acceptance, that was a tough one. It is hard to accept your status, it is a process and we talked about the phases of that process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then the last one acceptance. The last item was: disclosure of your status to others, that was difficult, the children are afraid to be rejected. Many of them have been rejected so much in their life.. We gave some steps they could take. In the afternoon we had our four peer groups and they all talked a lot about the teaching from that morning. They were very open and shared their own experiences. Some were very painful.
There was a lot of rain yesterday, we even had to all pick our chair and run to the shelter, because we didn't trust the tent. But the programme went on and we could even do a game in the afternoon, when it was dry again.
Today we started with singing clapping and dancing, we only had half of the tent, because the other half had collapsed. Yesterday a big rainfall came down, just after our games and the tent fell. They came with new poles and while we were singing the tent was set up again. Julius is leading the singing, together with Sharon and Samuel.
Every year we invite all the older HIV+ children, who have been with us before in Amecet, for the Amun week. A week full of teaching, singing, sharing and having fun together. This year the theme is: "all things are possible, when I believe" and we gave them all a T shirt with the theme at the back. The children arrived on Saturday, they are all staying in Amun home, with some in Amecet home. We have a tent in the compound of Amun home, in the tent are all the meetings. We have 50 children staying with us, so we got extra staff to help with this event from the YWAM base. It is such a joy to see them back, some are now teenagers and they are going to secondary school. To thin k that some were baby's when they were in Amecet, or toddlers. To see them all back gives me such an encouragement, all the children are HIV+ and they all are taking their ARV's, but they are a testimony that it is possible, that they can live normal lives. Of course it is not always easy, there are problems and specially when they are getting older. We try to listen to them and also to give advice and encouragement,. There are also children from 10, 11 and 12 years old, they have still to learn a lot, but it is so good to see the older children, take care of the young one's.
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