Amecet n'ainapakin (Shelter of Peace) is a ministry of Youth With A Mission (YWAM)in Soroti, Uganda. We are reaching out to HIV infected and affected children. We also are caring for new born babies, who lost their mother after the delivery. The third group of children we help, are children who need a safe place, they mostly come via the police. In this blog we want to share with you our stories, our pictures, our needs and blessings!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Goodbye, till the next Amun week..........

 This morning it was a lot of commotion around our homes. Everybody had to pack and also to clean their rooms!!! The first group left with Simon, back to the villages. Everybody got a Christmas gift to bring home with them. They were very excited to receive the gifts...
 It is a practical gift, with food items for the family: sugar, posho, rice, tea, sweets and beans!!
 And the sweets were soon found, of course, they had to taste them! Children are everywhere the same!!
Another full car leaves the compound! Elias brings them to the different taxi stands, where the vehicles leave for the different villages. Elias pays the transport fare and so everybody gets back home! Even all the sick people were ready to go back home, so the peace is coming back in the home and we are going to prepare for Christmas. We can look back on a very blessed Amun week!

Friday, December 15, 2017

The last day of the Amun week 2017...

 We finished the last day of the Amunweek today. On this picture you see a great group of children and staff together!! We have had a great week, with lots of teaching, games, singing and fun! I am so thankful for the staff, who was always available and when you have such a group of people, it makes the work light! Every year we can count on the YWAM base staff: Julius, Margaret, Jane and Andrew, eyalama noi! This year Frederico and Belin helped with all the games in the afternoon. Together with the Amecet staff: Simon, Elias, Dominique, Erne and Els and then the great help of Francis, Kevina and Mary made the team complete!! We had help from 3 Amecet staff : Peace, Sharon 2 and Sarah 2! 
 We did a lot of singing, with Julius and in the back you see Sarah 2, they made singing a lot of fun!!
 You can see that the children also enjoyed the singing a lot!!
 Today, we had a special lunch: Pilau (rice with special spices and meat) it is a treat for all of us. The lunch was cooked by our kitchen staff and brought in the hut in the Amun compound.
 Of course with a soda....
Everywhere in the compound you see people enjoying the food and the fellowship. It the shade of course, because the weather has been warming up and no rain. It has been a real hot week!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Amunweek 2017, 2: Playing and learning...

It is so great to see how "old friends" find each other again! Some of them see their friends only during the Amun week, or sometimes in the clinic, where they go for their ARV medicines. The children come from different districts and villages. 
The first teaching was given by Dominique and it all went about honesty. She was translated into Areso  by Francis.
 The second teaching was done by Emmanuel and Jane. And they talked about the Family. How to honor your parents, or your care takers. Most of the children are orphans and are living with relatives.  In the afternoon they talked into age groups deeper about the teachings. Very practical problems were discussed and still we pointed back to our theme: If you know God...love others, also your relatives, even  when you are not always fairly treated by them.
And then we are going to play together!! There are organized games, football or people just sit and chat  together....









Musical chairs.... the children love it...and also the staff is joining in. the right picture shows who are the winners, Erne and Simon share the first place!!
What I really like is that everybody plays with everybody! Boys and girls are playing football together, Older and younger children playing together and there is a lot of noise and laughter. 
 In the tent were Cathy and Ruth busy to clear the chairs. And at the end they climbed on the top and were enjoying their rest on "the throne".
At the right you can see one of the girls, Irene, taking a nap on the ground (while the others are playing and making noise). Irene came sick to the Amun week and she is getting treatment. But sometimes she is tired and then she lays down to rest. This is normal, nobody finds it strange, if you are really tired, you can lay down. This year there were not so many sick children. We took several for malaria testing, but only a few were sick. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Amun week in full swing 1

Today is the third day already from this amazing Amun week!! On Sunday we started with a morning meeting, Uncle Steven, from the Soroti YWAM base, shared about the love that God has for us. When we know and understand more of God's love for us, we can love others! We sing and dance a lot, so we have our daily execercises!! Uncle Julius (also from the YWAM Soroti base) plays the guitar and auntie Sarah helps leading the praise songs!
 Yesterday, Auntie Erne shared about how special we are to God and how much He loves us. She had a pot with sweets (GRACE) she shared with us, but to enjoy the sweet (Grace) we have to accept it and take it. It was a creative lesson with lots of small activities.
 Then Uncle Simon was teaching about relationships, what makes a relationship and what destroys it and how we can maintain a relationship. We do all the teachings in two languages, so that also the children who are not so fluent in English, will not miss anything.
 Today the teachings are all about HIV/AIDS. You can see on this picture the 4 photographs hanging from 4 children who were with us the last Amun week.They all past away this year...This is the reality and we have to be real. We remembered them, but we also know that if we are not careful, we have some pictures hanging there again with the next Amun week. We have to face reality. I took the younger children (9-12 years) separate, to give a simple lesson about HIV/AIDS and taking the ARV's medicines every day. Why they need to do that and why it is so important that they understand this. The older children stayed in the tent with Francis, Kevina and Mary teaching them about HIV/AIDS. I am so proud of them, this is also the reality, the children we have brought up, from very sick and very weak, are now teaching other children....They understand so well where they are going through, their teaching is from their own experience....
 They played a drama, Mary was the counsellor and gave the result of the HIV test to Francis...
The children were paying good attention, it was hot and a bit long, but they listened. At this moment they are in 5 different age groups, talking more about the teachings, Francis, Kevina and Mary are also involved in leading those groups, together with our Amecet leadership and some experienced staff from the YWAM Sorori base. We pray this may build them up and encourage them to keep taking their medicines and not to give in to stigma's.
To be continued.........

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Amun week 2017 has started......

Today our Amun week started again! We invited 50 HIV+ children who all have been living with us for some time in the past years. It is great to see them all again and they are also excited to see each other again. They come all from different districts and villages.
 Every year we have a theme, this year the theme came from 1 John 4:7, 8
"If you know God.... love others"
We think about this theme every morning in our devotion time, then we have teaching for the children about HIV, taking their medicines, about acceptance and other subjects which are important to them. We go into groups in the afternoons, to talk things over in smaller groups. Then we have games and sports 
This are some of the youngest children.Happy with their new T-shirt. Today was the arrival day, I will post more of this Amun week later this week!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

37 graduates in our Harmony Pre-school....

Yesterday was the graduation in the YWAM Harmony Pre school. That is a big event, the children graduate from the nursery school and are going next year to the Primary school. I am involved in the leadership of the Harmony schools, so I had to hold a small speech. There were 37 graduates and it is a joy to see those children in their gown and cap, you can't stop yourself wondering, where will they be in 20 years???
It was a colorful happening with sketches, songs, dance and poems.
This year graduated Apio Ruth, one of the girls who has been in Amecet. Dominique is staff in Amecet and is in the process of adopting her! It was so special to see Ruth standing there with her certificate! She came a long way......
And after the cutting of the graduate cake, there was a meal for everybody, the parents, all the children. It was a successful graduation!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Amecet tradition on World Aids day.....

Tradition can be very powerful, and this tradition on World Aids day is one of those meaningful traditions. Every year we come together with all our staff and the children in the home on December 1st. We remember the children who have died this year. It is powerful, and very touching. Again you remember the pain and the struggle of the children who have passed away...
This year there were  so many children, more than I can remember from other years, we had  17 pictures on our table today!!!
As the whole Amecet family, we gather together in our living room, around the table with the pictures of the children who died earlier this year. 
Several staff members share about different children and light the candle for them. It is an emotional time, it is as if you feel the pain again of loosing the child and tears are flowing. Some share very personal, how they loved the child and how the child had touched them. 
These are just 5 of the 17 children we remembered today: 
Baby Arengo Deborah was born pre-mature in the clinic next door. The doctor asked us to help with our incubator, so the baby came in Amecet. But she died the following day, her lungs were not ready, she was so small, 1.2 kg. The mother was devastated, she had lost 5 other babies. She even tried to commit suicide.
George was 9 years old when he was brought to Amecet. he was HIV+ but he also had cancer. He has been for 3 months in Amecet, then he went back to his mother. But he got very sick and was admitted in Soroti hospital, where he died. George had really suffered, he is at peace now.
John Peter was only for 6 weeks in Amecet, he was 14 years old and very sick and malnourished. He was HIV+ and both his parents and 3 older brothers had died of HIV/AIDS. He had TB and got blood transfusion while he was in Amecet. He cried a lot and he wanted his grandmother. He refused to eat. He was angry and unhappy, so we decided that it was better to bring him to his grandmother, just to give him a break. We were planning to go and visit him, but we got a phone call that he had passed away, just after 14 days at home.... 
Esther lived 3 months in Amecet, She was 9 years old and HIV+, she had TB and she didn't like to eat and to take her medicines. She always had infections, malaria, urine tract infection and others.. She got problems with her intestines, hepatitis and she was admitted in Soroti hospital to be operated, after 3 days she was discharged and came back to Amecet. She was very sick, got blood transfusion, medication, the best care we could give, but all in vain, she passed away. This girl suffered so much, we know that she is out of all this pain....
Baby Christine only lived for 2 days. Her mother passed away after giving birth to her. Christine died of respiratory failure and a sepsis. According to the doctor, she had a brain damage from the birth
And these were some of the 17 touching stories we heard today. it brought us all together afresh, we have a job to do in Amecet, these are no failure stories, this is life and we have to deal with it.
Next to the candles, we have 2 vases with colorful flowers from our garden, these are representing the lives from all those children who have made it, who are back home with their relatives, going to school and are happy and healthy. After we had heard all the  17 stories, we have thanked and praised God for all those children, we had a nice time of singing together. And of course we closed our meeting with a nice bottle of soda.... (no party in Uganda without a soda!!)