Amecet Story 3. We had to flee...

Gepubliceerd op 1 mei 2024 om 14:38

2003 was a year full of importance events. In Uganda was Joseph Kony active. he had formed an army, which he called " the Lord's army" and his aim was to conquer the North of Uganda under his command. His army had a lot of kind soldiers, children he had kidnapped and changed into killer machines. Kony was dangerous and in 2003, he had come to the Teso region.  One evening I had talked our Amecet staff, and encouraged them to make a bag with important things and have that bag ready, in case that.... Together with Helen, I started that evening to pack important things for Amecet, the files off the children, medication, clothes, sheets etc. for " in case of that..." of course nothing would happen, but you never know... The days before, Simon and me visited several children deep in the village and every time we heard that the next day Kony had been there... It was scary. The people in the villages all gathered together in the centers of the villages, big camps were build and the local militia, the Arrow Boys, defended the camps. Sometimes people tried to sneak out to their gardens, to get some crops, they were killed by Kony's army, who even lived in the homes of the people. 

Back to that evening in June 2003, Helen and I finished packing and  I just drank a soda to rest from it all. Then the shooting started...on our road!! Helen ran into my room: they are shooting.... I had to regain my calmness and then I went out, we put matrasses on the floor in the hall way, where no windows are  and switched out all the lights. We had some foreigners staying with us, they were very scared. I was  a bit, but I had to keep my head cool... we saw big army tanks driving on our road and heard the shootings very near... We called with the YWAM base and early  in the morning we decided to leave and we packed two cars and took all the children and drove to Jinja, where the head office of YWAM is.

In Jinja we were welcomed and we got a place to stay. It was not easy, we got a lot of sickness, I even was afraid that Sarah would die there, I had to sit with her on my lap for many nights, because she couldn't breath when she was lying down. It was much colder than in Soroti, so the first thing we did was going to buy sweaters for all the children.. We also did fun things and went to see Lake Victoria, but if you look good to the faces of the aunties and the children, most  them were scared of so much water...

We stayed in Jinja for 2 weeks, then we got the news that Kony was again far from Soroti, in the North, that it was safe to return.. And so we did, happy to be back in Amecet. Everything there was fine, 2 male staff workers had stayed behind to keep the house. , 

We were back in the beginning of July, in time to celebrate Sarah's 6th birthday in style. My brother and his 2 sons came over and brought us a small play tent and tunnel for Amecet. Of course we had a cake  with six candles. We were still not able to go and visit the children deep in the village, it was still too dangerous to go out and drive on the small village roads.. We lost one of the boys, who had gone back to his family, just before Kony came. he died in one of the refugees camps.

Via the refugee camps, we got that year quite a number of malnourished children. We could help them and bring them back to their parents after some time of rehabilitation.

In November 2003, another very important event took place: we were able to get 5 of our children in a programme where they got free ARV medicines.

ARV's are medicines which slow down the growth of the HIV  virus. It is not a real cure, but when the virus doesn't multiply in the blood, the immunity will go up and the person will be much stronger and be able to function. It is very important to take the medicines at the right time and you can't stop or forget to take them.. It made all the difference for the children.. After a small time of taking the ARV's, they could play all over the place and they were able to go to school!

The ARV's gave us Hope that the children don't have to die and we could do something against this horrible sickness AIDS. The children had a chance to grow up and to be someone in the community.



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