Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas Day

The Happy House Family had the most magical Christmas Day.  Santa arrived at 9 am with a sack full of presents. It was so wonderful as the children have never celebrated Christmas before. We sat them all down and asked them to listen for bells as that would be the sign that Santa was on his way. Lynn Mcclusky and Rose were Santa Little Helpers, as they walked through the court yard with the sack of presents ringing the bells with Santa following the children went mad!! He's here he's here, everyone was shouting !! It was lovely as presents were distributed, if clothes were received they had to be put on immediately, the little ones, Pendo mwende and Karembo received  fairy dresses bought by Lynn & Elizabeth Gomm for a pound each, the pleasure those dresses gave our little girls was worth a million pounds. As I was putting a dress on Mwende there was karembo and Pendo stood in their knickers waiting to be turned into a fairy princess! The children received beads, watches, hair bands, puzzles and much much more, everyone was delighted. Juice, biscuits, sweets and cake was passed around, then the dancing started. It never ceases to amaze me how everyone can dance. Some of our children have come home to us from the most remote areas where it has been impossible for them ever to see anyone disco dancing yet they can all do it! Lunch was turkey with pilau rice, followed by fresh fruit salad, delicious !
Today, some of the children are leaving us to go on home visits. Maybe to see  Grandma or auntie, in some cases to see a Mum who was physically and mentally unable to take care of her children. We do encourage the children and families to stay in contact with each other, our children need to know who and where they have come from, I feel this is very important. Billy is excellent, he always checks with the family first to see if the children can visit. He takes the children and makes sure the family can care for the children for 3 or in some cases 6 days. Billy will also go around during the week to make sure the children are alright and being looked after. It is an awful time for me personally, I worry so much about them. Are they being looked after, are they happy, are they getting washed properly and cleaning their teeth, as any Mum worries about her children when they are away from home. The first time some of the children went earlier in the year I said to Billy what if they don't want to come back. He looked at me and simply said 'They'll be back ' Sure enough when it was time to come 'home' to us everyone was excited to be back, eager to tell us the the stories from home. Some had been given chicken pilau by Grandma it was the highlight of their visit, yet they have it twice a week here. I think it meant how welcome they were, special guests! 19 children will remain with us for the rest of the holiday.
Tomorrow 3 new teachers will start work to prepare our new Nursery School for opening on the 3rd of January, it is a very exciting prospect. I want this school to be a flagship for Nursery education, as we have made the Happy House for how children should be cared for. The education system here can be very old fashioned and dated, when we interviewed the teachers we made sure they were flexible to different teaching methods. None of them have every taught in a school that has DVD's for education, computers, books, coloured pencils and paper. Yes, I can hear you say, but those are only the basics any school has. Not here I am afraid. Our Happy House Kids have learnt English so fast from watching DVD's, they have learnt to count by singing songs such as 1 2 3 4 5 Once I caught a fish alive. Songs never heard here before. Susan & Coral who have been such a fantastic help with the babies, setting up routines and encouraging the Mums and Aunties to play with the children, to play music and talk to them all the time. The children are so much brighter and happier, they are now going to work with the teachers to prepare the classrooms with posters  and lots of educational information. The furniture sent to us by Terry Burns and his organisation Furniture for Education has been arranged in the classrooms. Some of the tables have been cut down to be the right size for the different age groups. We have put machuti, ( Thatched roof ) over an area to make two outside learning areas. We are also building a large banda as an outside classroom. When we get the school financially stable I will then be able to move forward with my plan to bring  children in for free education. Children who have no chance of any education. I will explain more about that plan as we move forward with the School. Dave has been out and about putting posters in shops, restaurants, in hotel staff rooms to let the community know we will be opening soon. We have arranged an open day for Thursday so we can show parents what we have to offer by way of the best education for their children. Wish us luck!!!