Sunday, 6 March 2011

Karibu, Libby

I'm oh so  h-a-p-p-y to be back with the Happy House family and how things have changed since I was last here in the autumn, writes Elizabeth Gomm.

The children are all so settled,even the newest  arrivals, and they gave me just the best welcome (karibu) in the world.

Tired after a three hour delay and a long and uncomfortable flight,  their smiles were just the tonic I needed!

 The babies were resting on the banda when I arrived, sleeping beauties most of them, others, stirring from a nap, were bright as buttons and ready to play. Familiar little faces, Harry (pictured), Brian, Natasha, Sauma and Pendo, Brian,  Stevie , Charity and Linus have come on so l eaps and bounds– a testimony to that Happy House magic that works so well. The tiniest newbies David and Joseph are totally adorable, perfect in every way, and just so,so tiny.

I was eager to see the new nursery school – looking every inch as Sue said it would.  The classrooms as colourful, imaginative and lively as any good school  in the UK .

The teachers , handpicked by Sue, are what I expected – good at what they have been trained to do and open to the ideas and methods, new to Kenya, that Sue is introducing here. They are enjoying  a journey of discovery and appreciating that  children can learn through play.

The kids chorus,  "Libby, Libby, welcome, welcome"  as I walk from one classroom to another.  They run up to give me hugs and kisses and I know I am truly as much a part of their family as they are of mine.

Under the makuti roofed terrace some of the littles are taking a nap or just waking up, I sit down on one of the beds. Pendo, my truly scrumptuous sponsor child, jumps up  on to my lap and  snuggles in close. Her elder sister Lily starts plaiting my hair. Other kids join us and start singing songs for me – going through a repertoire of five or six, totally unprompted.

For me, these were  the most magical moments. To feel totally accepted  and loved by these children,  every one so special, makes me feel  humbled, priviliged and joyful. Now as they are singing, my heart sings too.

The kids are all looking so well. They  have grown so much and their skin glows.  Daily doses of vitamins (thanks to all those who responded to our appeal by donating multi-vits ) have ensured they are in the best of health.  Like Tigger, they bounce! Everyone has noticed the difference, specially cook, Alice, and  Isaac, who balances the books, as their appetites have doubled too!

We do still need vitamin syrup for the babies, so if anyone is coming out to visit, or who could post some,  a few bottles would be so appreciated. Ask your pharmacist to recommend what is best for under threes, and also for prem babies.

Inside the Happy House looks more than ever a family home and a year on that's what it is – home.

Mama Sue and Papa Dave head the family.  They are their kids and they are as protective, encouraging,  and loving as any good parents can be.  They have built a good team of people they can trust at the Happy House , people who share their mission – to give their children every opportunity to grow and flourish in a the happiest  of places, the Happy House.