Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Every penny counts!

Sue, as we know, has so many strengths and keeping a tight rein on the purse strings is one of them.
Her ever-watchful eye ensures that every penny raised is a penny well spent.
There is no unnecessary expenditure, nor waste, and keeping the books balanced on such a tight budget is a constant worry for her.
After the wage bill, the two main expenses are food and electricity.  Electricity comes in at £200 a month (the equivalent of 10 sponsorship payments), food also costs £200 - so with the two together 20 monthly sponsorships accounted for before a single wage is paid.
Keeping the costs down and ensuring your money is used to maximum effect is crucial.  Concerned by the rising costs of electricity, Sue called in the Masai askaris, responsible for security, to ask them whether they thought there was anyway of reducing the costs of power used during the hours of darkness.
Delighted to be asked for their opinion, they came to an agreement with Sue that every other outside bulb could be removed and walked round to show her which ones could go without compromising security.
They now patrol with pangas and torches to ensure that everyone can sleep in safety.
When it comes to keeping the food bill down, Papa Dave is a legend. Every shopkeeper in Watamu and every stallholder in Malindi knows that he drives a hard bargain. Why? "It's for the children!".
You also know that they respect him for it.
He's become a haggler of the highest order, always good humoured and fair, and works his socks off to get a few shillings off here and there.
If he's not happy with what he's offered at one stall he'll go to another, bargaining with banter, until the price is right.  It doesn't matter how much hard work or how hot it is,  Determined Dealer Dave does not give in!
But at the end of every week, those shillings saved add up to a considerable amount and his techniques and results impress everyone in the admin team.
Back home at the Happy House , he is equally as vigilant when it comes to getting the best out of the garden - the more we grow the lower our food bill. A greenhouse system would be a  huge outlay, but in the long run, it would bring a massive saving. And you know that when we have raised the money and  are in a position to go ahead and buy one - Papa will ensure that it comes in at a good price, and that every inch of space will be utilised.
A shopping trip with Papa Dave is exhausting, but you come back full of admiration for the man who, just like his Mama Sue, wants only the best for their kids.
So for me, or anyone like me fundraising for the Happy House in the UK, when I am asked "Where does the money go?", I can say, hand on heart, every penny goes to the children.
Our strength is our traceability and our transparency.
What given for our kids, goes to our kids.