Sunday, 26 June 2011

Our miracle Harry is ONE

Today, the Happy House family is celebrating a very special birthday - our Harry is ONE!
A first birthday is always a landmark in life to be hallmarked with joy, but for our beautiful, healthy, Harry it is both a milestone and a miracle.
A year ago to this day, he was just the tiniest scrap of a being, cast away on a rubbish tip in a black plastic bag.
At least eight weeks premature, weighing less than 2kg, Harry was fighting for life when a local woman, Warda Salim, passed by the dump where she heard the tiniest whimper.
Something compelled her to look for the source of the sound and she opened the bag to find a baby.
Compassionate Warda was his Good Samaritan that day, taking him to a straight to a midwife and then on to hospital where he was put into a cot, with a heat lamp above, in the special care unit.
Warda (pictured with Harry where she found him) told me, when it was my privilege to reunite her with our Harry back in March, that within a few minutes of her rescuing him the tip was covered with scavenging dogs. 
"The dogs would have been celebrating. I don't think he would have been here now."
Named Moses by the hospital, as is tradition for all foundlings in Kenya, he was a very poorly baby, with the odds stacked against him, but  Harry had an instinct for survival so strong it was not to be beaten.
Sue was alerted to his plight and stepped in immediately offering to meet the costs of all his medication, to provide formula milk,  clothes, nappies and visits, until he was strong enough to join her Happy House family.
It took exactly eight weeks for the little fighter to reach the required 2.2kg, and be well enough, to go home to the ready-made family of "brothers and sisters" eagerly awaiting his arrival.
His legal guardian, Sue  named him Harry as a tribute to both her own father and Dave's.
"So he's Harry Hayward, a very Kenyan name!" she says. 
His first year has brought health concerns,  fears that he may have had hydrocephalus were thankfully proved unfounded.
Today, he is our happy, healthy, handsome, adorable Harry. 
When his face breaks into a smile, he has the most delightful dimples in the world. He loves to laugh , is quick to learn, and grasps life, as he has from the moment of his birth, with two hands.
Harry's story is the epitome of the philosophy on which Sue has built her Happy House.
Five years ago when, as a journalist, I first went to interview her, she described to me her Happy House. It was just the seed of an idea. She had no land, nor plans, and only a little money. 
The Happy House we have today is exactly as she described  to me that day.
Every child in her family of 51, represents a child's life transformed, in many cases a child's life saved.
It is easy when you look on the blog and see our happy, smiling, children,  to forget that each of them has come from the most dire of situations - poverty, neglect, grief or abuse of the very worst kind.
Since the day I first met Sue I have followed, helping in what small way I can, her road to the Happy House. It's been fraught with worry and anxiety, personal pain and hardship, but she's never lost sight of her motivation and her inspiration - the children.
"If the Happy House had all been just for Harry then I know, in my heart, I would still have achieved," she told me yesterday.
"He was such a fragile little whisp, now, today, when I got to the Happy House there he was was in his baby walker pushing everyone out of the way to see who had come!
"He's laughing and smiling and just scrumptious.
"If I had done it all just for this one little life, Libz, I would have achieved. I know I would."
So today, wherever in the world you may be, be thankful that there are people in like Sue, take a moment to count the blessings in your own life and to wish little Harry - our Happy House miracle - a Happy Birthday.
And, to Mama Sue, on behalf of Harry and  all your Happy House kids now and those to come over many more decades in future:
" Thank you for the love put into our lives."
Poem for Harry:
Agnes and Brian Crighton from Perthshire are members of Harry's sponsor family. He was so small and delicate when they first saw him on a chance visit to the Happy House last autumn. He now has a real place in their hearts.
Agnes has sent him this poem for his birthday - a treasure for his memory box. 
                                                                  Today's your first birthday
Everyone's happy and proud
Lets blow out your candle
And sing happy birthday out loud
    Since the day that you came to The Happy House
We have all watched with joy
Just how much you have grown
You handsome little boy
From far away in Scotland
To your home in the sun
  From your sponsor family Agnes and Brian
 Happy Birthday, Harry, now you are ONE