Sunday, 1 January 2012

A New Year beckons

In this very special New Year's Day messsage, Mama Sue reflects on another incredible year at the Happy House. 
Mama Sue and Papa Dave will be in the UK in March  for our charity night in Blackpool on  Friday, March 16,  and would love to see you there if you can make it.
Mama Sue writes:
A few months ago on a very hectic day at the Happy House, I turned to Preshca our head House Mum and said:
'Preshca how did I end up in the middle of Africa looking after 53 children?' 
She calmly replied: 'It was a miracle Mama".
I stood and looked around me at the children, the gardens the Happy House and ,yes, I think she was right. 
I have been given the best job in the entire world.
2011, has been such a busy year, full of laughter and ,yes, some tears.
So many different situations have arisen, so many decisions to be made and so many children that needed to be loved. 
Some have stayed at the Happy House and others have passed through, as families get themselves back on track.  Baby Joe came for 3 months after his Mum died giving birth and his Dad just couldn't cope. He is now back in a very caring family. 
We rescued six children from a terrible home here in Watamu after the children had come crying at the gate, to tell Uncle Billy, our very caring Social Worker, how there were being mistreated. In time Billy traced their families and they were all re-united. 
With the help of the Children's office in Malindi we took the case to court, as we believed the children were being trafficked. It was the first such case ever to go to court in Kenya.
 It is no use being sat here in the beautiful Happy House saying we care for children and then when a very difficult situation arises we do nothing, we had to stand up and be counted.
 In February we went to Malindi hospital to pick up baby David, his Mum had abandoned him in the hospital. He was so tiny and frail as his Mum had been an alcoholic. As he developed I knew something was not quite as it should be with David. In November after many visits to different doctors he was diagnosed as a Downs baby. At the hospital they said to me 'Just take him home.' And do what?  Just love him as best we can? I cried oh how I cried.
Billy said, 'Right get your baby, lets go! ' By the time we had travelled the 40 minuets back to the Happy House we had a plan.
We knew that with our love and care David would be the BEST he could be in our very caring and loving family.
 Elizabeth contacted the Downs Association who were extremely helpful. An exercise system was arranged for David who can now sit up, loves his baby walker, and has the most beautiful smile. He is a happy baby, with lots of love to give. We explained the the kids that they now had a very special brother who would need their help and extra love, and that is just what he gets from everyone.
He can now do High Five! 
We were called by the Children's Office to a rescue of children who were living in a slum in Malindi. Before we saw the children we had agreed with that we could take three of the children all under five years, but when we saw the state of everything, Billy and I looked at each other, we both knew we could not leave the others there, so home we came with all five kids.
 Now when we are called out Papa Dave will say to us 'Don't bring more than six!'  
In June twins Peter and Paul came home and in July Jonathan and James. In July Valentina came to stay but has now gone to live with the Grandmother and in November a baby was found in some bushes thrown away the day she was born, we called her Elizabeth Anne. After a few weeks her Dad who had been working in Uganda came for her, the Mum had disappeared.  
In January of 2011 we opened our own Nursery School as I was unhappy with how the children were being taught and treated. The change in our kids was breathtaking. 
After just two weeks they were laughing, chattering and being children. We also have local children attending the school, who pay fees, this enables the school to be self supporting. In time we will be bringing children in on free child places, children who have no chance of any type of education. If a child can read, write, add up and know their tables at least they have an opportunity. An opportunity to grab hold and run with life.
 Education is the road out of poverty for so many children. In January 2012 we will be opening the first 3 classes of our Primary School. We hope, no that's wrong we don't hope, we know in time we will have all eight of the classes needed. We have received a donation from a Foundation that has supported for the past three years that will enable us to start building the new school. As always it comes down to the financial situation.
The water pump blew up, and a new one was going cost £650 , a very unexpected expense.  An item was put on the blog and within 24 hours a very kind supporter had paid the £650 into Just Giving. It is due to kindness and generosity of so many people that makes our very worthwhile work with the children possible. 
Feeding the children is very costly so we decided we needed greenhouses, again due to a generous donation we now have 4, where we are growing much of the food needed for 53 ever hungry mouths. More greenhouses are needed.
Children come home to us in a terrible state both physically and mentally. They have been starved, neglected, beaten abused in every possible way. It never ceases to amaze us how soon the children fit into our family life. When we are bringing new children home we phone ahead to tell Prescha that the kids have a new brother or sister on the way. 
As we blow the car horn and the gate opens to let us in the children come running to the car, singing their welcome song. They can never wait to see who is latest Happy House Kid
If it's a baby the girls all want to hold him if it is a young girl the sisters gather around deciding who has a spare bed in their room, if a boy he is welcomed usually by asking if he plays football. Within an hour the new arrival is showered and dressed in clothes given by the others until we can organize everything.
By the next morning it as though the new arrival has been at home for a month. I know the older children  remember all to well when they were the one being brought by strangers to a new home, they were hungry, frightened and terrified of the unknown, now it their turn to help another to understand that they are at last safe, that they will be loved and well cared for. 
We have never had any child who has been ungrateful, who has caused problems or made demands. We talk to our children about everything and anything. 
Uncle Billy gives counseling as and when it is needed. Some want to talk about what has happened some shut it out completely. If some have come with brothers they don't want to be with them as it reminds them of the terrible times they have come through together. In time with love and support the wounds heal inside and out and the children bond with the Happy House Family.
As we go forward into 2012 our family will grow in size and in numbers, there are so many children who need our help. With your continued help and support I know the Happy House Family and the schools with go from strength to strength.
 I cannot mention everyone by name, but I want to thank you each and every one of you for caring. To those of you who have the important job of being a sponsor to one of our Happy House Kids, or to those raise funds  or send donations to keep our bills paid, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Your help and support is greatly needed and truly appreciated.
Have a very Happy and Healthy 2012.
Lots of Love & best wishes,
Mama Sue, Papa Dave & The Happy House Family xxxxx