Each strand, an excited Happy House child, or member of staff.
Our kids, bright and shiny as polished ebony, let out a huge cheer of delight when they caught sight of their Mama and Papa stepping out through the arrivals gate,
What a colourful spectacle our family made… kids, house mums, teachers, Masai security man in full regalia, gardeners, and , of course, Uncle Billy, our social worker, and Uncle Isaac, our book keeper.
I doubt Mombasa Airport has ever seen anything quite like it, our children singing and dancing, everyone kissing and shaking hands and welcoming their Mama, Papa and Auntie Libby back home to them at last.
Six months is a long time in a child’s life, and how they have grown. Babies have become little boys and girls and are chattering away, some are excited to show off their new “big’’ teeth whilst others, still waiting for them to grow, are trying to hide the gaps!
From the arrivals, through the car park, to the waiting transport the Happy House family was a joyful procession - everyone singing and dancing.
The happiness was infectious. Everyone we passed broke into a smile.
For Mama, Papa, and Auntie Libby too, to know that they are so loved is both emotional and humbling.
Mama and Papa have created this wonderful family, putting hope where once there was only despair. Their reward is total and unconditional love.
From the airport we started out two hour journey back home, stopping off to the delight of the kids at a café where Papa ordered sodas for everyone.
Mama and Papa don’t have a moment’s concern about taking 50 + kids into a café, everyone is so well behaved and so well mannered. The older ones helping the little ones.
Whether it was pineapple, blackcurrant or cola, everyone was happy .. nobody moaned they wanted something different and toddlers, like Harry, who had never seen a drinking straw before, soon got the hang of it when they realised what rewards it could bring!
The kids were such welcome guests the manager came to thank Mama and Papa for bringing them!
Then it was back aboard the bus, hired from Malindi High School, to finish the journey with singing all the way.
The Happy House gates were adorned with flowers and those who had stayed at home to prepare lunch and to look after the babies too small to make the journey, gathered to greet us.
David, who a year ago was giving us great concern because he was just such a floppy listless one-year-old, was standing up in the banda - as bright and eager as all his brothers and sisters to say hi to Mama and Papa.
Tables were laid for a special occasion and a delicious pilau and salad was served to everyone. The kids, hungry after such a long trip, polished it off in no time, and then Uncle Josphat produced a Welcome Home cake with Mama taking the honour of cutting it into portions for everyone.
There was so much laughter, so many smiles, as each and everyone wanted to tell Mama and Papa their news.
They are back, for now, where they belong and all is well.
Today is the day
Our kids want to welcome Mama and Papa home, Happy House style … with a party.
Parties are something kids in Europe take for granted, but for our children they are something so special.
Mama, talking to her kids from the UK via Skype, told them that it was fine by her if they put on a party, but that the kids should organise it for themselves.
And they have. It’s happening today and it’s top secret. Mama and Papa have been allowed to buy the sausages for hotdogs (something our kids haven’t tasted before) but apart from that we know nothing.
The staff have been told to prepare for a traditional dance competition versus the kids, but the rest of the programme is top secret. All rehearsals have been done in secret.
Nobody will spill the beans. Mama, Papa and Auntie Libby have all tried to get some inside information but have all met with a brick wall.
Parties mean so much to our family. Everyone of our kids has come to us with so much emotional baggage, we can’t erase those memories but we can hope to outweigh the bad with the good - by creating memories of happy occasions and family celebrations Putting fun where once there was only fear.
When we left yesterday they were busy putting up the decorations.
It’s going to be an exciting day. Anything can happen so, please, watch this space!