Thursday, 20 December 2012

A different kind of Christmas ..

Sisters Jane and Zawadi
Our Happy House children have joined our family for very many reasons. 
Some do have family members, beyond the Happy House and , when it is in achild's interests, contact with relatives is maintained and encouraged.
It is important that they know who they are, where they have come from, and that they are loved by grandparents, aunties, and in some cases a parent.
A wave from Karembo, John and Sifa 
Because a relative cannot provide for the daily needs of a child, 365 days a year, it doesn't mean that they don't care. They are victims of circumstance in a country where abject poverty is commonplace.
If there is no breadwinner in a family, there is no bread to eat. 
Uncle Billy, our very caring and highly skilled social worker,  keeps in touch with relatives and , in school holidays, arranges ''home'' visits.
He checks out all the details to ensure that each child will be well cared for and that there will be enough for them to eat.
The Happy House is home to our kids, but they still want and look forward to going to stay with relatives, albeit in a world that is very different from the one they are now used to.
A gift from Margaret
For the first time a number of our children have gone to visit relatives for Christmas, after asking Mama Sue if they could. Of course, she agreed, knowing and trusting Uncle Billy's assessment of each individual case.
Uncle Billy takes up the story:  ''The kids were requesting to spend Christmas in their various homes and to come back on new year's day. This was brought up at the meeting we always do prior to home visits and I thought they have a point.
They were all so excited after Mama's nod on Skype since they went straight 
to wash their bags which were nice and packed by the next morning! 
Christmas is a special time in the villages where lots of family 
get-togethers are planned with people having enough to eat and  to make 
I feel it is a  good for us to allow them to spend Christmas with their 
folks at home having had three distinct Christmas parties in the Happy 
House with us all.  I am sure they will  have loads to share about Santa  and 
goody bags not forgetting the elves!
The home-visits have been emphasized in the children's  services meetings whereby 
those who can't be signed out by blood relations can be taken home by 
willing and able staff members since they play a great custodial role as 
immediate family members

This gives those children an opportunity to see functional smaller/ nuclear families with the varying roles of each party.
In the meantime,those who can't leave as yet are well prepared psychologically since they have appreciated the fact that life doesn't always turn out the same to each of us at the same time. 

Moreover they know that we love and care and are a real family in spite of the odds.''
There was great excitement when relatives arrived to collect the children  who, as Uncle Billy said, were all packed and ready to go.
As you can see they were dressed in their best clothes and so were the relatives who came to collect them.
With only 31 children left at the Happy House it's much quieter, but Uncle Billy and the family team will make sure that they have a fun time and that spirits are kept running high until everyone is back safe and sound with stories to tell..