Sunday, 30 June 2013

Plotting and planting

Sunday is the day our Happy House kids take over the blog  and this week we have a keen young farmer doing the writing.

This is Sifa. I am writing a blog about Young Farmers:
We  have  been   doing  many  things  at  the  garden.
Sifa
All  the  big ones  normally  go  to  the  garden  on  Sundays. We  planted  cucumber  and  'cheery' tomatoes. 
Uncle  Tevin   is  very  happy   to  see  us  doing  well  at  the  garden. And  also  Hncle  Tevin does not   have to come and  to call  us,  as we  are  arranging ourselves  in  two  groups. We  are  behaving  well  and Uncle Tevin  is not  having to  come to  tell  us  that  is  time  for  garden  as we are looking at the time and  we all ready know.
 When  we go  there  we  are  looking   to take the  things  that  we  are  going  to use them.
Some  of  us  normally  take  the tools to  show  that  they  are  ready  to  work. 
And  if we  go  there we  are  asking  "What we are  going  to  do   next?"
And  on  Sunday  we  planted   maize  only.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Friendship on the cards from Rotakids


 The Happy House is groundbreaking in its own right, but yesterday we were thrilled to be involved in groundbreaking event, a world first for Rotary International.
The global service organisation, which has more than two million members in 20+ countries, has a junior wing for primary school children, called Rotakids.
And yesterday, the very first Rotakids conference in the world was held for participating schools from Lancashire and Cumbria, Rotary District 1190.
The gathering at Lancaster University took the theme of Peace Through Service, and was hosted by the District and organised by District Rotakids Coordinator, Margaret Lund, a member of Fleetwood Rotary, with lots of help from fellow Fleetwood members and others from around the region.
The Happy House was one of several organisations asked to be involved in the workshops held during the morning.
Janet, Irene and Sandra
In our workshop, groups of children took part in three 45-minute sessions when they each made friendship cards for two Happy House kids.
Elizabeth Gomm  made a short presentation to each group to tell them a little about our family and showed them an extract of our video "A Very Special Job" so they could see Mama, Papa and the kids at the Happy House.
Elizabeth gave them  pictures to take home of the children they were making their cards for, to make it more meaningful for them.
Oliver Hammond
Fleetwood Rotarians Janet Simpson,who is in Sudi's sponsor family; Sandra Foulkes, who is in Pendo and Saumu's family, and Irene Pollitt, who is in Abu's family, arranged the workshop and the three groups of children who took part all had a lovely time making lovely cards.
Margaret Lund
Elizabeth was able to tell each child a little more about the children they were making cards for - they were all so interested and enthusiastic.
Fleetwood Rotary has been a huge support to Mama Sue, Papa Dave and our family for a number of years. Retiring District Governor David Simpson, from Fleetwood, invited Mama to speak at their conference in Scarborough where her impassioned speech brought us so many new friends from Rotary Clubs around the region.
Now they have won us more friends, Rotarians of the future, who will, we hope, be eager to know more about our charity and want to become Happy House ambassadors in their schools and wherever they go on to in life.
Lucy Shannon and Elise Frankland
Well done to Margaret (who is in Happy's sponsor family) and all her fellow Rotarians who helped make this such a wonderful event.
And thank you to every child who made cards for one of our kids ... we know just how excited they will all be to get a card from a new friend in the UK.
And every card will become a treasured possession, another precious memento of childhood for their memory boxes..
L:eft: District Governor, David Simpson calls in for a photo-call at one of our Happy House workshops.

Mama on air
How good to hear our Mama Sue talking to Brett Davison on BBC Radio Lancashire about the importance of education to children in the developing world. 
Mama, who developed three schools in Watamu, before opening the  Happy House, children's home and its two schools, knows just how every child in Kenya prizes an education - knowing that, for most, it is their only road out of poverty.
Radio Lancashire couldn't have found a better person to comment on this particular topic.
If you missed Sue on the radio, it can be picked up here, she is about 25 mins into the programme. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01b8fkj#programme-broadcasts

Friday, 28 June 2013

Birthday boy and girl

 Harry has been our little headliner this week, but he was not the only child to receive a birthday gift and greetings at Kidz Club.
Jedida was also celebrating her birthday and looks very happy with her little bag of gifts.
Everyone in the family joined in to sing Happy Birthday and How Old Are You Now? and there were cheers and applause for our birthday boy and girl.
Lots of love to both of you from all the Happy House family around the world.
Ticket time
Please be sure of getting your ticket for our Happy House Barbecue and Garden Party, hosted by Steve and Cherith Cushing, aat Hawes House Farm, off Chain Lane, Staining, Blackpool, on SATURDAY, JULY 13, from 3pm. It will have a TV Game Show theme and the first game will be at 3.30pm, BBQ 5pm to 7pm Further game shows from 7pm. Raffle, quizzes etc.
By ticket only,  £10 (under 12s free) from sue@childrenofwatamu.net
 Phone 07946611780 or 07961544439 for directions

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Birthday boy wins hearts

 Handsome Harry won the hearts of Kirkham United Reformed Church Ladies Evening Group.
Elizabeth Gomm told them Harry's story, on the eve of his third birthday, when she went along to speak about the Happy House, and had them crying and laughing!
They were amazed and inspired by all Mama Sue has achieved, and in awe of her total dedication and devotion to saving and transforming the lives of so many vulnerable children.

 The ladies were delighted to hear Sue talk about her family and to see her, Papa and the Happy House kids on our video A Very Special Job.
They were a lovely audience and very kind too.
By the end of the evening Elizabeth went home with a donation of £30 plus another £60 from the sale of our Happy House bags for life.
Thank you so much for your warm welcome and for your generosity.
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Happy House bags to buy....
Our recycled cotton bags, carrying the Happy House logo, make a lovely gift for a friend, or a treat for yourself.
Our friend Susan is selling them for us online on ebay, with all proceeds coming to the Happy House.
The bags are £5 each plus 75p postage and packaging (within UK)
To order visit: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/reusable-recycled-cotton-fabric-shopping-bag-Children-Watamu-Happy-House-charity-/161052275724?pt=UK_Women_s_Handbags&hash=item257f76b40c

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Our little miracle is three today

Happy, healthy and loved, so loved, our Happy House Harry is three today.
He will spend his birthday in school learning and playing with his little class-mates and, after school, having fun with his 71 "brothers and sisters."
As is our way, he will receive his present and take centre stage for the birthday song at Kidz Club when all  the family, adults and children, are together.
How different his story could have been...
Early in the morning of June 26 three years ago, Harry was , quite literally, rescued from the scrapheap. Eight weeks premature, and fighting for life with every ounce of his tiny being, he was found by a woman who passing by a rubbish tip when she heard a whimper coming from a plastic bag.
Inside, she found a newborn, umbilical cord and placenta still attached, and plucked him to safety.  She was just time, for within a few minutes the dump was covered with scavenging wild dogs. 
This caring lady got him to hospital where, estimated to be eight weeks premature and weighing just 1.5kg, he was to spend his first eight weeks in special care battling to live. His formula milk, medicines, nappies and clothes were all provided by Mama and the Happy House. 
Mama also promised him a home, visited him often, and there was great excitement and joy when he was finally well enough to come home to our Happy House.
Harry Hayward is a little boy with blessings heaped upon him. He captivates the hearts of everyone he meets, when he smiles his cheeky dimples never fail to get everyone around him smiling too.
Two years ago, I was privileged to take Harry to meet the lady who found him. She couldn't believe just how the wisp of life she had clutched to safety in a dirty, blood soaked, carrier bag, had blossomed into a bouncing baby boy. 
"I think God must have a very special job for him" she said.
What the fut has had on every day since.
He was lucky to survive when all the odds were stacked against him, and lucky to have found such a wonderful home and family.
Harry is enjoying a childhood where he can grow and learn,  get up to mischief and into scrapes, know right from wrong, and flourish.  Always knowing that he, like all his brothers and sisters, is loved, unconditionally loved.
Harry is, indeed, a Happy House miracle.
Happy birthday, Harry.
Kirkham URC Ladies
Elizabeth was speaking at Kirkham United Reformed Church Ladies Group last night. Report and picture on tomorrow's blog

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A PTA for Happy House school

Day pupils are an important part of our Happy House school community.
They bring new friendships for our children and new challenges too. Competition is always healthy in any classroom and so having children from a diverse range of backgrounds keeps everyone on their toes.
The parents of our day pupils also have a role to play in school, and to ensure that there is structured involvement and interaction we have just formed a Parent Teacher Association.
Having a PTA is good for any school, and as it is also one of the requirements of being registered as a school  with the Kenyan authorities, we are happy to comply.
The inaugural meeting elected the following class representatives:
Cynthia Madete (baby class), Habil Omondi ( KG1), Jobic Chilumo (KG 2) Leila Musa ( KG 3), Irene Kiluu (Std 1), Monalisa Ng'ang'a ( Std 2)
Rosemary Kahiga (Std 3), Benson Iha (Std 4) and Hanna Karisa. Teachers include :Mr. Athman (H/T) Mr. Mdachi and Madam Tanui.
Rosemary Kahiga was chosen as chairman and primary head teacher, Mr Athman, will be the secretary.
We wish the PTA every success in the future as they work together with Mama and  her management team to take the school forward with continued success.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Dad overjoyed to see his baby

It's six weeks since baby Neema joined our family, and to his great delight her father, John, has travelled to the Happy house to see his youngest daughter.
He was overjoyed to see just how much she has grown and how she is thriving.
John, a casual labourer, was left with newborn Neema and her three elder sisters to care for, when his wife died shortly after giving birth on January 9.
He had enlisted the help of female relatives, but the weight of caring for a newborn, her sisters, and their own families was too much for them.
John, who lives in a meagre mud hut which he and his children share with two goats, realised that he had no hope of coping and asked the local clinic to find help. They called Uncle Billy.
At the start of May, Uncle Billy and some of our older children went to visit the family and it was agreed that Neema should be taken into our care, to give John a chance to reorganise his life with his older girls.
So you can only imagine, his pleasure at seeing his baby girl, who was a poorly little thing when he last saw her, doing so well
Billy said: " John feels indebted to the Happy House and asks God to take it to even greater heights for the great things witnessed in changing the lives of children.."

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Samson, a junior masterchef in the making

Stirring rice in the surfuria
It's half term and when they are not in school our kids like to spend a part of their day helping in their home. Samson, today's guest blogger, has been very busy as he explains:
My  name  is  Samson, I am a writing  blog  about the kitchen
I  was  helping  Uncle  Jospat  to stir  the  soup  and rice and  to  put  the  plates  in  the  store and  then sorting the rice before cooking and  serving  rice  on  the plates so the kids can eat well .
I was helping washing the utensils so  that they may  be  clean  so  in   the  evening  we can  eat  some ugali and  vegetables .
I wash   the  sufuria  and the dishes  and sweep the kitchen  and we  were
cutting tomatoes and  potatoes and water  melon to  give  the small kids  and  the  big  kids. 
That is the blog  from  Samson

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Perfect timing

Another parcel of spoons arrived at the Happy House yesterday ... just in time for lunch!
After a quick wash, and they were put straight into by the kids tucking into rice and beans.
Thank you to all those who have responded to our appeal for polycarbonate cutlery, it will make such a difference to mealtimes for our children.
I know of one or two who have sent some, but please let me know if you have sent a parcel and we can check how much is still on its way and whether we still need more. Email: elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net
Thank you from Mama and all the family for your kindness. We are always touched by your generosity.
Barbecue tickets
Please email Mama for your tickets for Steve and Cherith Cushing's Happy House Barbecue on Saturday, July 13, at Hawes House Farm, off Chain Lane, Staining, near Blackpool.  The event starts at 3pm will have a TV Game Show theme with the first game starting at 3.30pm, the barbecue will be served from 5pm-7pm, with further game shows from 7pm. There will also be a raffle and other attractions. Tickets £10 each (acompanied under 12s free). Tickets from sue@childrenofwatamu.net   Please call 
07946611780 or 07961544439 for details and  directions

Friday, 21 June 2013

Grandmother visits Sudi, Abu and Athman

It was at the end of March that baby Athman  joined our family along with his older sister, Sudi, and brother, Abu.
After their mum and her baby, Athman's twin, died in childbirth, the three little ones were left in the care of their grandmother who could not afford to buy anything more than cow's milk for  premature baby Athman.
 It was making him very poorly and at three weeks old weighed just 1.5kg and was losing weight with every day. 
Flashback to March

She was struggling to provide for Sudi and Abu who had never been to school  or had no likelihood of an education whilst remaining with her. Their elder sister, who was receiving some outside support, was going to school and able to remain with her grandmum.
The grandmother was defeated by her circumstances and was grateful when Uncle Billy, called in by local health workers, offered Happy House care for the three little ones.
They are happy and thriving, and now grandmum and their sister have been to visit them.
Uncle Billy said: " The family is so thankful for the progress they can see in  their children who are now fully adjusted and settled,thanks to the ever potent Happy House magic!''

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Going walkabout

Our children had a lovely walk in countryside from the Happy House to the plot of land earmarked for the semi-independent living accommodation project
They had a lovely time exploring all the treasures of nature and, we are happy to say, both Brian and Natasha delighted in everything around them.
Uncle Billy says: " The little people took a walk to visit the new plot and they had a very good time. Brian could not hide his joy and same to Natasha both who have been very sceptical about beach trips where they would raise hell immediately the family sets feet on the shores.''
Barbecue tickets
Mama Sue is handling ticket sales  for Steve and Cherith Cushing's 
HAPPY HOUSE GARDEN PARTY & BBQ,  JULY 13,  with TV GAME SHOW THEME at Hawes House Farm, off Chain Lane, Staining, Blackpool from 3pm.  First Game Show 3.30pm, BBQ 5pm to 7pm. 
Further Game Shows from 7pm. Raffle, quizzes etc.  Tickets £10 (under 12 free) 
 Email sue@childrenofwatamu.net for tickets, please.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Babies we love you

 Our Happy House babies flourish with praise, encouragement and lots of love.
Every little landmark in life is celebrated with their brothers and sisters and the wider family, and a cause for celebration and smiles.
Baby Neema is just sitting up on her own and received the Star of the Week award at Kidz Club from baby class teacher, Madam Helen.
And our Esther is also getting lots of applause for her very successful attempts to feed herself .
Uncle Billy says:Esther is learning how to use her spoon and  she's doing a good job and certainly enjoying herself, giggling and laughing all the way! ''
Barbecue tickets
Mama Sue is handling ticket sales  for Steve and Cherith Cushing's 
 HAPPY HOUSE GARDEN PARTY & BBQ,  JULY 13,  with TV GAME SHOW THEME 
at Hawes House Farm, off Chain Lane, Staining, Blackpool from 3pm,  first Game Show 3.30pm, 
BBQ 5pm to 7pm.

 Further Game Shows from 7pm. Raffle, quizzes etc, 
 £10 (under 12 free) . Email sue@childrenofwatamu.net for tickets, please.


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Counting the cost of waste

There are all kinds of hidden expenses to running the Happy House.
Maintaining the building, protecting it from the intense sunshine, high humidity, or heavy rains,  is a constant task.
There is always something that needs painting, repairing or, as last resort, replacing!
And then there are the more unpalatable, and costly, jobs to be done. As there is not the luxury of mains sewerage, we have four cesspits which need to be regularly emptied and this has just been done ... bringing with it a bill of £680!
It is an expense we could do without, but so necessary and as we always bargain the best price for the best job, we just have to pay up and bear it.
What's cooking
A chance to say farewell to Mama and Papa before they head home to our family
Mama writes: We  do so hope that you will be able to join Papa and I at Steve and Cherith Cushing's
 HAPPY HOUSE GARDEN PARTY & BBQ,  JULY 13,  with TV GAME SHOW THEME

at Hawes House Farm, off Chain Lane, Staining, Blackpool from 3pm,  first Game Show 3.30pm, BBQ 5pm to 7pm.
 Further Game Shows from 7pm. Raffle, quizzes etc, 

 £10 (under 12 free) Phone 07946611780 or 07961544439 for details and  directions