Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Said brings us to 73, now we MUST make room for more

Said and Rukia
There was a loving welcome awaiting a new member of our family, little Said, from his big sister, Rukia..
Said, three, and Rukia, eight, were born to the same single mum.  Sadly ,she died in January.
Since then, her mother  had been trying to look after Said but were struggling to earn a living selling goods on the beach whilst coping with the demands of such a small child. He had not attended school and would have no hope of doing so.
The grandmum, who has visited Rukia regularly since she came to us three ago, asked if we could take Said.
He’s a happy chappie, who has settled in quickly, and is enjoying being in playgroup class in school –  having a big sister around is the icing on his cake!
Said's arrival brings us  to 73 and highlights just how fast our family is growing, but we are just about at our limit for the number we can sleep on the ground floor.
Mama Sue has always said that no child who needs us will ever be turned away. There will always be room for another.
And there are so many in need,  so many kids who need a home and a family, for all kinds of different reasons.
Since we opened our primary school on the first floor in January, we have used rooms, originally planned as bedrooms, for our school as computer room, library, staff room and storage and the primary children have been using the first floor toilets.

Mama says: “I feel, that now is the time to turn those rooms back over to our family, to allow it to grow and to give our bigger children more bedroom space.
“Where there's a will there is always a way.
“We have three bandas (bandstand-like constructions, with makuti thatched roof) in the grounds, with electricity already connected. 
I'd like to turn the largest of these into four rooms - computer room, library, staff room and school administrator's office.
We would need to install dividing walls. Additional power points would be needed, particularly in the computer room..
We also need toilets for our primary children, by moving our school administrator into a banda office, his current office, where there is plumbing, could be converted for girls toilets, we would then need to add a boys' toilets block elsewhere.
This would mean, with the minimum amount of building, we can return original upstairs area, which mirrors downstairs, to the family giving us more bedrooms, and returns the toilets and showers to family use.
Then we will have more room for children who need us ... there will be room for another one … even a couple of dozen!
As yet we do not have an exact figure for the completion of this work, but our estimate which includes building new toilets is in the region of £16,000-£18,000. We have already received a donation towards the cost and Sue and Elizabeth are working together to try to raise more money.
If you can you help?  Please get in touch or donate via justgiving http://www.justgiving.com/childrenofwatamu/Donate 
You will find the full details of the project on our website: http://www.childrenofwatamu.net/wish-list/making-room-for-another
Thanks to Steve and Cherith
The Room for Another project, will mean that the bigger of the remaining two bandas, donated by Limavady Rotary Club, have to be extend to ensure it is big enough for a dining room for school meals, plus large enough to cater for family and school meetings and gatherings, assemblies and school events.

We are fortunate to have such good friends in Steve and Cherith Cushing, whose generosity will fund this work on the second  banda requiring poles, makuti roofing, concrete and galana stone flooring,  fencing plus labour. .
Money raised by their recent barbecue, plus the money Steve has raised from giving talks on his Antarctic Marathon and the Marathon de Sables, and donations to the Happy House instead of flowers from the funeral of Cherith’s mother a year                                                             ago, will pay for this.
Steve said: "We are delighted to continue to support the Happy House.
"When we started to support the Happy House, one of the reasons was that we wanted to see the impact of any money that we raised. 
"With this latest much needed facility which we have been able to fund, this has certainly been achieved, and it is great to think on our next visit to The Happy House we will actually see the physical reality."
                                                      Thank you Steve and Cherith for being such wonderful friends.








Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Ballet wins some Kenyan converts

Our children just love to dance. Even if they have never heard music before joining our family, as soon as they do they just start dancing!
When Mama  took home line dance dvds,they had themselves a line dancing team in no time.
Now they have had their first pointer in the direction of ballet!
Hannah Beelam shared her enthusiasm for ballet by giving the children a lesson.
Hannah, who is on holiday with her mum and dad, Sheila and Stuart, and sister Lucy, said:
Being at Happy House the showed us how lucky these children are to be given a second chance in life with a new home, a family and an education
" The fact that we had the opportunity to show them something exciting and new was an amazing feeling
".Standing there with 30 faces smiling back at you, ready and eager to learn is a wonderful feeling
".After going through the basic positions of the feet and arms in ballet, and all the children enthusiastically chanting them back to me, we moved of to plies, tendus and jumps (which they thoroughly enjoyed!)
". After a bit of practice some even managed to master petit jetes! 
"It was amazing how much we managed to teach them because of their enthusiasm for new things and they were over the moon when they saw the ballet gear we had brought for them.
''We could all see that we had made a difference. After the "class" had finished, a few children stayed and practiced together the basic links of steps that we had just taught them. 
''This really brought home just how much dance can bring people together.
''That day was an experience I will never forget."
Hannah's family have a dance shop, Just Ballet,  in Southend, and suppliers,  Tappers &; Pointers and Intermezzo had generously donated items of clothing and shoes for our children.
Everyone,boys and girls, who took part in Hannah's class , had a lovely time learning about and trying out something new. 
Thank you Hannah and family for giving them a wonderful introduction this classic art and to the suppliers who gave such beautiful items.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Spoons full of love

It's lunch time and our children are all smiles as they show off a new delivery of spoons and forks.
The much-needed cutlery has been sent, in response to our appeal, by our friends, Pauline Royle, Susan Sadler and the Murray family.
The polycarbonate spoons and forks are replacing the metal cutlery we had been using which had gone rusty as a result of the humidity and salt water.
We just can't have too much of a good thing, so if you are thinking of sending some, please do.
A very big thank you to Pauline and also to Susan and Sharon, Ian and Kyle Murray.
If youwould like to send some like those in the picture  (standard size spoons and forks) a link is  http://harfielddirect.co.uk/cutlery/53-standard-dessert-spoon.html#/colour-redThis is just a suggestion, you may have seen some local to you, but this was the best we could find.
The postal address is : Sue Hayward's Happy House, PO Box 796, Watamu, Kenya, East Africa.
If you do have any queries, or would like to tell us if you are planning to send some out please email: elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net

Thank you for your continuing kindness.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Busy, busy, boys - by Evans

Today's blog comes from Evans, chair of our Kids Council, who tells how he and his brothers like to be busy and have been helping on the land bought as a site for our independent living project.
"After the boys had their hair shaved we  asked if we could go and help in clearing the new land and everyone was ready to go and help.
When we were going there we carried some tools to clear the grass.
Some used jembes or pangas. Everybody was cutting the grass with happiness.
We went with Uncle Alex we were cutting the grass with him and  we were tired we came back  home to rest.
Lots of love from Evans''

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Happy House is a family affair for the Beelams

The Beelam family with Auntie Rose
When Sheila Beelam was packing for her trip to Watamu, she had to go out and buy a bigger case!
Gift for David
After receiving an extra 15kg charity baggage allowance from First Choice, Sheila wanted to take as many necessities as she could including polycarbonate cutlery, boys black ankle socks, sanitary pads, teen bras and knickers, box files etc.
There was great delight when they arrived with so many useful gifts for our family, and with a birthday gift for their special friend, David Karisa, who they sponsor.
Sheila and Stuart have been supporting Sue's work since before their won daughters were born.
Sheila said: "Stu and I first went to Turtle bay in 1995, the year after we got married and whilst there I was worried I may be pregnant, so had a test done by the doctor at the hotel and found out I was pregnant with Hannah!
" So we call her the Turtle Bay baby!
"We then came back in 2004 with the girls when Han was 9 and Lucy 6, followed by 2007 and  2011. 
"We visited the school Sue and Dave were at and brought exercise books and  pens and they showed us the plot of land and told us their dreams...it was so magical to then visit the Happy House once it had opened and see what they had managed to achieve!

 It was after our last visit that we became sponsors to young David 
Sheila, Stuart and the girls enjoyed a  lovely day at the Happy House with our family and we are just so grateful to them for their continued love and kindness
*Hannah is writing a blog about her experience of introducing our children to one of her own favourite activities  and which will appear here next week.



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Friday, 26 July 2013

Girl power in the office

Christine,Velma and Rose
Our brilliant administrator Auntie Rose is Mama's right hand woman.
All the time Mama has been in the UK, Rose has spoken to her most days and, working with Uncle Billy, has ensured that everything has been managed just as Mama would do it.
Happily ,Rose will soon be a Mama herself - she is now 32 weeks pregnant and will be taking maternity leave.
Fortunately, Mama will be back very soon but decided extra help is needed to cope with the administrative demands of running such a big concern.
Auntie Velma has been with us for sometime now and has her own responsibilities, so Mama asked Rose to employ an additional office assistant who could be trained in Happy House practice before Rose goes off. 
Christine Karwitha Muchai is our new member of staff and is on three months trial. 
Auntie Rose said:  "I think girl power is coming more powerful at the Happy House.
Christine Karwitha Muchai is 23 year old and stays locally at Timboni. She has done accounts but was interested to work with children. She is enjoying being in our family 
" The Happy House is really a special place whereby nobody can explain what it is that makes it unique."
Mama has really empowered our female staff. Rose  has been working with her since Sue's efforts were concentrated on developing the schools and when that work was complete and she moved on to open the Happy House it was natural that Rose should become a key member of staff. Thanks to Mama Rose has blossomed from a timid office assistant to a dedicated, efficient and respected manager.
Auntie Rose said:  "I think girl power is coming more powerful at the Happy House. I believe there is a reason why  God wanted me to work here to  look after the children.
'' I have learnt a lot  with Mama being my role model and always encouraging me when I face a difficult situation saying that  I can do it. 
"And  she is right. Yes, I can do .
"Having Mama always being my  support and proud of me in anything I do is why I have come so far."
Welcome to the Happy House Christine ... you have come to a very special job in a very special place with a Mama.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

School gift and a donation from France

The mum of Djamila, one of our day pupils at Happy House school, very kindly sent in a gift of coloured pencils, balloons, pens and sweets.
Djamila's mum is also the KG3 representative on the newly set up PTA committee and as Uncle Billy says: "We are all so thankful for the concern and hope this spirit will be upheld for the betterment of our school and indeed our entire Happy House family."
Djamila is pictured (fifth from right) with some of her classmates.
Many thanks to  Paul and Pam Edmunds,  who have moved  to the Dordogne, France,  and set up a business called French Photographic Holidays.  
They asked Sheila Davies, who has produced two of our videos, to make AV for them to put on YouTube to help promote heir lovely barn conversion where guests stay, and the photo tuition. 
Sheila, from Kirkham, Lancs, says: "I also helped Paul to run a one- day workshop on photography,  where I showed  " A Very Special Job" about Sue and the Happy House.   At the end of the day, I was presented with 50 Euros as a donation to the Happy House, which I was delighted to accept "
Thank you to Sheila,Paul and Pam. If you have not yet seen A Very Special Job this is the link

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Welcome back Will and family

The Gordon family with Musyoka and Auntie Rose
 Last time the Gordon family visited the Happy House it was nothing but a shell.
But they could see how Mama’s vision was becoming a reality and took out a child sponsorship to help finish and furnish.
When the Happy House opened the following year, and the first of our children arrived, they were placed in the family of Musyoka.
Now four years later, they have returned to Watamu for a holiday and, now Will,Laura and their children Georgia and Luke have time to get to know their special friend and all the children in our family.
How special it is for Musyoka, and for them. 
The family, who live in Thorner near Leeds, are a huge support to us. Last year Will raised more than £1,000 when he ran the Leeds Half-Marathon; this year he donated items we have raffled and auctioned raising more than £700.
They are great ambassadors for our family too, helping to raise awareness whenever they can so it is lovely that they are now there and seeing for themselves just how things have changed and developed since 2009.
Will said: "I met Sue and Libby - two of the most inspiring ladies I have  ever met. The first day, I visited the Happy House, which was then being built, I agreed to sponsor and committed to helping with fundraising where I could.. 
" I believe that we can all make a difference however small. Sue has some very big ideas and is an amazing individual….I am happy to do my very small part in helping to support."
Sponsoring Musyoka opens a window on a very different world for Will's own children. 
"Now the children have a very good understanding of how a child's life in Africa is very different to that of theirs. They understand that Musyoka hasn't had the best start in life and that we are contributing in a very small way to try and create a better future."
We are delighted Will and family are now back in Watamu once again, and experiencing first hand the warmth and sunshine of our Happy House family.  




Tuesday, 23 July 2013

No easy ride

Roads in Kenya aren't good and uneven surfaces play havoc with our vehicles.
Four-wheeled transport is vital, but it comes at a much greater cost than it would in more developed countries of the world.
A lot of the journeys made by Uncle Billy, to visit relatives of our children or on rescues, take him off-road for many, many bumpy miles. The result of the excessive wear-an-tear is high repair bills.
The most recent bill for the matatu has come in at £300 for four new tyres.
Another of those hidden costs we have to factor in when budgeting for our family.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Welcome to Frankie and Flora

Our two latest volunteers Frankie Asher and Flora Donovan are loving being a part of our Happy House family.
Frankie, a commodities broker, from London, flew out to Kenya just a few days after celebrating his 30th birthday with family and friends.
And with him he brought loads of necessities for of family much to the delight of our head housemum, Prescha.
Frankie is taking a career break to volunteer: " My sister spent a year working in an orphanage in Bulgaria three years ago and the tales of her experience touched me.
 I have spent the last 12 years working and have decided to take some time out and do something completely different, and ideally help others, those less fortunate."
Flora, from Oxford,  is spending two weeks helping at the Happy House.
Flora, 19, a student at Leeds University, and Frankie are  friends both of  Charlotte Poulter, who volunteered last year with her friend Saskia Flower.  Their families have all holidayed in Watamu.
Like Charlotte, who is in twin Saumu's sponsor family, Flora's familysponsor and are in Mwende's sponsor family.
Our child sponsorship key is to running the Happy House, but also how very special it is for child and sponsor.
And we still need so many more. 
Flora said:"I have always been interested in volunteering, as I believe it is a unique opportunity to work as part of a team and community, where one can meet new people and make new friends from diverse backgrounds - all with the common goal of improving the quality of life for people.
 I have  come to Happy House, not only to see and spend time with Mwende, who I sponsor, but also because of the happiness and excitement I have felt every time I have visited in the past and I think it is truly a wonderful place for the children to grow and learn.
From my first year as International Development student, I believe volunteering and working with a community is the only true way to understand and gain insight into the culture, heritage and underlying problems at a grassroots level."
We know you Frankie and Flora will have the most remarkable experience with our family which will enhance both their own lives and those of our children.  Enjoy every minute.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Thank you RotaKids ... from Margaret

Margaret is writing today's blog. She, like each one of our children, received a friendship card from one of the children who attended Rotary International's first RotaKids conference, organised by District 1190, at Lancaster recently. 
Margaret
The cards were parceled up by Janet Simpson, who organised the workshop with Sandra Foulkes and Irene Pollitt, and sent to our children who were absolutely thrilled when there was one for everyone.  This blog is a thank you to all the RotaKids (and organisers):
"Hello everyone at the RotaKids!. I hope you are all fine and well. We have received the letters you send to us.They are really, really, wonderful. Thank you for the wonderful letters. You are very good in making them. We are very proud you all. We have enjoyed reading them. And we have also make for you all. Thank you Jill, Sarah, Lauren, and the all the rest of you all.  Best wishes and hugs from Margaret and the Happy House Kids."

Saturday, 20 July 2013

No stopping him now!

Star toddles in
It's another lovely Saturday and we have something to celebrate!
Our very special little boy David is finally up and walking, eager to give all his playmates a run for their money.
We have celebrated his first steps before, but after four or five and he plonked right down on his bottom again, preferring to speed crawl.
But when you are a schoolboy, you have to pull your socks up ... and that's just what he's done!
Uncle Billy and Mama decided in May, when all the other kids returned to class after a break, that David should go too ... he was grumpy and fed up in the baby banda with the babies.
So he joined the playgroup class and settled in straight away. thoroughly enjoying himself.
Uncle Billy says: "Kidz club was fabulous with Alex being the birthday boy while the Star of the Week was David who is taking his maiden steps!
Unbelievably true...school enrolment has truly paid dividends as  was my sincere hope in early May when he joined the playgroup.
 David has finally found his two legs! 
Kudos David ,thank you for working so hard and evidently believing in yourself. What more can we ask for?!
Birthday boy Alex
 We sincerely can't forget the mama's,aunties and the teachers for taking good care of our good King David and all the other children in the family. God bless you all."
David, as most of you will know, came to us a very weak and poorly newborn, abandoned at hospital by his mum.
In his first 18 months, Mama and Billy sought out all the medical help they could as he was filing to develop as a baby should and eventually were told he had Down's Syndrome.
With help and information from the Down's Syndrome Association in the UK, a programme of exercises was devised for David to stimulate him physically and mentally, and he was put through the routine three times a day.
He has never looked back.and for, David, now on his feet and walking the only way is forward ... to his next landmark.
Well done TEAM DAVID, and lots of Happy Birthday love to Alex.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Non-uniform day brings dividends

Students at a Lancashire school welcome the chance to get out of uniform for a day, and to help the Happy House at the same time.
The young people from St Aidan's CE Technology College, Preesall, swapped summer uniform for something cooler, in exchange for £1, when the school held a non-uniform day with proceeds being shared between the Happy House and the Mosamaria Aids Ministry in South Africa.
Year seven pupils in Mrs Joanne Rossall's class, who sponsor Linus, have done so much in the last year to raise awareness of our work throughout the school, and to raise money too.
This event is last of their year before they move up a form, and was literally the icing on the cake as there was also a cake sale to boost funds. 
Our share of the non-uniform day was £239.50 with another £45 from the sale of cakes.
Thank you to everyone who took part for supporting our family in this way.
We may work in very different worlds, but our aim is shared - to empower children by providing the best education and opportunity

Phew, this really is hot work...
And you thought you were scorching, at the Happy House labourers are working in temperatures of 30degrees, digging out a soakaway pitt to carry away water from the kitchen where  three meals a day are prepared with kilo upon kilo of veg and fruit to be washed every day.
Imagine the amount of water we use to get everything clean for 72 at breakfast and tea, and 160, plus some teachers and staff, at lunchtime.
The soakaway will be 2 metres square by 6 metres deep and the workmen are having to dig through coral, breaking it down and digging it out, making it tough work.
The cost to us will be £300.  It seems a lot, but we really have to get the job done.


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Mama's pride ...and her joy!

The winning streak goes on for our Happy House kids with the little ones who triumphed in the recent cluster schools' Music Festival, going on to compete and win the zone heat.
Now, at the final district level of the competition, at Gede, they have come out on op top in singing and verse.
Every success, be it a small individual personal achievement or a big group win like this one, is celebrated and enjoyed by all our family. 
How very proud all her children make their Mama ... the person whose foresight is opening so many doors for children for whom there would have been little opportunity in life, if any.
This is a letter Mama sent home this week, opening with her signature greeting:
"Happy House Kidz!
Hello everyone, this is Mama.
How is everyone?
I know you will all be  very fine and happy, just as I want you to be.I am writing this letter to you all to tell you how very proud Papa and I are of each and every one one of you, and how much we love and miss you all.You Happy House Kidz, are now entering competitions with other schools and winning all the prizes, you little people are making Mama's dream come true.
Papa and I are so very proud of you all. You truly are a loving family of brothers and sisters, taking care of each other, working together and believing you can all help each other to be better than the best. Some of you are good at reading, some at maths and now you have your work groups to help each other to  achieve good marks. That is what a family is all about helping each other, working together.

Not everyone will be top of the class all I ever ask of any of you is to be the best that YOU can be. If you know inside yourself that YOU have really tried hard and what YOU have achieved is your best that is good enough for your Mama.
A long time ago before I built the Happy House, I had no land and no money, all I had was a dream inside my head of building a beautiful home for children. 
A place where children would be safe, happy, and well cared for.  A place that would be for a very special family, where every child would be truly loved.
  In my dream the children who came to live at the Happy House  would hold their heads high and be proud to say 'I'm a Happy House Kid'. That is why you all have the t shirts that say just that. 
Also in my dream I saw children who would believe that if they work hard they can achieve great things in this world, that they can be better than the best.
 Look what I have done by working hard and truly believing that I could and would build a Happy House.
As you grow and go through life, don't want  ever think that anyone is better than you, but in the same way, do not ever think that you are better than others that you meet. 
It does not matter what clothes you wear, what job you do, or how much money you have in the bank, what matters is how you live your life and how you are towards other people. Always be honest, loving, kind, caring and sharing.
 Each of us came into this world with nothing, and we will all leave it the same way. Papa and  I are counting the days until we will all be together again, 59 days. 
They will soon pass if we all keep busy.
 Don't and forget you have a BIG party to organise !
I cannot tell you enough times how much  Mama  Papa love and miss you .
Lots of love hugs and kisses,Mama and Papa xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx''

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Generous gentlemen

The generous gentlemen of Blackpool Probus Club gave Elizabeth Gomm a very warm welcome when, after two years, she returned to give them an update on the Happy House family.
Last time, she was with Mama, then on a flying visit back to the UK,  and everyone was keen to know how Mama is getting on and sent her their greetings for a very quick recovery.
They were amazed by the way the Happy House has grown and by the number of children we now have in the family.
They were also very touched by the work being done to empower the children to go on to succeed in whatever field they may choose in the future.
Afterwards they presented Elizabeth with a cheque for £50, which with donations received from other members on the day and later brings a total of of £165.
Thank you all so very much. We hope to be back to see you again when our family has grown just a little bit more!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Exchange trip win

 First a win in music and verse, now Happy House kids have come out on top on an exchange visit to another local school.

They went along to Happy House children went on an exchange visit to Wings of Mercy Academy on the exchange programme which involves being asked and answering questions set by different teachers from both schools as per the syllabus.
 The aim is to increase confidence in answering questions in of others, improving self expression and helps them to retain what they have learnt in class.
 The Happy House kids gained 25 points out of 30 to Mercy Academy's 14 points.
Wish list items
Our wish list of necessities is constantly changing so if you are planning to post a parcel or to visit our family, please do email sue@childrenofwatamu,net or elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net to check the most wanted items of the moment.
Right now we need:
Box files for A4 memory boxes for our new children (you could always follow the example of our friend Pauline Royle who bought three which she is sending out, over time, packed full of other needed goods),  WH Smith have them on offer at the moment, we are told;
Black ankle socks (all sizes from age two upwards) for our boys;
Underpants and knickers for our tiny boys and girls who are just being potty trained, so we can't have too many!
First bras for our growing girls; 
Polycarbonate cutlery (we can't have too much).
Please send direct to the Happpy House as Mama and Papa now have a real packing challenge with everything donated they have already to get back with them. The Happy House postal address is: Sue Hayward's Happy House, PO Box 796, Watamu, Kenya, East Africa.
We are so grateful for everything you send, so if it's one pack of socks that is one pack more than we have now. Every single item counts and is so valued.
Thank you for being such fantastic friends.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Barbecue bonanza

Beautiful sunshine and a stunning setting guaranteed a wonderful afternoon for our Happy House barbecue.
The event, so kindly hosted by Steve and Cherith Cushing who had mustered family and friends to help, was made all the more special because our Mama and Papa were there.
Mama Sue has been through so much since her hip replacement done in 2010 became infected in March, and whilst still waiting to have surgery for a full hip replacement on August 1, she was absolutely determined to be at the barbecue.
And so many friends came to to join us and to catch up on the news with Mama and Papa, including
Agnes and Brian Crighton  who travelled from Scotland specially, and the Groves family drove up from Oxfordshire .
Steve and Cherith's garden, surrounded by fields, was the perfect venue and there was plenty to do! Guests took part in gameshows, more familiar on television, including Bullseye and Play Your Cards Right.
There was a  tombola, raffle and auction, plus Happy House bags etc to buy and other lovely items handmade by Joanne Rossall and Sheila Dickinson.
Michael Dickinson, ably assisted by Sheila, conducted the auction.
Delicious barbecued food was followed by homemade cakes and icecream
But the highlight of the day, as of any Happy House event, was when Mama got up to speak.
With so much warmth and love she spoke of her children, leaving no one in any doubt of just how hard it has been for her and Papa to be exiled from them for so many months.
;She thanked all those who support us, talked about plans for the future and highlighted the importance of our sponsorship scheme which is the financial cornerstone of Happy House.
There were special thanks to Steve and Cherith for putting on such an excellent day and to all who helped..
Elizabeth Gomm presented Mama and Papa with engraved "Mama in a Million" and "Papa in a Million" glasses, plus  a botttle of bubbly to help them celebrate when they book their flights and have a date for, at last, going home.
Not only was it a wonderful afternoon of friendship and laughter, it was also a huge financial success with  £1838.40 raised,  plus online donations and two new sponsorships which take it to over £2,000.
What a result!
Pictures: Left, from top down: Mama and Papa with Steve Cherith; ; Brian Crighton takes a prize from Lynn's Lucky Loot with Lynn Baya Thoya; Pauline Royle meets Susan Sadler (both are in Jane's sponsor family); Sheila Dickinson auction assistant.
Right, from top: The Groves/Stock/Lochrie family; Andrea Manders, Ellena Manders and Doe Edge; Grace Dunbar, her uncle offered a £1 donation if she put on the hat and pulled a face for the picture; burger kings Dave Cushing and Mike Dickinson.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Keeping up with the news ... by Fikiri

Giving our children access to what is going on around them, locally, nationally and internationally, is important if they are going to grow up with an understanding of the issues that affect us all.
We do buy a national newspaper a couple of times a week to keep in the library for both children and staff.
 Fikiri is one of the first to hit on the headlines! As he explains in today's blog.
"I like to read the newspaper. We have it in the library where we can go to read. I read the news and the sport. The newspaper tells you what is going on in the world.
I also like to watch the news on the television. Then we know what is happening in Kenya.
It is good to know this."

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Penciling in a profit and fun in the sun

Students from a Blackpool school have been selling pencils, erasers, sharpeners and rulers with profit coming to the Happy House.
St George's Church of England Business and Enterprise College, where Miss Hayley Clarkson's form, sponsor Mercy and David, lived up to its name with the enterprising students accruing their first £100 profit.
And yesterday they handed  the money over Elizabeth Gomm who went into school to tell  a mixed year group of students the latest news of our family and to show them a video.
The youngsters are now fired up to help some more with lots of ideas, but first have the cake sale they planned earlier and which takes place next week.
Thank you to everyone at St George's we hope that we may be able to forge even stronger links between your school and our Happy House.
What's in a name?
We are all set for an afternoon of fun in the sun raising money for the Happy House ... and this bear will be worth his weight in gold!
Guests at a Happy House barbecue, so kindly hosted by Steve and Cherith Cushing, will have a chance to win this cute and cuddly bear by trying to guess its name from a list of names of Happy House children, staff etc at £1 a go.
Steve and Cherith  have been working so hard all week to set the scene for a really wonderful day which will be the last Happy House social event before Mama and Papa head home  to the family in September.
For Mama, Papa, Steve and Cherith we want to make it a bumper fundraiser and a day to remember.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Treasure boxes... and boxing clever!

Memory boxes are so very important to our children ... their own secret space that nobody but them can look in, unless by invitation.
In their memory boxes they keep all their treasures of growing up a Happy House kid, letters, postcards, pictures and birthday cards sent by friends in their sponsor families,  Star of the Week certificates and school awards, plus little trinkets that have a special meaning be it a sparkly plastic bracelet or a Matchbox car!
They are just box files - and we are appealing for more now our family has grown so fast - but these simple bits of stationery are so much more than that to each and every child.
They really do  cherish them and their contents. They are kept in the office, and a child can ask to look in or add something whenever they wish.
The memory boxes came about because of Papa. Mama grew up comfortably with her own space. But she was often lonely. Papa, meanwhile, was one of 10 children (his mum adopted an 11th)  in a struggling working class family, where ends hardly e met, where everything was shared - including beds - but where he was never lonely, there was always laughter, and ,he says, he had simply the best and most loving Mum in the world.
When he and Sue were first married and setting up home together, Papa asked for just one thing - a drawer of his own. His own private space.
Pendo and Happy
"Even if there was only a comb and a piece of string in it, no one ever looked inside. It was Dave's drawer.
" The first time in his life he had a space he could call his own," says Mama.
 "So with the Happy House kids growing up in a big family where everything is shared, I thought they, like Papa, would need something that was theirs and theirs alone."
Pauline's parcel 
We now  face a memory box crisis. Our family has grown so fast that we don't have enough and we  haven't been able to source them locally - and we really have hunted.
Mama and Papa intended to start packing for home next week and could manage to take a few back with them by packing other things inside, so if you would like  one or two  please send them to Mama at 49, Victoria Mansions, Newton Drive East, Blackpool, FY3 8QG or, if you are coming to the barbecue tomorrow, bring one along with you, if you can!
When Elizabeth told  our friend Pauline Royle, who is in Jane's sponsor family, we needed more memory boxes she snapped some up from WH Smith , and in no time sent one off to the Happy House neatly packed with other useful items for the family
Pauline says: " Any parcel needs to be kept within the 2kg weight limit and all sides added together to be not greater than 90cms - but that is not a problem with the memory box size
"It was a bit like the challenge of seeing how many items you can get in a matchbox.  I really enjoyed myself!"
That's what you call boxing clever, Pauline!
Thank you.
Get set for a barbie!
It's going to be a fun afternoon at Steve and Cherith Cushing's Happy House barbecue tomorrow in Staining, Blackpool, but if you are coming (it's ticket only from sue@childrenofwatamu.net) please remember to bring your high factor sun protection and , as it is on a farm, insect repellent.  It's always best to be prepared! 
Mama and Papa are so looking forward to seeing you all there.