Friday, 31 October 2014

Did you know, Papa, that you're her hero?


Papa Dave is the constant in Mama's life,
For more than 40 years, he has been the love of her life. Just as she is his.
Whatever life has thrown at her,in times of sorrow and pain, he has been there, by her side. Caring, supporting, loving and loyal, her Dave, our family's Papa Dave.
He is her shelter in every storm, her rock and her soulmate ...
As a surprise for Papa, Mama asked the kids to learn to sing Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings. 
The words of the song say it all ...
 he is her hero.
You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0ocTOV9tSY


Thursday, 30 October 2014

Laptops land safely!

They started their journey in Burnley, Lancashire, and just over a week later arrived at the Happy House.
The five reconditioned and good-as-new laptops have been very kindly donated by Keith Cotterill of CC Communications.
Keith and his company, a specialist in Education IT, in are good friends of Terry Burns, chairman of Furniture for Education Worldwide, who have done so much to help us over the past four years.
Keith offered the computers after hearing about the Happy House from Terry who brought them over to Blackpool for Mama and Papa to take back with them.
They were carefully packed into suitcases by our expert packer, Papa,  and happily survived the flight back home.
We are so grateful, they will be a wonderful addition to our school computer room.
Mama has always been committed to giving our children the best, and ensuring they learn IT skills from an early age is high on her agenda.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

School Report: Heroes day and heroes return!

Madam Russell brings us this week's report from our school:
Everything in school is going well .
The eighth week of term  began with a public holiday, and a day off school. 
It was Mashujaa day. “Mashujaa” is a Kiswahili word meaning hero .
This day is celebrated to remember the heroes and heroines who fought during independence.
Our lower classes pupils  had a privilege of hosting Allegra School pupils l for a  friendly football match. 
Our girls scored 1 -0 while the boys scored 1-0, so at the final whistle Happy House was crowned the winner.Then we celebrated the long-awaited day, Mama and Papa were coming home. Jubilation, jubilation, jubilation. Everybody was happy to welcome them back. We wish them well. 
Pictures: Top: Girls teams, below: boy teams. Right: Rose Chai in action. 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Belated birthday surprise for Mama

There was a surprise birthday party for Mama on Saturday ... organised by the kids,
Margaret and Musyoka were masters of ceremonies ensuring that the programme for the event ran to order!
Mama, who was in the UK for her birthday, was the guest of honour and received gifts,  a basket and two necklaces, which the girls had been out to buy.
They were presented by Janet with help from Linus and Brian!
There were games of musical chairs,  apple bobbing and pass the ball.
And as Mama sat out the dancing competition, the children picked Papa, who showed off some fancy footwork, as a very worthy winner!
And he received a certificate for his efforts. Well done, Papa!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Better than Skype!

Yes, Mama ... it is much better than Skype!

After weeks of only being able to see and talk to their Mama and Papa via Skype, having them home is simply the best for the the kids.

Click on this link for a video of their noisy but joyful reunion: 
http://youtu.be/81VaF_ONHdI















 Save the date: Thank you to the wonderfully kind ladies who are members of the Best Little Network for choosing our Happy House as one of two charities to benefit from its  Best Little Network Christmas Market Extravaganza.  
This will be a fabulous sales event when ladies will showcase their businesses and it will be a true family event with some fantastic ideas to keep the children happy while Mum and Dad do their Christmas shopping.
The event is at Wendy Holland Fitness Studio, Butts Close, Thornton Cleveleys, FY5 4HT, on Saturday, November 15, from 2pm-5pm. 
This will also be an official fundraising opportunity for the network which will also be  donating part of the proceeds to the Happy House and Trinity Hospice.
Elizabeth Gomm and other Happy House volunteers will be there with a stall and information about our family.  Santa will be making an appearance too!
Please come along and support local businesses and charity too.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Meeting Mama and Papa - by Evans and Francis

Travelling to Mombasa Airport to meet their Mama and Papa as they arrived home from the UK was a great event for our children.
Today's Junior Bloggers, Evans and Francis report:

Evans writes: Hello, we were very happy that our mama and papa were coming back home from the UK.
They were there more than three months, we are very happy because we have missed them. 
We has various activities that we rehearsed for their coming.
 Everybody was looking forward to meet them at the airport on October 21, that was on Tuesday.
We were  glad to see them back again. We know that they will be having new ideas that will help everybody in the family. We love them very much.



Francis on the front row singing for Mama and Papa
Lots of love from Evans
Francis takes up the story:
It was on Tuesday morning when we arrived at Mombasa airport.
We were very happy that we were going to Mombasa airport to pick Mama Sue and Papa.
When we arrived at Mombasa airport we saw Mama and Papa in the airport.
We sang for mama and papa and they were very happy to see their kids.
Uncle Billy went and took the Toyota Noah to pick MAMA and PAPA. 
It was a nice day to see Mama and Papa. 
When we were coming back to home we went and took some soda with Mama and Papa at Lambada in Mtwapa.
We all went to the vehicles and we went back home.
We ate some  chicken, pilau and cake.
We ate our lunch peacefully and we break.
We had a birthday.
It was Francis’s birthday and Salama’s birthday and Mwende's birthday.
Lots of love, Francis.
*Tomorrow our blog will have video of the family meeting Mama and Papa. It was a joyful and noisy occasion ... don't miss it!

    

    


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Three of a kind

There's a trio of birthdays being celebrated at the Happy House this week.
Brother and sister, Francis and Mwende both have their birthdays as does Salama.
Mama (with help from Harry) gave Mwende her goodie bag, while Papa handed Salama her present.
Francis, meanwhile, received his gift from volunteer Auntie Nelam.

Parcel appeal
Thank you to everyone who has posted a package as part of our Christmas Parcel Appeal
If you would like to help Santa make the festive season special for all our children you will find all the information you need on the following link. 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Own clothes day bring us cheer

Our voluntary UK coordinator, Elizabeth Gomm, is Auntie Libby to our Happy House kids ... and now she is Auntie Libby to the children at St John's RC School, Poulton, Lancashire, too.
She had a lovely time at a school assembly introducing our Happy House family to the school and telling them a little bit about how and why kids come to to live with us.
They also had fun looking at the selection of  local crafts she took in to show them and one volunteered dressed up in a traditional cotton kanga and very pretty she looked, too!
Today, the school is having an "Own Clothes Day" when proceeds will be shared between the Happy House and Cafod.
We hope you have a very happy day and thank you for caring.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Mama and Papa arrive home and all is well

This was the moment Mama set eyes on her family after a three month separation.
With her children in sight, all was well in her world once again.
With devoted Papa by her side, they were greeted by songs, smiles and hugs of happiness from all the children and staff who had left Watamu at daybreak for the two hour journey to Mombasa airport.
Greeting Uncle Billy
It's guaranteed that the airport will not have seen anything like it, not since the Mama and Papa's homecoming last year!
Being apart while Mama's leg has been healing, under the watchful eye of orthopaedic surgeon Steve Mannion, has been hard for Mama, Papa and all the family.
While Mama and Papa kept busy, met up with lots of friends and made the most of every moment working, with Auntie Libby, to raise funds and awareness,  every single minute away from home has pulled at their heartstrings,
Mama, in daily Skype calls to Uncle Billy, our social worker and general manager, and our administrator, Auntie Rose,  has stayed in touch with the daily running of the Happy House and school, and she and Papa have talked to the children every week for Kidz Club.


But pictures on a screen are a poor substitute for real smiles, real hugs and for the feel of a little hand slipping into hers.
Who should be the first to run up to Mama but Linus ... who rushes to her office every day after school to say hello and to see if there's a biscuit left over from mid-afternoon tea!
Then, one by one,  every child  and every member of staff welcomed Mama and Papa back home.
After a joyful reunion it was time to board the buses for the journey back to Watamu, with a very welcome stop on the way for refreshing sodas all round!
Mama and Papa, pinching themselves to make sure this was really happening, they were really home, laughed and smiled as they caught up with all the news, seeing whose grown the most or lost/gained teeth!
For our new children and scholarship students, this was the first time they had been on such an outing making it so exciting.
Mama says: "We had a wonderful homecoming, as always. The kids were so excited. 
The scholarship kids also came. It has been like a transformation with them. When they first came I think they thought we were all a bit soft how we sing and do things, but now most the them and our Janet sang a song and the big boys really went for it, it was wonderful to see.
The little ones wanted to cuddle, I know they have really missed us. 
It is sooooo good to be home"
Once back at the Happy House a party awaited.
The tables were laid, more sodas served, along with a delicious lunch of chicken pilau.
Everyone tucked in.
After lunch,  the celebrations continued with singing and dancing. Our kids certainly know how to do both!
To complete the day came the cake. Much to the delight of one little boy in particular.
With his Mama and Papa home, and a plate cake in his hand, the smile on the face of our Linus says it all...you CAN have your cake and eat it, too!




Wednesday, 22 October 2014

School Report:Top class performance

Class four
Madam Milka is the teacher in charge of bringing us this week's report from our Happy House school.
The half term holiday over, pupils came back to school and their mid-term examination results were waiting for them.
Competition had been stiff and class four found they had been beaten to the top class position by class seven who took the position with a mean score of 328.
They were also awarded the most improved with an increment score of 16.
Class One
Class seven had also improved, by were outshone by class four.
Class four pupils were glowing with pride as they accepted the class awards and promised enthusiastically to retain the trophy in the end of term exams.
Class one still maintained the trophy as top place in lower primary.
The class four actually made the day for everyone with their joy and excitement.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Start of a new chapter

As Mama and Papa closed the door on their temporary home in Poulton for the last time, they ended another chapter of their remarkable story.
Mama's health forced their reluctant return to the UK almost four months ago when, after seeing x-rays, orthopaedic surgeon Steve Mannion  warned that that a plate inserted  in her leg to repair multiple fractures may not hold and that if it were fail, the technology available to surgeons in Kenya would have nothing to offer her,
Knowing she had no other option, Mama heeded his advice and and she and Papa headed back here to a home hastily found and furnished for them by Libby with much help from generous friends and wellwishers.
With their complete and unfailing love for each other to hold them together through another enforced separation from the wonderful family they have built at the Happy House, they have focussed on getting Mama, slowly, but surely, out of a wheelchair, on to crutches, and from two sticks to one!

This morning, Mama will walk out of Mombasa airport, alongside Papa, to the reception of a lifetime from the whole Happy House family.
All the friends here who have made their time in the UK as enjoyable as possible are just thrilled that they are home sooner than they thought would be possible and send them lots of love as they start a new and happier chapter of their Road to the Happy House.
We love you Mama and Papa, we wish you good health and the happiest times ahead.
 God bless.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Our library - by Jane

Reading room
Jane
Hello,
I am Jane.
I am writing a blog about the library
Every Thursday,  class five we are going to the library and to read the story books
Teacher Catherine teach us about the library things and we enjoy to read the story books.
We love the library club because it teach us to be a good reader in the world. And in the Happy House we learn how to write and spelling.
If you want to be a good reader you must know how to read.
In the Happy House we learn how to use a library where we have story books, cds and dvds on shelves 
And when we want to read a story book we choose one in the library and then we go to the reading room
Good wishes from Jane.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Non-uniform to help our family

There was a dress down day for students at Kirkham Grammar School, Lancashire, yesterday.
The last day of this half-term had been chosen as a non-uniform day by headmaster, Richard Laithwaite, as the start of their commitment to support our Happy House family.
Initially, the school plans to sponsor four Happy House kids - one for each house.
The young people donated £2 each to go to school in clothes of their choice.
Elizabeth Gomm, our voluntary UK coordinator, went into school during lunchbreak to talk to students about our children and to answer any question they might have,

Friday, 17 October 2014

Birthday celebrations x 3!

Birthday greetings poured in for Mama yesterday.
She enjoyed a lovely day with friends who dropped in to see her for a cuppa and cake at her temporary home in Poulton.
They were thrilled to have the chance to see her and Papa before they leave on Sunday to travel down to London ready for their flight home on Monday evening.
All the family sang Happy Birthday to Mama when they connected via Skype - giving her a live rendition of  the video surprised her with on yesterday's blog,
There are two birthdays being celebrated at home - Samson is 12 and Mourine is three. 
Just like Mama, they had birthday greetings sung to them by all their family and there were presents, too, of course!
*Mama is pictured with Susan Sadler, Pauline Royle and Peter Sadler.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Happy birthday, Mama Sue

Today's blog is a surprise package for Mama.
It needs no words as the picture and video say it all.

With lots of love and many smiles, Mama, 
from all your Happy House family the whole world over.





video

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

School Report: Getting ready for a show

Mr Isaac is the teacher bringing us this week's School Report.
Mid-term examinations are now over, but were greeted enthusiastically by pupils and teachers who had worked hard to prepare for them. 
Apart from usual classes, our children are busy getting ready for the end of term closing ceremony - an importany event as this is the end of our school year in Kenya.
Whilst volunteer Auntie Neelam has been teaching some children Indian dance, Auntie Dawn, who has been visiting, has been assisting in teaching others a Scottish dance.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Bags of talent, Norma!

Our Happy House Bags on Tour lasted all summer long and saw our handy holdalls popping up in all parts of the globe.
They went on the Inca trail in Peru, met kangaroos Down Under, saw the sights in the USA and Mexico, listened in on a guitar festival in Canada,  hung out at in the hotspots of Tenerife, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Florida and Thailand and beyond; enjoyed the seaside delights of Britain; trips to London, Scotland an elsewhere and tagged along to weddings and family gatherings, days at the races, and summer events.
So picking out one picture was a very tough call for our judge who also donated the £20 prize.
He's spent the whole of his working life behind behind a viewfinder and knows a good picture when he sees one, but says he was spoilt for choice.
Sadly there can only be one winner, and his choice was a picture taken by Norma Smith from Nottingham.
Norma, who is Dulla's sponsor family, took this eyecatching, colourful and quirky shot  at Shrewsbury Flower Show.
Well done, Norma, a £20 Amazon gift voucher is on its way to you.
Many thanks to everyone who embraced the spirit of our photo-fun competition by buying a Happy House bags and who made it a travel essential.
You have helped to raise both money and awareness in the process.
We have loved seeing and sharing your pictures. Norma, has the prize, but every one of you has made our Happy House family the real winner.
Continuing our relentless drive to sell more Happy House bags we'll be enlisting the help of Santa ... at a fiver (plus p&p) they make an excellent stocking filler! 
 Watch out for a an online sales link very soon or email: elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net
And we will leave the  Happy House Bags on Tour! page on Facebook open so you can continue to post and share your bag pictures, just for fun. https://www.facebook.com/events/1512611962287809/
Mama on Radio and TV today
Listen and look! Our Mama Sue will be on Radio Lancashire Breakfast Show this morning (from 7am) and in the evening on BBC1 North West tonight 6.30am. 
We hope you will tun in and please tell your friends to help raise maximum awareness for our wonderful family.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Mama on Radio and TV tomorrow

Listen and look! Our Mama Sue will be on Radio Lancashire Breakfast Show tomorrow morning (from 7am) and in the evening on BBC1 North West tonight 6.30am. Please tell your friends and help raise maximum awareness for our wonderful family.

Birthday boy Stevie is five

Time to catch up with our latest birthday child.
Stevie has just celebrated his fifth birthday.
It is lovely to watch our little ones growing up, Stevie was such a tot when he came to us in 2010.
He was a poorly little boy, but Mama and her team got him all the help he needed to make him well.
He was also a shy little chap, and while he might look a little solemn on his birthday picture, he's far from shy or solemn these days.
He's a fully fledged member of Papa's Bash Street Kids, a cheeky band little ones, all around the same age, who have grown up together and get up to all kinds of mischief. Smiles are much more the name of his game as you can see from the second picture.
Stevie has three older brothers with him at the Happy House, Fikiri, Katana and Baraka.
Happy birthday, Stevie, we hope there was something nice inside the bag, Madam Milka had the honour of presenting to you!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Helping at home - by Fikiri


Junior blogger today, Fikiri,  likes to help where he can
It was on Saturday morning after taking breakfast, I went to the laundry I found Aunty Neema and l asked her if she wants help.
She told me please to take the clothes and iron them.
When I finished I helped her with washing more clothes.
I was greatly blessed when I saw Aunty Neema very happy.
I went to the garden I found Uncle Alex as busy as a bee and I asked him if l could lend him a hand, he told me l could help him with harvesting of cabbages. I did that very quickly then I then took the cabbages to the kitchen.
When l took the cabbages, the Uncle requested for tomatoes and lady fingers so l rushed to the garden and told Uncle Alex to supply me with tomatoes and lady fingers and took them to the kitchen.
Thank you
from Fikiri

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Burnley charity cheer

We are so lucky to have wonderful friends in the Burnley-based charity Furniture for Education Worldwide,
The charity, which recycles unwanted furniture from  schools and offices undergoing refurbishment, plus factory surplus, has, since 2009, provided almost all our furniture in our Happy House home and school.
Terry Burns, co-founder of the charity, and other trustees have been out to visit and Terry and his wife, Wendy, have become good personal friends to Mama and Papa.
Knowing from the blog that our stores are depleted because troubled times have resulted in fewer visitors to Watamu this year, FEW made a generous donation to buy clothing and other necessities for our family.
Mama, Papa and Elizabeth went shopping to fill a suitcase with most-needed items which Mama and Papa will take home for our family and for school. Along with the parcels  some many of you are so generously sending  should ensure all our 87 children have a new outfit this Christmas.
We are so grateful to Terry, Wendy and to all the trustees and friends of FEW for being so kind and to everyone who is responding to our parcel appeal. Thank you.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Networking to get and to give the best

 Ensuring that we are always well informed and have the latest information at our fingertips is so important to Mama and the Happy House.
Only by making this commitment can we ensure our family gets the best. 
Our social worker and manager, Uncle Billy, is just back from a four day trip to Nairobi where he attended training for management staff orgainsed by  ACCIK (Association of Charitable Children’s Institutions of Kenya).
Held in the suburb of Karen, the course covered ownership and management of children’s homes, resource mobilization and project proposal development;  strategic planning; human resource management including volunteer policy, maintaining basic books of accounts, office administration and procedures.
 Uncle Billy says: "It was informative and underscored Mama’s interest in networking with all other like-minded families nationwide. Hence her subscription the umbrella body
" At our local level, she has  also fully supported the initiation and strengthening up of a network with all service providers catering for the children.
" We conduct monthly meetings which rotate in various homes, sharing experiences in a bid to support one another with fruitful results already  being seen through robust referrals and linkages for children in need of help.  
 "It was a great learning opportunity which will  go a long way in improving service delivery to our deserving children."

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Forging friendship with Kirkham Grammar

We are so looking forward to forging links between our Happy House and historic Lancashire school, Kirkham Grammar.
Yesterday, Mama Sue and Elizabeth went in to make a presentation to the senior school assembly when Mama spoke about how our children come to our family, the hardships they have endured,  and of how they and our Dr Danwata Scholarship students really value the chance of an education.
They showed a video in which two of our Dr Danwata scholars tell their own stories and speak of how now, thanks to Happy House, they have a chance to achieve their ambitions - one to be a doctor and the other, a vet.
Headmaster, Richard Laithwaite,  told the assembly that the Happy House was exactly the kind of charity they should be supporting and that the intention is, initially, to sponsor four Happy House children - one for each school house.
And to the raise funds to cover this there would be a non-uniform day on Friday, October 17,
We are thrilled and delighted with this wonderful commitment from  Kirkham Grammar School and Elizabeth will be going into school at lunchtime on the 17th so students can chat to her, informally, about our family and ask any questions they may have.
Thank you to Mr Laithwaite, charities organiser, Sue John, and to all the school for making us so welcome and for extending the hand of friendship to our family.
Pictured: Headmaster Richard Laithwaite; pupil Jacob O'Hare who visited Happy House this summer, Mama Sue and charities organiser, Susan John.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

School Report: From ball games to books


It been another busy week in school and  Madam Rose highlights some of the activities in today's School Report:
Our collection of educational dvds open up a whole wide world for our children and our Class 7 pupils have been enjoying learning about wildlife from the collection on wildlife from naturalist David Attenborough .
 The dvds are used to reinforce topics they have been studying in class.
In their library lesson with Teacher Catherine, Class 4 pupils chose and red storybooks which they then reviewed.
Budding artists in playgroup and baby class got busy painting with Teacher Sarah. They enjoyed practical lesson, painting a cat, water melon and an apple. 
They created some lovely paintings which we know they will cherish.
Our nursery school kids got active on the  field playing football with Teacher Helen . 
They have such fun taking part in sports which help them develop physically as well as as well as improving their balance, coordination and social skills,

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Birthday girl and Inspired donation

The latest Happy House kid to be celebrating a birthday is our Neema.
And no birthday is complete without a present, this time Auntie Dawn Heather, visiting from Ireland, did the honours of handing over a gift to Neema.
Gem of donation
Inspired Jewels, a small business selling costume jewelleryonline, has made a donation of 10% of sales from last month to our Happy House family.
Many, many thanks to Sarah Percival, her husband Nigel and son Tom who are all involved in running the small family business.
It's really lovely when businesses show this kind of generosity to charities like our own. Every penny will be well spent.
Thank you again www.inspiredjewelsltd.co.uk  and to your customers too!