Friday, 31 July 2015

Sweet success for Bella

Have Tic Tac will travel!
The novelty of taking a tiny treat on its holidays was a big hit with staff and students at Aidan’s Church of England Technology College Preesall.
And now Bella Snowdon, 14, is enjoying the sweet taste of success.
By spending 50p each on buying a Tic Tac to take on their travels and treats, the school raised £120..
Teacher Joanne Rossall, whose form  K7 sponsors Happy House kid Linus,  organised the competition with a prize for the student who took their sweet on the most exciting journey.
And Happy House UK voluntary coordinator, Elizabeth Gomm, was delighted to present winner Bella with her prize.
Bella adopted two Tic Tacs which she named Topsy and Tim.
She compiled a stunning journal of their travels together which included illustrations, graphics, words and souvenir tickets, leaflets etc.
They went to Cadbury’s World, Birmingham; met the animals at New Holly Farm, Forton, enjoyed trips to the cinema, Stanley Park and Guys Thatched Hamlet, plus lots more.
Bella’s detailed account of their adventures together netted her a £10 gift token, donated by Mrs Rossall, who was absolutely thrilled with the response from all those who took part.
Elizabeth  said: “Thank you St Aidan's, you have come up trumps for our family once again.”

Thursday, 30 July 2015

New shoes needed

Uncle Billy with  just a few of the worn out shoes!
It's a very good thing school breaks up on Friday because some of our kids are literally down on their uppers!
Their leather school shoes have had so much wear that the soles are full of holes and beyond repair.
With so many kids needing black leather shoes for school, we do hand down those that are outgrown but not outworn.
School shoes are precious and very well looked after, polished every day by the children who have a shoe polishing rota.
Now with the walk to and from school every day, shoes are getting more wear than they were and walking on uneven ground, based on sharp

coral, does take its toll.
But we do need to buy a lot of replacements so if you could donate £10 to buy a pair of shoes for your sponsor child, or for another child, please make a donation via JustGiving including "shoes" in the message field.
Thank you in advance, with your help our our kids will start next term walking on sunshine!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

School Report: Exams come before a break!

Teacher Mr Khamis reports on the past week in Happy House School.
Our school is in the build up to the end of term.
For students, the last week has been one dominated by examinations with everyone, from kindergarten to upper primary, trying their best to achieve good results.
Pupils and teachers have also been busy getting ready for the Closing Day ceremony when they will put on a colourful performance for relatives, parents and guests.
Closing day on Friday will see the start of the holidays which everyone is looking forward to ..

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Goodbye gathering

A family gathering, organised by the children on Saturday, was our Happy House way of saying goodbye to three volunteers,
And yesterday  Grace Dunbar, Angie Carmon and her daughter Emma Costello  popped into school to say another goodbye as they had all spent time helping out in the classrooms.
Grace, who had been volunteering for a month, while Angie and Emma had flown out for a week, started their journeys back home yesterday - Grace direct to the UK while Angie and Emma were heading to Dubai where Emma lives, where Angie will spend a few days before leaving for the UK.
Grace and Emma
The kids arranged a lively programme of activities for their guests with competitions in volleyball and netball - girls versus boys.  The boys won the volleyball and the girls, who has Emma and Grace on their side, triumphed at netball.
We also had tug of war game which ended with a draw after each side winning a pull each.
A game of musical chairs was won by KG kid Baraka.The teachers entertained with a sonf and "bye, bye" message to our friends,
After the competitions we all enjoyed eating sweet apples, bobbing for them first, and then the floor was left open for dancing..
Our teacher, Mr. Mdachi and Emma took to the dancefloor to the cheers of everyone and some of the other teachers and Papa joined in dancing too.
Thanks to everyone who took part and we wish our friends a safe journey.


Monday, 27 July 2015

Masterchef at work in our Kenya kitchen!

 Papa took over as chef in charge of cookery club on Saturday.
And dish of choice for his master class with the kids was one of his specialities - vegetable chilli.
Mama said: "They loved it!
"It was very healthy with veggie mince,and  fresh tomatoes from our garden.
"Next week we making healthy breakfasts fresh fruit smoothies and porridge. 
"Here in Kenya  people tend to eat lots of fried and very greasy food, even for breakfast - chapati, munharbra which is similar to a friend doughnut, or fried chunks of potatoes. No wonder so many people have high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.
Our children are so fit and healthy. We do not fry any food, all the veggies are fresh daily from the garden. At least three times a week they have moringa leaves mixed in with the greens.
" Moringa is often called the tree of life the leaves are bursting with vitamins and so are the kids!
"They have fresh fruit daily. pawpaw, passion fruit and bananas often from our own trees.
" If volunteers or sponsors want to buy a treat for the children we ask for apples or mango, as we cannot grow them and the kids love them."

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Our friends from England - by Victoria

Volunteers bring so much to our Happy House and open new windows on the world for our children. Today, Victoria writes a blog about so recent visitors:
We  have  three new  friends  from  England.
They came to volunteer in Happy House.
Their names are Mr. Russell and his daughter Natasha and Grace.
One day we went to the salon to make our hair braided  and Natasha joined  us. 
Mr Russell and Natasha were at Happy House for one  month. 
Mr. Russell told the class seven more about science  and  more  about being an engineer.
They have gone back now. Grace is still here, she came later.
We are happy with them and we like having  more  friends.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

What a week!

Angie Carmon trekked to the top of Mount Snowdon to raise money for our Happy House a few weeks ago, and this week she is in Kenya and living a dream.
Angie, from Morecambe, and her daughter, Emma Costello, who lives in Dubai,  are spending a week volunteering with our family and loving every minute and getting to know the kids - including Neema, whose sponsor family they are in, and our
youngest, baby Nicolas who was born on Monday.

It's a life changing experience for Angie and Emma who are so impressed by the way our Mama Sue and her Happy House are changing the lives of our kids,
They brought with them some lovely donations of clothes and other things for the children.

At Kids Club this week Angie presented Alex with his birthday gift while Emma made the presentation to birthday boy Abu. 
Also at Kids Club, there was a fresh fruit treat of mango all round before, 
Then our KG kids took the limelight to give a rendition of their winning song  at the recent schools music festival.
Mama's star of the week awards went to Auntie Esther for supporting and looking after our teen mum through childbirth and to Uncle Ronald for for the lovely photographs he takes.
It was a a really happy event and enjoyed by everyone.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Walking wonders of Worcester!

A very well done and huge thanks to all the school families at Tibberton First School and its
sister school Hindlip CE First, near Worcester.
They have been raising funds for our Happy House once again, this time by doing sponsored laps of the Hindlip school field - with some obstacles along the way.
The children walked their legs off as a tribute and reminder to the long distances many children in Kenya have to walk to get to school.
Tibberton total is fast approaching £500 whilst Hindlip still has to finalise its total to add to this,
"We were very proud of the children’s perseverance and the record was 21 laps (perhaps equivalent to 4-5 miles)," said head of school, Alex Gromski.
We promise you that every penny you have raised will be put to very good to make life better for our children. 
Thank you all on an amazing effort, it looks like you had a lot of fun too!

St Aidan's helps again

And our friends at St Aidan's CE Technology College, Preesall, Lancs, have sent us the good news that we will be receiving a cheque for £150 from their non-uniform day. Thank you St Aidan's.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Teen mum gives birth to baby Nicolas

Meet baby Nicolas.
He came into the world in hospital on Monday, born to a 14 year old girl we took into our care in April.
She came to us from Kikambala Rescue Centre after being tragically treated by a relative trusted with her care.
Unworldly and no more than a child she was six months pregnant at the time and as the rescue centre is a temporary shelter, she was in need of a home.
And Mama and Uncle Billy felt that Happy House would be the safest place for her and fr her baby.
Being in our family has ensured that she has received  ante-natal care, good nutrition and counselling whilst also being in school and joining in family life with all our kids.
She was supported through childbirth by Happy House auntie Esther who took great care of her and brought her and her baby home late on Monday afternoon.
Baby Nicolas, weighing in at 3kg, has been welcomed into the family, and his mum is receiving the physical and emotional support she needs. 
Just a child herself, she still has a very long way to go . The older children in our family are understanding and caring, and all the family is thrilled to have a new little "brother"... 
Nicolas, just a gew hours old when our picture was taken,  and his mum have the best chance in life in our ever-supportive, ever loving Happy House family.
We desperately need sponsors for our children. Sponsorship is £20 a month and is so rewarding for both the child and their sponsor.
To find out more please email: 
Please, can you help a child to have a better life?

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

School Report: Three time winners!

Great news from school this week, with Madam Neema reporting:
Our Kindergarten kids swept the board when they competed in the Gede Inter-schools music festival competition.
Winners through the heats to get to this important stage, they were well rehearsed and beautifully turned out - every child look his or best in neatly pressed uniforms.
They performed in three categories - song, poem and tongue twister, and won them all!
The judges remarks were brilliant, with complimenting presentation, performance and appearance.
And their were big celebrations when our triumphant youngsters and their teachers returned home.
In other school news, everyone is working hard for the upcoming end of term exams and our KG kids have been enjoying outdoor activities including skipping and football.
The baby class pupils were playing in the sand pit and others were taking turns in swinging as part of their co-curriculum activities.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Three bags full!

Three bags full of items donated for our children that we haven't been able to get out to Happy House, are now on the way!
Fiona Lockyer who is travelling out to visit with her two daughters, Hebe and Imogen,  very kindly offered to use some of their luggage allowance to take the goodies Elizabeth has had in store.
There was only one problem, Fiona lives in Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham, and Elizabeth is in Blackpool.
After putting out an appeal to see if anyone was travelling that way, Pauline Royle and her husband, Mike,  said they would be happy to make a detour to meet up with Fiona.
Now about 35kg of clothes, crocs, dvds, toiletries etc  are safely with Fiona (pictured unloading the bags). .
With some help from a ace-packer of a friend, Fiona managed to squeeze all our items into two and a half holdalls, with room left to add more necessities she is donating.
Thank you Fiona, Mike and Pauline for helping in this way, and thanks also to the friend who offered to drive all the way to Birmingham to the deliver the items if no-one else came forward.
Fiona has also started a JustGiving page to try to raise £350 in donations - enough for all our groceries for 111 children for a whole week and is asking her friends, family and Twitter followers and LinkedIn associates to make a donation via this link:
Thank you Pauline and Mike and Fiona. We really are blessed to have such amazing Happy House friends.

Monday, 20 July 2015

A trip to the hair salon!

Hairdresser Natasha Wenman is now back in her own salon in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, but while she was helping out at Happy House she took the opportunity to go to the "salon" with our girls.

Our older girls go out to have their hair braided in what are locally known as "salons" , but they bear little resemblance to the hair salons we know.
Natasha said: Being a hairdresser I thought when some of the girls mentioned they were going to the "salon" that it would be interesting to go with them.
They had all been taking out each other's braids, hair washed, and they were ready for new braids to go in. 
Off we set, walking through local areas with everyone saying hello as we passed.
As there are so many girls, they go in groups to different "salons". No appointments are needed, it's something local ladies do outside their own homes.
Different from our salons, but it does the job!
They are so good at what they do, and so fast. The little ones sit on the floor, patiently, while their hair is sectioned and braided, 
The ladies were very keen to do mine.
I managed to talk them out of a whole head and compromised with one side.
 It was very tight, but looked good.
The girls liked that I'd had the same as them. I even had a go myself at braiding on Janet.
I didn't think my first attempt was too bad, but the ladies pretty much did a whole head in the time it took to do one plait.
The older girls are great at looking after the younger ones.
 It something I really noticed at Happy House with both the older boys and girls looking out for the little ones and helping the aunties.
 It is so lovely to see them all together as a family.
The salon experience is totally different to my own salon, but they work so hard and the results are fantastic as are their skills.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

More fabulous than ever, by Lucinda

Lucinda really enjoys helping around the house and at school, as she explains in today's blog:
It was on a Saturday morning, after I had my breakfast that I went downstairs to prepare myself for the activities we do and love very much.
Eery one of us enjoys the activities.
This time we were helping to clean the compound at school so that it would look very smart.
We cleaned and tidied so that it looked even more fabulous.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Help from kind hearts

Year 8 students  at St Aidan's CE Technology College, Preesall, Lancs, who baked shortbread stars as part of their development day raised £67.45 selling their wares in school on Monday.  Fantastic effort everyone!

Auction success

The June charity auction on eBid which, thanks to our great friend Susan Carr, was supporting Happy House raised an wonderful £380.
Our thanks to Susan, eBid and all those eBid shoppers who supported our cause when making their purchases on the online marketplace

.Seaside support

Another thank you to Sally May Gray of the Bucket & Spade Cafe, Mablethorpe, Lincs, for a generous donation of £100.
Sally made the donation after hearing about  Happy House from Peter and Joanne Ward who are regular visitors to the East coast resort, and Sally's cafe,  with their sons Dylan and Oscar.
It's lovely to have new friends for our family. Welcome Sally!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Hard times

 These are incredibly hard times for the coastal region of Kenya.
While there's good news in that the British Foreign Office has lifted its advice against travelling to Watamu, it is likely to be a long time before visitors return in previous numbers.
Much will depend on tour operators and when, or if, they reinstate package tours to our region.
We hope they will.
The Kenya Government is pulling out all the stops to promote travel to Kenya but, again, it will be a slow burn.
Prices for good and services have increased, and many things are hard to get.
The Happy House is suffering from price increases in so many areas, and the fall in the bonuses that visitors bring to us,  and our thrifty Mama Sue, who watches over ever shilling spent, has put a massive economy drive in place, cutting back wherever possible.
Several staff who have left are not being replaced for the time being.
We have so much to do. 
Our family has grown so much, and we still need to raise £15,000 to finish the secondary school by January.
The cutbacks made will not affect the kids, the older ones love helping out around the house and garden when they can, and all our kids continue to thrive.
But Mama ensures all the family are mindful that it is you, our friends and loyal supporters, who work so hard to make our Happy House the lovely home and school that it is.
It all our family's responsibility  to ensure that nothing is ever wasted.
With our careful Mama, and Yorkshireman, Papa Dave, at the helm we can be certain our money is in safe hands.
If you know of any charitable trusts, benefactors or philanthropists that we could approach to help finish our school or help in any other way please email

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Birthday trio

Three birthdays were celebrated at Kidz Club this week.
Rose Chai was presented with her gift by Uncle Billy, while Papa Dave did the honours for Natasha Franco and Mama gave Brian Isiaho his gift.
The three birthday children enjoyed congratulations, birthday songs and cheers from all the family.
Happy birthday kids.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

School Report: Polishing their English

Madam Felisters brings us this week's report  of activities in Happy House School.
Everything in school is running smoothly and to plan as we are now in the 11th week of term.
Our volunteer friend, Auntie Grace is helping the children with their English.
She is helping them to polish up on their pronunciation which they are really enjoying.
Class Eight pupils had an enlightening lesson in social studies with Mr Hamisi when they watched a film about World War 2 which forms a part of their curriculum studies.
During games time classes 6,7 and 8 had a volley ball competition boys v girls. The boys were triumphant scoring two sets to the girls one. 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Model kids!

Being all dressed up gives our kids something to smile about!
When you know, as they do, what it has been like to have only shabby clothes, or at worst, rags to wear the novelty of new clothes just doesn't wear off.
So having a new dress, t-shirt or pair of shorts has them laughing and smiling.
These lovely clothes were sent by some of our wonderful friends who send parcels often.
Former royal seamstress, Margaret Sumpter, who made dresses for the Queen in the 1950s, and her daughter, Dawn Szpak who sponsors Mercy (far left)  made the dresses and shorts in the top picture.
The clothes our second picture were sent by Barbara Hall of Blackpool.
Barbara makes some of the items while she also sends other items donated to her.
Now the children have had fun modelling, the clothes will be popped into our store room until they are needed - everyone has their own clothes, outfits for best and playing out, which are replaced and replenished as and when they outgrown or worn out!
Thank you Margaret, Dawn and Barbara and to everyone who sends so many beautiful things for our kids.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Schools take our family to heart

Elizabeth was delighted to be invited into  St Aidan's CE Technology College on Friday when she spent the day raising awareness of the lifesaving and life changing work of our Happy House.
Year 8s who were looking a issues facing the developing world were a brilliantly receptive audience
After showing students a video of Happy House, she told them the story of one of our children and asked them to imagine they were walking in that child's shabby shoes on the tragic journey which led to her finding a new home and hope with our wonderful family.
Her story included many of issues, some specific to girls,  facing so many Kenyan children who are orphaned, abandoned or neglected.

Elizabeth says: "The students were fantastic to work with, They listened intently, asked lots of intelligent questions and came up with their own ideas for how they could raise money in the future.
"One boy gave me £1 as he was leaving and said he had left another 20p on the desk, another two of girls gave me 40p. 
"How thoughtful are they?"
Also as part of the school development day, where different year groups look at a range of subjects including road safety and first aid and  managing their money, Years 8s made shortbread biscuits and advertising materials for the biscuit sale which will be held in school today, with all the proceeds coming to Happy
Thank you St Aidan's for inviting Happy House to be a part of your special day and for all you do for us, you are very good friends to our family and to Linus - Mrs Rossall's K7 is in Linus' sponsor family.

Cakes equal cash!

There was clamour for scrummy cakes when our friends Joanne Ward and her son Dylan held a cake sale at Bramcote Hills Primary School, Nottingham.
Dylan, who is in Year 3, is a great young ambassador for Happy House as are his mum, Joanne, dad Peter and little brother Oscar - named after their own Happy House sponsor child, Oscar.
Joanne cooked up a storm for the cake sale which took place after school on Friday.
Dylan's school friends were eager to snap up the tasty treats raising a very sweet £59.30 for our Happy House family.
Joanne  had also received donations of £35 made previously.
Thanks to Joanne and Dylan for their wonderful effort, to Bramcote School for hosting the sale and to all those who bought, and enjoyed, the lovely cakes.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Dreaming of a soccer career, by Kelvin

Scholarship student Kelvin Baraka has his sights set on a career in in football as he tells us in today's blog.
My name is Kelvin, I like supporting Chelsea because it is my best team.
 Please  Mama and Papa I thank you so much because you were the ones whom have made it possible for me to be at Happy House and to come this far.
May God bless you so much.
By the grace of God I want to join a football academy when I finish my secondary level. I want to be- come a good player if all goes well.
That is when I finish my education. My dream is to join Chelsea academy.
My best players are Costa; Oscar and Lampard.
When I will be a good player I will assist the orphans. 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Friends indeed

Our newest volunteer Grace Dunbar has grown up with Happy House in her life.
Most of  Grace's family have visited over the years, and her grandparents Brenda and Red Groves are are hugely supportive.  They are in Charity's sponsor family, Grace's uncle Terry Stocks sponsors Brian and scholarship student Lovinne, and  her sister Chloe Groves is in Saidi's sponsor family.
Grace's plans to volunteer last year were put on hold when the Foreign Office warned against travel, but this year she was determined she was going to get there.
And now she's there and making herself very useful helping out wherever she can.
Grace, from Wantage, brought with her lots of things that had been donated. Plus some money from Brenda and Red for a treat for the children - mangoes at Kidz Club on Tuesday, and to buy some groceries for our family.
Thank you to friends and family who sent clothes etc, and to Brenda and Red for their generous gifts,
You are wonderful friends who we can always rely on..
And a very special birthday greeting to Stephano who received his birthday git (plus mango!) at Kidz Club .

Friday, 10 July 2015

Home, hope and a special name for our new baby

Meeting the family
A Wednesday new arrival, a precious foundling, has brought great joy to the Happy House and to our Elizabeth back in the UK.
Mama writes:" It was pouring with rain, windy and dark. Billy and I were working hard on some facts and figures when his phone rang.
 It was the Children’s Officer from Malindi. 
He informed Billy that a baby girl had been abandoned a month ago and had been in Malindi Hospital as she only weighed 1.5kg.
Now she weighs 2.2kgs so the time has come for her to be discharged into care. Could we take here? Yes, of course, we will always have room for another.
Safe with Mama
The nurses at the hospital were crying as we were setting out on our way home saying they were delighted she is going to Happy House but sad she was leaving them. We invited them to visit any time. 
We were told the baby is so good she eats and sleeps well, hardly ever cries. 
But what to call her?
Our very own Auntie Libby, is amazing towards our Happy House Family.
With volunteer Grace
She works tirelessly raising awareness and funds. Travelling around  speaking to different groups, sometimes a  ladies group, another time a men's group or in a school.
She is brilliant and never misses an opportunity to talk about our ever growing family.
To the children she is Auntie Libby, to me, Rose and Billy she is Libz, to Papa Dave she is Little Legs! 
She was christened Elizabeth. 
Her sister Anne died a few years ago, leaving a great void in Libz’s life. 
We decided yesterday to honour our very loving and caring Elizabeth by calling our new arrival Elizabeth Anne. 
As she grows I know she will have the same loving and caring ways as her namesakes.
We all love you, Libz"
Baby Elizabeth Anne
Elizabeth writes:  To have such a beautiful baby named for me and for my lovely Anne, has made my heart sing.
Anne was a truly beautiful person, who adiated sunshine. Sweet, generous, funny and infinitely kind, she adored children and they adored her.
She died from cancer at 46. Much too soon. Too soon to leave her own two daughters, and all those of us who loved her, and too soon to know the three grandchildren to whom she would have been the most amazing Granny Annie.
I speak to Anne every day. I tell her what I am doing, what my boys are up to and all about our Happy House family.  How she would have loved our Happy House kids!
Her inspiration, her influence and ultimately, her death, have played a big part in making me the woman I am today.
To have a beautiful baby, from such a tragic start, named for Anne and I is just the most wonderful feeling in the world.
And to know that I am loved to such an extent by Mama, Papa and all our family is as overwhelming as it is humbling.
 Elizabeth Anne will become a part my family and we look forward to sharing in her life and rejoice in the certain knowledge she will always have her own guardian angel to guide her.