Thursday, 10 September 2015

A day in the busy life of our Mama

Mama and kds council
 Plan as she may, Mama Sue can never be sure what twists and turns her day will bring.
This is a very different world one the one most of us are used to.
She makes an appointment for nine am but in what we lhave come to call “Kenya time” that could mean being kept waiting for an hour, or three!
We made the 20-minute trip into Malindi for Mama to carry out some business at the office of a major international company. Mama and Papa were  his only customers, probably the first of the day.
 “Yes” he said“you can make the changes you wish to make, but can you come back another day to do it?.
Mr Makuti
“No” said Mama “I have come to do it today. Why should I come back another day?” 
With no answer to her question, the man behind the desk reluctantly got on and did what he was asked and half an hour later we were on our way back home!
Every transaction is frustratingly slow. To live here you have to be firm, direct and infinitely patient.
Back at Happy House it’s a day of meetings.  First  the catch-up with social worker and general manager, Uncle Billy. They look back over the previous evening and talk over the day ahead.
Then Auntie Gloria, who is responsible for the older kids whose rooms are on the first floor, comes to report to Mama on how everyone is doing and to discuss any niggles,
With Uncle Billy
Then the t-shirt man arrives. We need new t-shirts printed for our aunties to wear, and together he and Mama agree a design and price. She goes over the order several times to ensure that he has understood.
There’s just time to grab a coffee, before the outside staff arrive for their weekly meeting when Mama and Uncle Billy go through maintenance that needs doing, garden returns and other items anyone wishes to raise.
Teachers meeting
No sooner is that over than the Makuti man turns up, much later than his agreed time, but Mama is used to that. They talk over work that needs doing at school as we prepare for the secondary school. 
Again, Mama agrees a fair price.
She has made it clear to every tradesman used at the Happy House that if they work well, do a good job for a fair price they will get more work. But if they cut corners or elevate the price unreasonably (as so many have tried to do) there will be no more work. 
 Our electrician has been with us years, he values the work he receives from Happy House and his respect for Mama, Papa and the work they are doing is obvious.
He pops during the morning to check the solar is working OK and to say hi to Mama. Greetings are so important here.
All day, every day,  Mama’s office door is open and her phone switched on.  Staff members know they can go to her with anything they need to discuss, a lot gets done with good humour and a lot of laughter! 
Papa, meanwhile, is doing lots of running around - negotiating prices for supplies, buying hardware that might be needed, he is here there and everywhere - always just a phone call away should Mama need him.
Meeting outdoor staff
First meeting of the afternoon is with the aunties when they sit together to talk about family life and any issues that may need addressing.  If any child has a problem, they will talk it over with Mama and Uncle Billy.
It’s a happy meeting and the love and care these aunties have for the kids shines through.
No sooner is it over, than Mama and Uncle Billy are on their way to school for a meeting with the teachers.  Mama is hands on at the helm of the busy ship she runs.
The Happy House and the school run as well as they do, and bring the results that they do, because of the high standards she sets. 
She wants only the best for her children. Anything less is not good enough.
By late afternoon, it is back to the Happy House for her favourite meeting of the week. Kidz Club.
The little ones, now home from school and changed into play clothes,  skip into the banda and take their seats when Mama arrives the singing starts!  A few minutes later Papa joins us and has the kids in stitches when he joins in the singing – a deliberately exaggerated baritone.

Auntie meet 
A few songs more, and the older kids start arriving home from school, each one greeting their Mama, Papa, Uncle Billy and I with a smile and a handshake. 
Soon the family is at one, and Mama and Uncle Billy talk with the kids about things happening over the week and anyone who wants to have their say, child or adult,  can share their thoughts, ideas, likes and dislikes. It is a family time for family chatter.
Birthdays are celebrated and this week there is just one. Sanita who receives her gift plus a kiss and a hug from Mama.
The little kids leave happily to shower before tea, while the older kids stay behind to talk with Mama Papa and Uncle Billy.
Then they go their different ways, off to get changed, do their homework and prepare for tomorrow before they do have their tea.
Kidz Club with Papa
with Sanita
Only the Kidz Council remains. They meet every Sunday and give Mama a full report after Kidz Club. They talk about activities they have planned, groups they have organised to help around the house and gardens and to discuss any matters of discipline that might need action.
They talk in a happy, relaxed way. It’s kids talking to their Mama, and sharing a joke with her and their Papa.
Finally, at nearly 6pm, Mama’s day comes to an end.  There have been problems to solve, serious issues to discuss but she has achieved much and can go home knowing it's been a good day ... and to start planning for the next.

Building a Bright Future

Happy House is building bright futures for children from backgrounds of abject poverty or despair. Orphaned, abandoned, abused or neglected kids who find home & hope in our family, plus education & opportunity in our school.
Our 100 kids receive an exceptional education in our KG & primary schools, where they are joined by 120+ day pupils + 25 free-place scholarship students.
In Jan 2016, our first Class 8 pupils will move on to our secondary school, currently under construction.
We MUST be ready for them.
Education is their only road out of poverty.
To help us to finish, furnish, resource and staff our secondary school by January please donate at: