Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Home again for Christmas

Christmas is a time for families the world over to be together.
It’s not about presents, but presence, writes Elizabeth Gomm
That is why at Happy House, Mama Sue is setting a Happy House Christmas tradition by bringing those children who have been repatriated back into families, back home for a holiday.
Yesterday, around 30 children now back with relatives in the community arrive home.
When we get there one little boy is waiting on the steps leading to Mama's office.
Linus and his sister Mildred  have come via an overnight bus after a 36 hour journey from Western Kenya and Linus can't wait to greet his Mama.
Brian Hayward
As soon a the car pulls up and Papa opens the door he is in clambering over Papa, giving him a hug on the way, to reach Mama. As soon as Papa gets out, Linus settles into the driving seat to pretend to drive - just as he has so many times before
Other kids run over all wanting to say hi to Mama and Papa.
For me, to be back home with my Happy House family at this special time is ajoy.
To see kids, I remember as being very tiny when they came to us, as long as seven years ago, and who I have not seen for two years since they went home was just amazing. To see how they’ve grown and changed.
But what means the most is that they remember me and I am still their Auntie Libby.
These kids, now home for a week of Christmas fun settle in as if they've never been away. The little ones visiting and those who live here are playing together just as they always have, the older ones catching up and sharing their news. 
Peter and Paul
They’ve deck the halls with as many glittery decorations as we can find, climbing up to string streamers around the big banda where Santa will do his stuff on Wednesday.
Everywhere you look there are kids in clusters chattering.
They sort out who is sleeping where, we don’t have beds for all some will camp down on mattresses. It’s all part of the fun.
 After lunch of pizza, the little ones carry on playing and while the older ones stay behind to tell Mama and Papa about their lives in the community. They share news and experiences and talk about their schools and their marks.
Some who’ve returned  to our fold because things haven’t worked out back home, tell their stories.  Musyoka explains how happy he and his brother Francis and sister, Mwende,   were with his grandparents but of how when his teachers changed, and there were fewer, their marks were dropping and so he called Mama who stepped in to help.  They are really happy here knowing they have the love of their family too.
Hug for Hassan from Papa
Evans, one of our first Happy House kids, says he and his sister, Janet, and brother, Oscar, are now living with their auntie but still coming to Happy House school.  He says how nice it is to be back with old friends again and how they are all family. He thanks Mama for making it possible.
More kids speak – Hassan, Maria. Janet, Oscar, Rukia, Said ( who has sneaked in to join the big ones), Barbara, Keziah, Hope,, Musyoka. John , Sifa, Karembo. Samson. The list goes on.
 Without exception they thank Mama for giving them love and support whether they are living at Happy House or in the community, and for bringing them together at Christmas.
and for Maria
Teachers, Auntie Rose and Papa all have something to say to welcome the kids before the gathering breaks up and the kids go wherever they wish to go.
Throughout the afternoon, latecomers arrive. All happy and smiling and delighted to be back.
Before we leave Mama calls a quick Kidz Club to remind the kids that nothing has changed while they’ve been away. We are still the caring, sharing family, who look after each other, uses their nice words and behaves well.
She introduces them to the current Kidz Council members and room captains, with a few extra recruits to assist, and explains that they are her eyes and ears and asks the kids to follow their leadership.
A few songs, a rousing practice of Jingle Bells led by Papa, and the afternoon comes to a close.
As we leave, the kids are having fun and looking forward to a supper of rice and beef. 
Tomorrow we will be back for day 2 our festive fun week.
To make a donation to our work please go to https://www.justgiving.com/childrenofwatamu/Donate

Zoom braiders

Lytham businessman Peter Reid and his wife Joanne are back visiting Happy House .
Peter, who has been given the all clear from cancer lost his hair when he had chemotherapy, and is now set to lose it all again.
He will be having his luscious locks shaved off tomorrow to raise money for our family but yesterday  some of our girls put him through an extra ordeal by giving him braids and a cool new look.
Always ready for a new challenge they got his locks into braids in no time, with Mama Sue joining in armed with scissors.
But the cutting will wait til tomorrow, when Pete's Fro has to Go! 
Please support his effort at