Thursday, 16 July 2020

Sandwich special

Children living at the Happy House love sandwiches. They're not something local people eat but Mama Sue has introduced them to or kids. The youngsters also help to make the bread, which is cooked in a wood-fired oven, so it is fresh and delicious. Here Husna tells us more about it and our second video is of the family tucking in at lunchtime.
















Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Weekend fun

In this video Happy House kid, Diana, tells us what the children get up to at weekends. Still in lockdown they are at home all the time but with a routine of schooling during the week so it's pretty much as normal. At weekends, they have lots of fun an some organised action too.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Braids of love

When life is normal, our girls are able to go out to have their hair braided. They go in small groups, the older ones taking the littles ones, to some of the many women who run their braiding "salons' from home. But in lockdown it has been very different. The older girls help the younger ones, carefully taking out braids, washing their hair and rebraiding it, as Diana explains as she works on the hair of her little "sister" Elizabeth. Then they help each other - as sisters do!

Monday, 13 July 2020

A letter for Diana

Letters, postcards and emails from members of their sponsor families means so much to children at Happy House. Knowing that there are people, beyond the Happy House, who care for them, who take an interest in their progress and want to share their own family news makes them feel special. We have recently been sending out short videos of our children to their sponsors and sponsors, we prefer to call them friends, have been writing in response. Here Diana reads out a letter from her friend, Elizabeth Cooper.
You can email your sponsor child via socialworkdept@childrenofwatamu.net

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Bargain Betty's 80

One of our wonderful friends known to us all as "Bargain Betty' has just celebrated her 80th birthday and is still shopping! Betty Hatch, who lives in Essex, loves to shop and has made it her mission to send out as many children's clothes as she can for our children. And she has such a keen eye for a bargain she gets some wonderful items at knock-down prices. Lockdown has, of course, curbed her shopping this year but as soon as it is sage she will be back on the hunt for a bargain. Many of our children remember Betty from when she visited with her son, Paul, a few years ago but for those who don't Mama Sue handed round a photograph of Betty on her birthday for everyone to see. And she reminded them that it's Betty who keeps them all stocked up with knickers and underpants - items that we can never have enough of. Betty, who sponsors Stephano, not only sends parcels, she also makes a donation to cover the cost of any import duty on the goods she sends - which is a massive help. Betty we love you, and thank you for all your kindness all our children.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

`Our special brother

Evans is the young man behind the production of our  recent videos.
He's a talented and caring young man who has been living in our family since he was just a little boy so he knows what it's like to grow up as a par of our Happy House family.
Today the video features David taking part in the quiz day,
Evans writes: "This special member of the family was brought to the family as a very little kid by Mama and he was given the love that a child should get. 
"He has some difficulties with his learning but ,as a family, we assist him so that  he can continue with his learning. He is loved by the family.
"So during this quiz day, I must say as a big brother to David  I was really impressed with him because he could answer a question without any problem. 
"What a difference this new method of learning it has brought to this special brother, we thank Mama for this new method truly, it has really changed everyone at home."

Friday, 10 July 2020

Surprise certificate

Nobody ever gets left out at Happy House where everyone grows up learning to care and share. At the end of the revision quiz, after a prayer of thanks, Mama presented one final certificate to one little boy who, despite being only 20 months old, likes to join in with everything and always tries his best! So much to everyone's delight, Victor, toddled up to receive his award!

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Making revision fun

Home school continues to fire the enthusiasm of our children at Happy House as they adapt to new ways of doing things during in lockdown Mama Sue thought a quiz would be a great way to revise what the children had been learning in class and each child was asked questions specific to their topics they'd been studying. Evans writes: "We had a quiz and it was a very special time for the whole family. The kids were just being asked questions that they have been learning in class, and as a family we were all glad to see how the kids were confident and could answer the questions. "So before we began, mama opened the session with some comments and also with a word of prayer."

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

An update from Mama Sue

With our Happy House family in lockdown since March, the family has got used to a new way of life and learning. Today Mama Sue brings you an update on all our news. And wherever Mama is, there will always be some children with her. Today she's joined by Edward, Lesley, AbdulMalik and Daudi.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Amaizing!

Happy House children helped to sow the maize seeds just as the rainy season was approaching. Now a few months later, and after some of the heaviest downpours we have seen for some years, they are helping to harvest it. Nurtured by nature's warmth and rain and ripened by the sun, we've got a good crop which will help to feed the 60 hungry kids who live in our care. Like the maize they shoot up too!

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Action replay

Evans who has taken on the role of Happy House football coach is harnessing technology to show his own action replays. And by showing the kids videos of their moves on the soccer pitch he can talk them through where they are performing well or where they can brush up on their skills. Evans tells us that the kids find this a great way to learn.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Love letters

Some of our older kids at Happy House have been busy sanding and painting wooden alphabet letters. Evans said: "The kids are growing quickly because they are surrounded by love which is very special. " So as they grow, they take on more responsibilities which is very nice. "Brian and the other big boys are helping in painting of some alphabet letters that will be used by their younger brothers and sisters. "They are happy to take these different responsibilities."

Friday, 3 July 2020

Ceiling costs

It's been one expense after another at Happy House as the heavy rains have found every little flaw in our building - at home and at school. And add to that the problem of birds! While our school has been closed the birds have found their way through the makuti roof to make nests in our four upstairs primary classrooms. And Mama has decided to install ceilings after making sure the roof is completely secure. We already put ceilings in some of the classrooms but these four remained open when the money ran out. Now our joiners, assisted by our general staff, are working on putting in ceilings in all four rooms at a cost of more than £1,000.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Pick a pepper

Some of our children have been in our greenhouses helping to pick pepper. The heat and the rain and brought us a good crop of green peppers which the children picked and took to the kitchen where they will be use in making soups and stews. Vegetables do not get fresher than this. Our video is presented by Mwende.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Our special boy David

Our junior David Hayward is a remarkable story of success.. Named after our own Papa Dave, he is a champion child who has overcome one obstacle after another since he was abandoned in hospital by his mother when he was only a few days old. Ten years on, David is flourishing and reaching new landmarks with each day that passes. Not all of you will know his his story. Mama Sue and Happy House were alerted to his plight when he was left at hospital and we supported him until he was well enough to come home to join our family. Concerned that he was not progressing as a baby should, Mama Sue took him to one doctor after another and when he was 11 months she took him to a specialist centre in Kilifi where she was told he would not amount to anything and to "take him home and love him". We did much more than give him love, sought expert advice, put a programme of three -times daily exercises into practice, and our whole family, kids and adults, encourage him to take part in everything we do. We ensure David has any additional help he needs in school and at home and time and time again he rewards our efforts with his courage and his smiles and his results. Her Mama, along with David and his best friend Abdul Malik, tells us more about his progress. Please share this video with your friends and family, we need more friends for our family and we always need more funds to out the best in every child who comes into our care. Without you our work would be impossible.



Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Hard work brings rewards

Our Happy House family had a wonderful sports day to celebrate their exam successes.
And everyone joined in - even Victor who wanted to wear a football shirt too! Evans reports "Mama was so pleased with their results and so she decided that we should have a have a very nice sports day. "On this special day, she had decided that we were also going to take a very nice treat of fruit and cream. "The kids really enjoyed every minute of this day and they were very happy they had made Mama pleased with their results . "Every one enjoyed themselves our little brother victor who also participated in one of the races and he did his best. "We had different kind of games like races, rounders, tug of war which was my best sport to watch. " The treat was a fruit salad and it was a nice change for the kids. "They are happy and they can’t stop loving their Mama Sue and Papa Dave because they are very special people to the kids and the whole family." In this video Rukia tells us a little about the event while the kids enjoy their treat.






















Monday, 29 June 2020

A never-ending story

Maintenance at the Happy House is a never-ending story. The building is so big than no sooner do we finish painting one end than we we need to start at the beginning again! The excessively heavy rains have taken their toll on our building and the makuti roof this year so we are bracing ourselves to spend the money it will take to get everything shipshape and looking good. As with any household, there are always jobs to be done. It's just that our house is so much bigger than most. Here Papa Dave tells us what is planned.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Double good

There is a dual advantage to having watermelon as a treat! Firstly, our children at Happy House love the delicious flavour of this juicy fruit, secondly we can keep the seeds and plant them in the garden. That means we can grow some of our own/ With thanks to the generous friends who have sent donations to spend on little treats for the children during lockdown.


Saturday, 27 June 2020

Soccer skills

Soccer training has become a real incentive to our children at Happy House. Evans, who was one of the first children to join our family when we opened in 2010, is now a young man who devotes much of his spare time to helping out. Evans has always had an interesting plating football and with the Happy House in lockdown has taken on the responsibility of organised fitness sessions for the kids - yoga when it's raining, soccer coaching when it isn't. Here he and Mama Sue chat about what he's been doing.



Friday, 26 June 2020

Tree comes down

It has been necessary to fell another tree. Growing close to the perimeter wall, it was posing a threat to our electric fence which is essential to the security of our four acre Happy House site. Our own groundsmen were able to carry out the felling themselves and the wood will be used as fuel for our wood burning oven. Nothing is wasted at Happy House.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Football's coming home!

With lockdown easing, the Premier league is back in action and our kids are over the moon! They all have their own favourite clubs, and the chance to watch a game on television again is too good to miss. So they were able to catch-up on one of the first games to be played - Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur. The Manchester United supporters amongst them well outnumbering the Spurs' fans. When the whistle went there was to be no winner with the game ending in a 1-1 draw.


Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Check point Papa!

 Yesterday, we brought you an update on on measures to keep Happy House safe from Corona virus Covid19.
A new hand held, contact-free thermometer is now being used for daily temperature checks.
All our staff, children and essential visitors are being checked with visitors required to wear masks if they have to enter the compound.
Our staff are happy to comply knowing that everything we do is in  the best interests of our children and in their best interests too.
Here is Papa doing the first check on some of our little ones.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Daily checks to keep virus at bay

Daily temperature checks on staff and children at the Happy House are now taking place in a bid to keep Coronavirus at bay. And anyone entering the Happy House will be checked at the gate to ensure they do not have a raised temperature - one of the warning sings of the virus. With many people being a bit more relaxed about lockdown in Kenya, Mama Sue is keeping our Happy House on high alert and will not be easing any of the restrictions we have enforced there since March. With schools closed, our family of 60 kids are being home schooled with lessons being conducted by teachers via the internet. If a teacher, or any essential visitors, need to come into the grounds of Happy House they must wear a mask and we have a strict hand-washing regime. Now Mama and Papa have been able to get a non-contact thermometer, which are expensive and not easily available, temperature checks can also take place as Mama explains.



















Monday, 22 June 2020

Exam ready

They might be in lockdown, but school routine carries on as normal at our Happy House. And this week the 60 children being tutored a home will be put to the test with exams. On Saturday, staff members Mr Nasri and Mr Christone were getting the banda set out for exams due to start today.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Pumpkin perfect

The rainy season is quenching the thirsty land and ensuring the crops in our Happy House gardens are doing well. Uncle Alex and uncle Julius are delighted with the way the plants are cropping and one in particular - the pumpkins. Our Happy House family really enjoy soup, especially pumpkin soup, which is always made from fresh ingredients and highly nutritious. In a few weeks time, it will be pumpkin soup on the menu!

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Popcorn all round

The Happy House children experienced a treat with a difference. Usually, treats are of the fresh fruit variety - something that costs a little more than the usual fruits in their diet. But when our lovely friends Brenda and Red Groves sent a donation to buy something for kids Mama and Papa thought popcorn would be a good idea. It was cooked in ur kitchen under the watchful eyes of Mama and papa - and with 60 kids that's a mountain of the stuff! On behalf of the family, Evans says:" Thank you Uncle Red and Auntie Brenda for you have made it possible for the kids to have this lovely treat that they have all enjoyed."

Friday, 19 June 2020

Wet weather exercise

When the rains put paid to football training, the Happy House football squad try a different form of exercise to keep them physically fit. Under the guidance of their coach, Evans, they go through a yoga routine - which stretches them physically whilst focusing them mentally.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Love is the answer

With the Happy House in lockdown because of the Coronavirus Covid pandemic, our children are really enjoying home learning, writes Evans. And when a youngster has a problem, he or she approaches Mama Sue who plays aa important role in finding solutions to whatever dilemma they are facing. Lesley, a little boy in Grade One , had a problem in maths with his long division, so when he went to mama, the solution to his problem was to find an elder brother or sister who would help him. Mama suggested Oscar and Lesley him to help. He was promised to have an hour during the weekend and Oscar took him through his work explaining where he was going wrong. At Happy House there is always someone who is ready to help so that things can be all right. All this happens because of the love there is in the family - it is a true love that would be hard to find anywhere else.


Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Making masks

Yesterday's blog was an illustration of how the children in our family have been taught about the precautions they need to take to keep themselves safe from Coronavirus Covid 19. And on Saturday morning they learnt about the need, in some situations to wear masks and why. As a way of reinforcing that important message they learnt how to make them too as Mama Sue explains.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Timely advice

Youngsters living in lockdown at the Happy House are getting a real understanding of how social distancing, hand cleanliness and wearing masks can help to beat Coronavirus Covid 19. Although they are in their own bubble at home, the time will come when schools will reopen and their world will gradually start to return to a new normal. Mama Sue wants them to be fully aware of the ways that they can help to protect themselves and others. Here Husna gives us all some advice.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Arts and crafts

Saturday mornings are times when our Happy House children have fun with arts and crafts. They make all kind of different things from projects sourced on the internet. Then the older kids help the younger ones to follow the instructions to make their chosen item. Here Florence tells us about one of the activities,

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Flying high

Two of our children have been doing so well with their home schooling they've been moved straight from PrePreparatory 2 to Primary Grade 1. Working in very small groups, overseen by our school secretary-turned-teacher, Auntie Velma, Neema John and Abdul Malik have zoomed ahead. It's tradition in Happy House School that when children move classes they are welcomed to their new class. Here we have Abdul and Neema being greeted with the welcome song.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Home school success

The Covid-19 pandemic closed schools in Kenya back in March, and so with our own school shut we have implemented home schooling at Happy House. The 60 children in our family have been working in a makeshift school setting, in their year groups, with teachers conducting lessons via Skype on to our Smart TVs. It's worked well and with very small groups, assisted in "class" by members of staff, the children have blossomed. Here Mama Sue brings you an update.

Friday, 12 June 2020

CCTV fixed

Justine, an electrician, has been working at Happy House to check our CCTV system. The system, needed for security, suffered because of the intense power flucuations we have been experiencing recently, Justine checked it out and made the adjustments needed. Thank you Justine.





Thursday, 11 June 2020

Economy conscious Happy House

Today we join a Happy House staff meeting with focus on the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on our family finances. Mama Sue is keen to impress the need to economise to every member of our team. With no tourists travelling to Kenya, we are missing the lovely international friends who support our charity and who bring us so many gifts for our store room including toiletries, clothing, educational items . Visitors often buy food for our family when they visit, often enough to buy staple food and household items to last our family of 60 children fo ra whole week. We also miss the opportunity to make new friends of those who learn about us while they are in Watamu, come to visit and often decide to sponsor a child. Sponsorship provides a regular source of income, so we always need new sponsors but know there are likely to be fewer this year. So Mama wants to make everyone aware of the need to use things carefully and to avoid any waste. Of course, they are always careful but Mama felt it was a time to remind everyone to take extra care with everything they and the children use.