Sunday, 31 January 2010

Happy House Staff

With  great help from Sue Hayes we now have some staff organized for the Happy House. Rose who has worked with me at school for the past few years is now the Happy House Administrator ( far left ) Rose helped with organizing the interviews. We have two cleaners, two house Mums, 2 aunties and a cook. They will be starting work on the 8th of February. It will be great for them to be able to organize the children's bedrooms and clothes themselves ready for the children to come home. Alice the cook is very enthusiastic and looking forward to learning how to bake cakes and biscuits and make fresh bread. All cooking here is done on open fires so to have an oven is a new  and exciting experience for Alice.

Saturday, 30 January 2010


Our lovely Grandpa Yaa was there to supervise the unloading and at 91 years old he worked as hard as the young men. Grandpa is so proud of what has been achieved. Without his kindness and generosity in giving me the 4 acres of land there would be no Happy House.

Girl Power !

The ladies worked inside the Happy House stacking the matresses and organising the cartons.

The truck arrives at the Happy House

Every time the truck came down the road everyone was on board ready to unload. We could hear them coming before we could see them, singing and shouting.

At Last!!

On Thursday amongst great excitment our first container finally arrived! What a relief. The Country Boy broke the seal, when opened it was packed to the doors with beds, bedding, children's clothes and medical equipement, lockers and storage racks etc etc. Everything has been donated.
Due to the raod being narrow the lorry was unable to get onto the Happy House land so we had to hire a truck and transfer everything from the container to the truck. We employed lots of local people to help, they had a great time. As always the Country Boy was team leader with everyone laughing and shouting encouragement to each other. The boys were racing to see who could work the fastest the ones inside the container or the ones on the truck.
So now we have started to arrange the children's bedrooms and sort the clothes out. Our next cotainer is due in Mombasa on Sunday and the third one on the 15th of February. Fingers crossed we have sorted all the problems out for delivery.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Counrty Boy

Dave, or as he is know to most of us, The Country Boy,  decided that we must make a start on the chicken run. We feel that we can start a small busines with the chickens and eggs. We can buy 200 chicks and in 12 weeks they will be ready for market. We are also having chickens just for eggs. If we can earn enough to the wages of the outside staff from this cottage industry it will be a great help. All those of you who have bought chickens, don't worry we are not going to eat those, they will be the ones for the eggs.

Busy getting ready

Dave & I went to the Happy at 8am this morning it was a hive of activity. The excitement is mounting as we move closer to being ready for our children to come home.
The girls were busy washing the floors, Gideon our gardener is putting the finishing touches to the gardens in the courtyard.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Dubai Volunteers

During 2009 I was contacted by a lovely lady called Jo Maher from Dubai, who I have since met with her family here in Watamu. Here a piece that Phukaka, who founded the Dubai Volunteers sent when I asked why they decided to support the Children of Watamu and our Happy House Project.

DUBAI: A charity support group called Dubai Volunteers founded by Phukaka & his friends, has been raising funds this winter in Dubai to support the Children of Watamu and its Happy House in Watamu, Kenya.


Dubai Volunteers was set up by Phukaka to support sustainable projects for children. As part of the global Volunteer programme, he has conducted successful volunteer trips to Cambodia & Nepal and now to Africa, to support Children of Watamu. Children of Watamu was been introduce to us by one of my Dubai Volunteers, Jo Maher, who herself has been an active member of Dubai Volunteers fundraisers.


Phukaka said. "We were completely touched by the effort and dedication made by the founder of Children of Watamu, as we decided to give here a hand in such noble cause.  We have been organizing fundraisers throughout the winter. All money raised will go to Children of Watamu, a charity set up by an amazing lady called Sue Hayward who has devoted over ten years of her life to making a difference to the orphaned children of Watamu."


The charity has been instrumental in building three schools, which educate 700 children from the age of two years until they are ready to work. This March, Dubai Volunteers will dispatch a group of volunteers to Watamu to assist Sue to assist her for pre arrangement for the Opening of Happy House.


Our fundraising initiative will support their latest project, the Happy House, which is due to open officially in March. Our goal is to help them buy the supplies they need to complete and run the home."


Dubai Volunteer, Jo Maher after her visit to Watamu said: "Sue is an inspiration and proves that we can make a difference by putting smiles on children's faces and, more importantly, giving them a future."


Dubai Volunteers supports non-profit organisations in various developing countries.


Visit for more information.




Friday, 22 January 2010

Well we have Water

The toilets are now flushing with well water, which is also connected to the showers.It will also be used for cleaning and the gardens. We had to buy a larger pump to get the water up into the top water tank.
The mains water should be connected this week which will be used for drinking and cooking.

A House waiting to become a Home

This is a view from the rear of the Happy House looking into the courtyard where the childrens bedrooms are.

Kids helping Kids

Aston and Cote Primary School in Oxfordshire have been supporting the Children of Watamu for a year.  A class of year 5 children have email pals and have enjoyed writing to them and receiving replies.  After our Christmas performances a retiring collection was made in aid of the Children.  

Martin Lees our first Volunteer

Martin Lees our very first volunteer arrived on Sunday. Martin will be with us for the next 8 weeks and has settled in very quickly. Sue & Ron Hayes have been showing him around the village and he has been helping us with the Volunteer Scheme. Martin is looking forward to the container arriving and helping us to start organizing the Happy House.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Latest News

We are still fighting for our container but we are making progress. We have been to every office in Mombasa to plead our case, we have now managed to get the import duty reduced  by £700, and now we are sorting out the storage charges. Hopefully by later today that will be organized and we can take delivery at long last!! When the other two arrive there won't be these type of problems again. I think every customs officer  in Kenya from Nairobi to Mombasa has now heard of The Children of Watamu.
The electricity is being connected tomorrow and the water should be early next week
We have been in contact with Eric,the Children's Officer from Malindi since we first had the plans drawn, he has visited us twice during the time we have been building. We asked him to come again on Wednesday and he was thrilled to see the Happy House finished. He wrote a letter to say it was the best children's home in all of Kenya. We all knew that didn't we? We told Eric we intend to be open for our first children to come home by the middle of February. Now is a good time for you all to cross your fingers!!
Silas has been fantastic travelling to Mombasa to Nairobi to Malindi, anywhere to help us get everything organized. Everything here is a procedure, and every procedure takes forever.
I will post pictures as soon as we get the container. Most of them will be of me kissing container!
It is rather frustrating at the moment but it will be worth everything when we see those happy healthy children running around and laughing in the Happy House.
Thank you to all of you who help and support us in so many ways.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Footballs from Dubia

A group of people called the Dubai Volunteers have been kind enough to send us over 100 t-shirts and 20 beautiful leather footballs. Dave took the balls to school and the kids went mad with excitement. We now know that crowd control is not one of Daves strong points when  he is stood between a few hundred children and 20 bright shiney brand new red leather footballs! He is more of a 'Country Boy'
A special thanks to Jo Maher and Abdulazziz Redha for the help and support in so many ways.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Water Tanks

The water tanks have now been put in place. The plumber was on site to connect everything today. The mains water will be connected within the next week. I feel we are at least one step closer to bringing our children home.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Happy House Progress

Things are moving along here,just that everything seems to take so long!
 We have ordered the the two water tanks needed, one for the well water to be used for washing, toilets and cleaning,and watering the gardens The other for fresh water for the kitchen and drinking. We still need to buy a generator to pump the water to where it is needed at a cost of £5,000. Such a lot of money! 
Dixon, our building contractor has submitted the forms needed to apply for the water connection, and Silas is meeting with the guy from the Electricity Board this morning so he can decide which package we need. We have to bear in mind that this is not as simple as it sounds, we have to pay for the poles and cables to be erected and the power brought to the Happy House from the nearest point available.
Still no news on the container being delivered, we will chase them yet again on Monday.
The volunteer scheme is being developed with the help of Sue & Ron Hayes and should be on the website later this week.
I know there is terrible snow in England at the moment, if it is any comfort it is pouring with rain here!!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

We are here at last!!

We are here at last!!
The finishing touches are just being put to the Happy House. A small amount of painting has to be done, small electrical jobs to be finished and then the BIG clean ready for the first container to be delivered. As always it has been so difficult to get it released from the docks, but hopefully it will be with us on the 5th of January.
Thank you for all your good wishes for our new life with the children and for all the support and encouragement we have received from so many of you.
This Happy House belongs to all of us we have all made it happen. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I will post blog nearly every day, connection permitting, so you can all follow the progress.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Bovis Lend Lease

I was delighted to be asked to speak at a fund raising dinner held by The Bovis Lend Lease Company. Dave & I met  the Senior Construction Manager  Alistair Hendrie and his partner Val. Alistair has recently donated 6 wheel barrows, 6 spades, 6 hoes ,6 forks, lots of power tools and a most excellent tool box with everything needed for jobs big and small around the Happy House. Also a 42inch plasma screen television with a DVD player for the children and a bread maker for Sue. Furniture has also been donated through the Lancashire Schools Project that has been included in the container shipped by Furniture for Education Worldwide.
Nigel Sharphouse the Project Director and his wife Julie have joined with Alistar and Val to sponsor some of our Happy House Kids. Everyone will be joining us in March for the 'official ' opening day to meet the children,and to see for themselves how all the tools and equipment have helped our project. The television will be used to educate our little ones.

Furniture for Education Worldwide

Furniture for Education Worldwide, of which Terry Burns is the Chairman, contacted me to ask if we needed unwanted school furniture. The answer was a very definate YES please.Terry said his chairty would pay for a 40 Ft. container to be shipped out to the Happy House with lots of the much furniture needed for the Happy House Kids,  tables, chairs, bookcases, filing cabinets etc. Terry intends to send another container in February to coincide with the 'offical' opening of the Happy House on the 17th of March 2010. I am delighted that Terry and some of the other Trustees are travelling to Watamu to meet our children and join in the celebrations.
Thank you to everyone concerned for this very generous contribution to the Happy House Kids
Terry is pictured here at the bottom middle.