Saturday, 27 February 2010

Happy House Kitchen

Now it looks like a working kitchen, everything is coming to life. Yes, it is a dream coming true. I cry most days, either frustration with the docks or just sheer delight that the children  are able to come home. They are brought to us, in such a sorry heartbreaking condition. People used to ask me why I was crying now the staff just smile and carry on. When they asked I never knew exactly why!  It is very emotional for me, I am a bit wobbly as I am writing this to you all.
 I am very worried about money, everything has cost so much more than we expected, the import duty,  electricity, water, even light bulbs, & pillows, we need so many of everything.  Medical treatment, inoculations and medicines for the children, meeting the fire regulations, is all costing every day.
We will make it we have to, we have come so far  we can't fall at the final hurdle.
Thank you all for being there and caring.
Lots of love Sue & The Kids xxx

Happy Kids & A Happy Sue

I love this picture.

Fantastic Fridge

Thanks to you two we now have chilled food in stock.
Jo, will you or Nadim write a short piece for the blog board, why & how you raised the money, what it has been used for, and why you decided to help our children.
Love Sue & The Kids xx

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


Janet at beleven years old cuddles her new friend, she has never had a teddy before.


Oscar, is such a lovely little boy. He spends most of his time in and out of the tent, peeping out the door and waving from the windows
As you can see by the emptiness of the dining room, we are still waiting for the containers to arrive. We have everything for the ebdrooms and clothes, it is the dining table and chairs, kitchen equipment and office items we are really stuck for. These children have lived in conditions a lot worse than this!!

The Kids are Coming Home !!

We now have 11 Happy House Kids!!  They are settling well and very fast. They were here all day yesterday, being their first day, not one cried or asked for a relative, they bonded together so well. We have two families one of two brothers and a 2 year old  sister. The oldest boy, Musyoka, is fantastic with the sister Fatuma. ( seen here ) He is like a little Dad. The Mum has mental problems and would go and leave the children for days at a time, so it is apparent that Evans took over the role of parent. This is why they have been removed from here and brought to the Happy House.The were definitely at serious risk. It is sad, but also amazing the power of survival in 3 so young. They all responding well to the care they are being given. All so hungry on the first day, but today they seem to be settling, and eating well at meal times. Everyone slept all night with no wet beds.
Rose is working with Alice the cook on trational African lunches and I am going to do the tea menu, with a more English theme.I gave everyone Weetabix this morning, the feelings were mixed but most of them ate them up and then asked for bread. It was such a treat for the children when it came with butter and jam!!
The children looked so different once they had been washed and dressed in all the lovely clothes that had been donated. It was obvious they also felt better to be clean and fresh. 3 children that Silas brought home last night have terrible jiggers. These are small  worms that burrow under the finger and toe nails. The nails turn black and fall off, the pain must be tremendous. The doctor came this morning and cleaned the infestations, we then took them to a local clinic for tetanus injections. One or two of the children have ring worm, which is very contagious, the doctor recommended a special cream to be used so again within the week, all should be clear. With a good hygiene regime, lots of fruits and veggies at regular meal times, these children will be soon be happy and healthy, just as they should be.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Kids are Coming Home

What a week it has been!! I can't believe it is Saturday again already.
I  mentioned during the week, we had met Benedict our first Happy House kid. Silas also brought 2 brothers and a sister to meet us,  we also had the twin babies. We decided that all 6 children would come home on Monday. Yesterday I got a call from Eric the children's officer in Malindi to say that he had just been to court and 4 children all under 6 had been signed to the Happy House. Silas returned an hour later with news that he had visited 4 children in the remote area of Jimba that he had been told about and that he had told the grandma we would take them on Monday, so in the blink of an eye we went from 1 to 4 to 6 to 10 to 14!! So I think Monday will be a busy day. The excitement among the staff is electric, everyone is singing as they work.We are building families of 10 children with a house mother and an aunty so the firs 6 went to Pricilla and Preshca, well when we got word that another 4 were coming I decided that we would start our other family with  Zippora and Monica, they were thrilled. I told them as much as I knew about the children, in no time clothes were put in lockers, toiletries arranged, and teddies put on the beds ready to be cuddled!! 
Sue & Ron Hayes have been a fantastic help with arranging for the registration of the Happy House with the authorities, and staff rotas. Sue also arranged for the staff health checks, with Alex the local Health Officer. Everyone passed with flying colours. Each member of staff had to have a Typhoid jab. Alex will also come on Monday to check the health of the children.
I will post some pictures on the children on Monday when they come home and we get them settled.
I am have been struggling with the dock authorities to get our second container released, with so many items being brand new we have had to convince them that everything really has been donated for charity. We are truly a first here!  Another container from Terry Burns and the organization Furniture for Education is also now on the dock and hopefully will be with us this next week.
It is lovely to hear from so many of you who are following the blog. I am have been having trouble for the past 4 days receiving emails, I can send but not receive. Hopefully it ill be sorted in a day or two. If you are waiting fro a reply, please bear with me I will get back to you as soon as technology allows!!
Just remembered I have to go and collect a goat tomorrow that is being donated by a local guy. Do you think it will be able to sit in the passenger seat?? No laughing! I am from Manchester we don't have goats!!

A Greatly Needed Fundraiser

Louise Webster was the first person to arrange a standing for for the Happy House Kids. She has been a  great help and support in so many ways, from creating a notice board in Turtle Bay Beach Club  about the Children of Watamnu and the Happy House Kids to forwarding emails to all our sponsors due to the slow at this side.
This is what Louise had to say:-
A funny money casino night was organised by myself (Louise Webster) with the help of Ann Gaines and Christine Martin. This was kindly hosted for free by the Wensleydale Round Table and 50 people spent the night gambling with millions of pounds of Wensleydale money. The night was enjoyed by all and most importantly £629 was raised. Having witnessed the beautiful Happy House for ourselves and knowing how desperately needed extra funds are we were pleased to have raised such an amount. I have had lots of people asking if I am going to hold another and suggestions that I should make it an annual event so watch this space.
Thank you to all the people in Wensleydale.
P.S. Wensleydale cheese is just lovely,  Grommit told me !

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Twins are Coming Home

Wednesday was very emotional for us all at the Happy House. Silas went to visit the family of the two week old twins whose Mum had died. He brought the  Great Grandmother, the grandmother and the sister of the Mum who died, plus the twins a boy and a girl. The Grandmother was very upset, she lost her daughter two weeks ago and now she was having to make the decision on the future of the babies. The family cannot  afford to buy the milk needed for new babies.  99% of babies here are breast fed. They had been trying to feed the twins on cows milk but obviously the babies couldn't take it. They had rags on for nappies and were so tiny and frail. The little boy was having trouble with his bowels. We decided that Silas would go with the family to the local clinic and get the babies examined. There was no serious problems. We bought the medicine needed, and the baby food. We gave the Grandma bottles, clothes, pampers and wipes. We had to explain what the pampers and wipes were for, they had never seen them before. The babies will be coming home to the Happy House on Monday to stay. Grandma thought it was a wonderful place for the babies to be brought up. We assured her they they would be loved and well cared for, and the door of the Happy House would always be open for her and the family to visit the children.
For obvious reasons we did not take any photographs. Silas was quite upset by the situation, as we all were, and believes his new job as our Social Worker is going to be very challenging. I held the little boy in my arms and said to him ' Children such as you and your sister are the reason I am here'
Every item we gave to the family for the twins had been donated by all of you. Without YOU we would not be able to help these families and orphans. Thank you all so much for being there, and  for caring.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Baby Room

Silas has heard to today of a set of twins whose mother  died just three hours after giving birth, two weeks ago. The father is no where to be seen.Family members are trying to take care of the babies but the conditions they are in are just too dire for me to explain to you. The poverty is unbearable! I keep saying to Dave when we see such situations 'Dave, this is 2010!' After 10 years we are still shocked and saddened by what we see on a daily basis. Silas will ask the family if we can help. People have pride, and we treat this with a great deal of respect, the family ties are strong but sometimes life as it is, is impossible to cope with.

Grandpa & Grandma Yaa

We could not welcome the first child home without these two very special people being here to enjoy this wonderful moment . Rose & Silas are so happy to share today with their grandparents.

House Mum & Aunty

Priscilla on the right and Prescha at the back are going to be taking care of Benedict

Today we Made History !

What an exciting day!! 
 Silas brought the very first Happy House Kid to visit us today. His name is Benedict and he is 4 years old. His Mum died of Aids last December and he is being cared for my his Grandma, pictured here, but she is unable to care for a very demanding small child. As we are still trying to get so many thing finished off, and still have two containers to be delivered, Benedict will come home permanently on Monday. We were worried that he will not want to leave his Grandma, and would be crying. We were right he cried so much, but only  when he had to go home, he wanted to stay and sleep at the Happy House. We are sure he will settle well in such a happy environment. We have asked one of the House Mothers Priscilla, and an Aunty Preshca to be our first family and to bond with Benedict. The atmosphere in the Happy House is lovely, everyone is so pleased to be there, from the Mums to the gardeners.
I know you are all waiting to be introduced to your 'own' child, but please, give me some time, I will be in touch with you all personally, we just need time to do the most important thing, and I know you will all agree, and that is to get the children settled over the next few weeks. 

Primrose & Candy Stobbs

Last year I was contacted by a lovely lady called Primrose Stobbs. Primrose told me that in the past she has organized large Carol Services in support of charities in various churches in the London area. Primrose offered to arrange one in support of our children, I was delighted.
I received a phone call yesterday from  Primrose to say she was here in Watamu with her daughter Candy and could they come to see the Happy House. Primrose told me of her plans for the carol service to be held at the Chelsea Old Church which stands on the Chelsea Embankment. It is arranged for the 9th of December. I am planning to go back to Blackpool in November for our annual charity night so we decided I would also go and speak at the Carol Service. I felt so proud to be asked.

Thanks to so many

Rose and Monica are helping to arrange our Baby Room. We have put the cots in place, a selection of baby boys and girls  clothes in various sizes toiletries, nappies etc. have been sorted out. So when I child comes home an individual  pack with all he/she will need  are at the ready. I cannot tell you how the excitiment is mounting!!

Getting Grandpa ready for the Rainy Season

One of the many items we were given was this Kagool . Grandpa Yaa is always out and about so we thought this would be good for him in the rainy season. He just loved it!!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

If you want a Safaris Julius Ndaa is your guy

Silas introduced us to Julius Ndaa last year during the time that Lytham High School were here in Watamu. Julius arranged for the teachers and students to go on a safari, visit Hells Kitchen, Malindi, the Butterfly Farm, Snake Farm and also a fantastic boat trip where they could swim and snorkel in the Marine Park followed by a superb lobster lunch cooked on the beach. He also picked the group up every day from Turtle Bay Beach Club and returned them in the evenings after a hard day at school!!
Julius's prices are very reasonable, around £200 to £250 for a two day one night safari. He can arrange packages to suit everyone. Some of you might want to include other local trips or a boat trip to see the dolphins, he will arrange everything to suit the individuals needs. Julius has agreed to donate 20% of all profit to the Happy House Kids. . For those of you who are travelling to Watamu in March for the 'official' opening I will arrange a meeting for everyone so Julius will be able to come and tell you personally, what where and when and the all important how much. No need to book in advance it can all be done during you visit. He is unable to take credit cards.
If you would like any information  regarding the trips available please do not hesitate to contact Julius direct via his email on  Please state that you are connected to us and our children.
Chris our fantastic Webmaster and I will be creating page on the website for more information about Julius with recommendations from the Lytham High School teachers and students.

Neil French & Andy Neville

Dave & I were lucky enough to meet Neil French and Andy Neville this week. They are staying at Turtle Bay Beach Club and are here for the fishing. Not being a girl to miss an opportunity I mentioned the Happy House Kids. They immediately offered to give us the largest fish that would hopefully be caught the next day.True to their word, we now have a freezer full with 20 kilos of fish. When the next container arrives with the fridges and freezers for the Happy House we can transfer the fish to be used for the children.
Neil and Andy came to see for themselves what was happening at the Happy House and were very impressed. They have promised to help raise some much needed funds to sustain the running of the Happy House, either with a fishing competition or other event. Neil is also going to pass the word around the fishing fraternity here in Watamu that we need fish for our kids on a regular basis.
Thanks guys.

Isn't it Beautiful ?

Isn't the Happy House just beautiful, it is waiting for the kids to come then it will be a home

Happy House

Kitchen all clean and nice waiting for more utensils to arrive.

Curtain Poles

On the land we had a lot of Casarena trees. They are grown as a money crop. The grow very fast and very straight. They are sold to be used for many purposes including scaffolding and Machuti roofs. You can see in this picture they have been used on our Banda around the sides and up in the roof. I have found another use for them. We are going to use them as curtain poles. We have over 60 windows, so the cost for buying all the fitting would have been terrific. Moses and Fred can be seen here removing the bark and getting ready to stain them. We have had brackets made. I just want you all to know we are not wasting a penny of the hard earned money that is being donated.

Let There be Light !

At last we have electricity! The company supplying us is called Kenay Power and Light, but is kown locally as Kenya Power and Darkness due to all the power cuts! We need a big generator  to run everything during these cuts but that will cost £4,500 to £5,000 so that will have to wait.
We needed 75 lampshades! We bought the local wicker ones at 100/- each ( 85p ) they look lovely. We need 18 outside lights at a cost of 500/- each, 9,000/- Ksh Just less than £60. We are having mosquito screens made for all the windows, starting the the children's bedroom. Waiting for the quote on that one. Silas brought a lady he knows who runs a community project teaching young girls to sew, as you know i am always very keen to support our own community. We asked her to make the curtains, cushions, bedcover and mosiquito nets. I think the sun is getting to me now! I asked this lady, Rose, how many girls do you have in training, she said 35, I thought Oh great they will soon have everymade made and ready. Then Silas asked me how many machines do we have? I said 'Us?' Why how many does she have he said 2!! Not as quick as I thought then!! We have a machine at school we can use, one already here that was dontated by a Blackpool lady and is a beautiful hand Singer machine. My own electric machine is in the container due any day now, so now we have 5! I will have to organise shifts for them so the machines are running 24 hours, just a joke!! Or maybe a thought..........

Getting Ready

We are all busy getting ready for our children to come, the excitment is mounting amongst all of us! 
In this picture you can see many of the items that have been bought and donated to the Happy House Kids. Nappies bought by so many people on the Fylde Coast who 'Added a Happy House Kid to Their Shopping List' I wish i could email everyone to say thank you to show pictures of what they donated actually being in the Happy House but I am sure you all understand that being ready for our children is the top priority.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Emailing: Elders 009

Silas has been out and about meeting and talking to all the local village elders and chiefs. The assistant chief of this area came to the Happy House to see for himself what we are doing and why. He was thrilled with what we told and showed him. He then called a meeting of the village elders of all the 19 villages in his jurisdiction. Silas attended this meeting to explain all about the Happy House. I was delighted when Silas brought everyone to have a look around and see for themselves this beautiful place for children. One of the elders said to Silas this is the first time we have ever been consulted and invited to see where the children will live. They felt honored that they had been shown so much respect. These are the people who know the genuine cases of children who need our help. The also work with the children's officer in Malindi, but he is not always able to help. The children will be identified and the details will be given to Silas to go and meet the children and assess the situations. We can bring the children home to the Happy House while the court orders are processed. We were told about 3 children who are living with a very old Granddad who is unable to care for himself never mind small children. There is a mother who is dying with Aids and she just wants to know her baby will be taken care of.
 It is so sad for so many, but now we are here we know we are able to 'Make a Difference'

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Country Boy & Staff

Over the past year we have had people working on the land at the Happy House. Today they were offically interviewed and offered permanent positions. Of course the Country Boy was there to oversee the proceedings. We have made him the Head of Department as now he has staff!!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Country Boys Chicken House

The chicken house is coming on great. After the coral walls we will put the wire and then a lovely makuty ( thatched ) roof. Watch this space!

Water Tank

It was decided that we need an underground fresh water tank. The coral that is being dug out is being used to build the walls of the chicken house. Free materials are always the best

Lots to do

These two local ladies come everyday to help with anything and everything. Today they are washing all the mattress covers, all 100 of them,Soon we can start to make the beds up.
My second container is due to dock today ot tomorrow, when that arrives we will be well on our way to opening. It has the curtains, cooking utensil, fridge, freezer and cooker. Plus lots of medical equipment and items that people have bought who added a Happy House Kid to their shopping list, toiletries, nappies, clothes, shoes and so much more.

How are we looking?

We are now starting to get the bedrooms organised. We have the beds and lockers. The brackets have been fixed for the curtain poles. We are having these made from Casarena trees that are growing on the land. We need 69 lampshades these are being made locally, in wicker.