Sunday, 31 October 2010

Thank you Dawn

All our beautiful bright curtains at the Happy House were donated by Dawn & Bob from Swatchbox Curtains in Blackpool. Bob & Dawn visited us here at the Happy House earlier in the year. Dawn has been following the blog and saw the article regarding opening bank accounts for all our children, she thought it was such a good idea that she has donated 5 pounds to each child's account. Thank you Dawn for  getting everyone off to a good start.

Friday, 29 October 2010

And now we are 45

On Saturday two boys came to the gate of the Happy House to ask if they could come in, they were in a terrible state both physically and mentally. The boys were crying begging Billy to let them stay. Billy talked to them and said he would deal with things in the correct way. On Monday we received a call from the headmaster of the school they have been attending for just 2 weeks to tell us about the same children. He said there was 4 of them all in the same local children's home. We called the Children's officer from Malindi to come with us as they have the authority to take children into care. As soon as we saw the children at the school the officer decided that due to the condition of the children it was impossible to send them back to where they had been staying, that was before we had even visited the place. We immediately said we would bring them home. When we arrived at the so called 'home' there was another 2 children there. 2 little girls aged 8 who had not been attending school. The conditions were so bad I am not even going to describe them. Three of the children had terrible jiggers in their feet, the little black worms that burrow under toe nails and into the flesh on the feet. We immediately soaked their feet in solution of peroxide and water and the next day a friend of mine who runs a beauty salon came with items needed to remove the dreaded jiggers. In just two days the Happy House magic is working on the children. They are smiling, which is always a good sign, they are mixing well with their new brothers and sisters, eating and sleeping. On Monday they will go back to school a lot happier and healthier than they were last time the headmaster saw them.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Harry or is it Moses ?

Today Billy & I took baby Harry to Malindi Hospital for a check up. He was only 1.5kg born and had been abandoned at the side of the road. He was found and taken to the hospital where he was placed in an incubator and suffered all kinds of problems for the first few weeks of his life which he well and truly fought to keep. We were asked if, when he was strong enough if he could become a Happy House Kid, of course we said yes. We supported with baby food, medicines, clothes pampers etc, until Harry weighed 2.2kg, then we were called to bring him home.
While we were at the hospital today we took Harry to the baby ward to see the staff that had taken such good care of him. The nurses were delighted to see him weighing in at 3.7kg They girls kept saying oh Moses you are beautiful oh Moses look how big your are. Billy said he is Harry now at the Happy House. On leaving the ward I asked why are they calling him Moses, as we had been asked to name him. Billy explained that every foundling in Kenya is always called Moses after Moses in the bible who was found by the Pharaohs daughter in a basket in the bull rushes. I thought that was just lovely.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Off we go!!

On Monday Suamu one of our twins stood up and walked, we were all delighted we clapped and called to her, she was laughing so much. Not to be left out her sister Pendo decided she would also walk. Linus looked around , saw the girls having lots of attention let go of the chair he was holding and walked across to them. So within 20 minuets 3 of our children were mobile. It was about half an hour later when the children came home from school, we were saying look, look at the babies walking, everyone crowded round clapping and laughing, the babies really put on a show. Were really are a loving Happy family xx

Monday, 25 October 2010

Young savers!

 We know how much our sponsor families care about their children and how it  can be difficult to
know what to send as a gift. Our children do have all they  need when it comes to clothes and toys. We are really grateful for your generosity, and know how you love your kids, but something small is
fine,  specially as postage costs so much money. 
 I have been talking to the bank and we are now in the process of setting up  bank accounts for each of our children so they will all have their own  little nest egg for the future, so instead of sending gifts you  could make a contribution to give them a financial cushion!
 Donations can  be made through Just Giving on the website, if you use this method please email  me to tell me how much you have donated and to which child. Alternatively  cheques can be sent to Elizabeth Gomm, 6, Burwood Drive, Blackpool, FY3 8NS. 
 Shelagh and Clive, who are in Francis' sponsor family, sent him a Blackpool  FC pen and £10, he was
thrilled when Billy explained that it would be opening  his savings account. He thinks he's rich! All the children love receiving your cards, letters and photographs and get such a sense of belonging and
friendship  from them. Thank you all for caring.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Thank you Clear Blue Tenerife

What a difference it has made to the Family having our own mini bus. The bus was bought for us by Clear Blue Estate Agents in Tenerife. Alan and his company have always been very supportive. Staff friends and relations have contributed in many ways from running marathons to quiz nights.
The children are now taken to school and brought home every day. Dave went to pick them up one day last week, they were all stood together outside school when they saw him coming they were shouting and waving Papa Dave, Papa Dave, as soon as he stopped they all climbed in, so happy to be going Home. When Rose and I are in the office we can hear the children coming home down the road singing and laughing. We look at each other and smile, it is so wonderful to be making such a difference.
Thank you to everyone who make our children happy, but today it is a special Thank you from the Happy House Family to Clear Blue Estate Agents Tenerife.

Happy House Family Say Thank you

The Rotary Club at Limvardy were kind enough to sponsor baby Harry and also donate the funds to enable us to build this beautiful banda. It will be used  as a classroom for local children to come and have a meal and learn. Many children in the surrounding area only have a meal possibly every couple of days. We must help them to see there is a future for them. If we can teach children to read,  write, add up, take away, and know their tables  they have a chance, a hope in a life full of despair. What a difference we can make by all working together.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Card sharps

While Elizabeth Gomm was visiting the Happy House she and Billy got the kids making cards for her to bring back to send to sponsors and she is now going through the task of sending them out.
Today she delivered one made by Rose to the Open Door Project at Grange Park, Blackpool, who are in her sponsor family. They were thrilled to bits.
They have a special book where everything they receive from the Happy House is kept and which they can show to visitors.
Elizabeth also took them pictures of Brenda, our Happy House cow, because they have shown a great interest in her welfare.
Bob, whose sister is also called Brenda, was delighted to pose for a picture!
The group mentions Rose, Sue and everyone at the Happy House in their prayers, and we thank them so much for that.

Many hands Make Light Work

The 20th of October is a Bank Holiday here in Kenya so all the children were at home. Mwende and Pendo decided to help Rose & I in the office. For Pendo, who is such a little bossy boots it was all too tiring and fell fast alseep on the sofa for 3 hours in the afternoon. Rose & I knew just how she felt!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Smiles better!

Everyone wore a smile when Elizabeth Gomm went along to give a talk about the Happy House to Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre NHS Retirement Fellowship today.
She gave them each a smiley face sticker to wear before she started ... telling them that smiles are everywhere you go in the Happy House.
But,despite the smiles, some of the audience were moved to tears when she told them about the hardship endured by our kids before they joined our family.
The Fellowship made a donation of £100 to the charity, plus two private donations making a total of £115 and some ladies showed an interest in sponsoring too. They were bowled over our inspirational Sue Hayward, her drive and determination.
Thank you for being such a good audience and for caring about our kids.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Happy Birthday

Yesterday the 16th was my birthday. We had the most brilliant day. Of course the children voted for a pool party, so all 39 happy House kids and staff came to play. Lots of friends also came to celebrate with us. Alice our cook and the children had baked a cake, we had juice and sweets and biscuits as always we had a great family party.
All our girls have swim suits but the boys have to use their underpants, anyone who is going to the Charity Night in November in Blackpool and have any swimming trunks to spare we would be very grateful for them. The boys are from babies of a few months up to 13 year olds. Trunks could also be posted to Elizabeth Gomm at 6, Burwood Drive, Blackpool FY3 8NS.
Also can I ask for posters and wall charts for our new nursery, in fact anything to make it bright, colourful, and of course Happy ! Do you have and educational DVD's your children or grand child have grown out of? You are all always so kind and generous I know you will help us.
Dave & I are soooooo looking forward to seeing everyone.

Happy House Open Day

On Friday the 15th of October we opened our doors to all the community. We invited everyone to come and see the the Happy House Kids. Most people know of the Happy House but had never been inside or fully understood what we are about. Around 70 people came to see us, we told them how we came to build the Happy House, about our children and our hopes and dreams for the future, the support we received was heart warming. Many people brought fruit, flour, biscuits, rice and maize. We have had promises of regular food donations which will be a great help to us.
 We  want to open a Nursery School in January. We received a generous donation from a Company that supported us last year to furnish and finish. They again contacted me to ask if they could help as they had enjoyed working with us and the feedback they received on how their donation was used.
 The Nursery School would be used by  the children of parents who can afford to pay for them to attend school, Managers in the hotels, local business people etc. If we can get that off the ground and it is self supporting it will enable us to offer free child places to the less fortunate. I have also had a generous donation from Limvardy Rotary Club in Northern Ireland, for us to build an outside Banda, that can be used as a classroom and play area. The children will be able to move up from the banda into the Nursery School itself, where we will provide uniforms and shoes, so that everyone will be the same and start on a level playing field. If your Dad is a Manager or your Mum can only feed you every other day you will look and feel the same as all the other children.  I say move up from the banda is because as the children come initially for the free places they will probably never have  worn pants, used a toilet or eaten anything but Ugali ( a local dish of maize flour ) They will not speak any English, know any discipline, other than being smacked, or have even the slightest idea of life at school.  This is why the banda is so important, to take these children from the bush and to put them in a classroom would be impossible, the banda is open, they can see around, they can at first, sit on the floor, as they are used to, until we can gradually educate them into a school environment.  This is not just about teaching ABC it is an education into being a member of the community, an individual who knows how to behave, how to eat, and yes, how to read and write. Lots of little people who will hold their heads high and say 'I go to Happy House Nursery.' 

Sunday, 17 October 2010

With love from Blackpool!

An evening of wellbeing staged by kind-hearted therapists at the newly-opened Soma Clinic, Church Street, Blackpool, raised £234 for the Happy House.
Organised by Sandra Whittle, who founded Soma, therapists gave their time freely to provide taster treatments for guests. Angel card readings were given by Jackie Winters and Lynn McCluskey.
There were delicious refreshments, provided by Sandra, and a raffle to boost the takings.
Pictured is Sandra applying a treatment, and Happy House supporters Jackie Aspinall, Brian Baty, Lynn McCluskey and Elizabeth Gomm.
Many thanks to Sandra and everyone at Soma for a lovely evening. Everyone went home feeling so relaxed!
Angel evening
Our next Happy House fundraiser is an evening of Angel card readings, hosted by Lynn and friends, at The Grapevine, Poulton, on Monday, November 1, starting at 6.30pm. Suggested minimum donation £6 for a  15-minute taster reading. There is no need to buy tickets in advance and everyone is welcome.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Harry's a headliner!

Harry makes headlines
Our miracle baby Harry Hayward, abandoned at birth weighing not much more than a kilo, is making headlines in an Irish newspaper.
Baby Harry,eight weeks premature, defied the odds by winning his battle for survival aided by the Happy House which provided Maldindi hospital with the milk, medicine, nappies and clothes he needed until he was well enough to join the Happy House family.
His story touched the hearts of Limavady Rotary Club in Northern Ireland which is supporting him, as part of his sponsor family, until he reaches 18. 
The Londonderry Sentinel heard about our Harry and Elizabeth Gomm sent them this story.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Picture perfect

Trustee Elizabeth Gomm writes: Anyone who has been to visit the Happy House will recognise the silhouettes in this picture ... they are just like some of our kids. John, Oscar, Mwende, Janet, Sifa and Musyoka are all there, against an African evening sky.

What a coincidence that Kamango, a local artist, should, unintentionally, have created such an appropriate and beautiful piece of art to take pride of place in the room which is the hub of our children's home.

Sue had seen the painting outside the artist's studio and loved it. So it was my pleasure to buy it using the money given to me by friends, to be spent on Happy House, when I left The Gazette + a little bit extra. Sue is delighted and children, staff and visitors love it as much as she does.

Thank you to my friends for helping me to give something so special, and so permanent, to enhance the lives of everyone who sees it.

Monday, 11 October 2010


Miles for smiles!
Well done to Lisa Howard who completed the Jersey Marathon raising £478 for the Happy House. Lisa says: "Hello to all my big-hearted, very kind special friends and relatives.
"As you can see I managed the full 26.2 miles of the Jersey Marathon is just under four hours.. I don't know how my legs managed to get me through the last four miles but, some how, they did and that's all that matters
 "I can't thank you enough for all your good luck wishes and most of all, for your generosity.  Your extremely charitable sponsorship helped me to raise £478 for the Children of Watamu.  I am proud to have achieved the sub 4 hour goal, but even prouder to know that together we made a massive difference to the lives of the children living in the Happy House, Watamu. "
A huge Happy House thank you to Lisa, and all her sponsors.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

A Helping Hand

It was calculated that we would need 4,000 pieces of macuti ( thatch ) for the roof of the Limvardy Rotary Banda. These pieces are made by local woman who often do not have an out let for them. Rose sent the word around our local area that we wanted macuti, people were arriving all day. We bought each piece at 5 Kenyan Shillings, we were again putting money and work into our local community.
I just had to show you this picture of a little girl arriving with her Mum's macuti, it is always so moving to see the children struggling for survival.

Limvardy Rotary Club

The Limvardy Rotary Club  were the first members of Harry's Happy House Family. From suggestions made by Doug Hare they have now kindly raised the 1,500 pounds needed to enable us to build an outside banda, which will be used as an outside classroom for local children who are not attending school. We are working on becoming part of a food programme, so that we will be able bring local children in give them a meal and some basic education. Lots of children in the surrounding area only eat once every couple of days. If children can read, write, andadd up and know their tables they  have an opportunity in life to grab hold and run with it. Education is the road out of poverty for so many, how many little feet can we put on that road together?

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Thank you to all at Clear Blue Tenerife

Yesterday we took delivery of a mini bus bought for us by by an International estate agents in Tenerife.
The company have been very kind and generous to us in the past. Earlier this year enough money was donated to enable us to equip our medical room.  We desperately needed transport for the children, they have been travelling to school in the local Tuk Tuk's which I never felt it was completely safe. When  Alan from Clear Blue heard about our situation he immediately offered to help.
 When the children came home from school yesterday we had tied balloons all over the bus, they were so excited when they saw it. They jumped out the Tuk Tuk and went to sit in the bus, they were all laughing, it was lovely. I took them all for a ride around the villages, the kids were singing at the top of their voices, everyone was turning to look and smile at us. I can honestly say as we were riding and the children were singing it was one of the happiest days of my life.
Thank you to all concerned in making our Happy House even Happier.

Rose, Charity & Saumu

Isn't this a lovely picture of Rose with Charity & Saumu. Charity on the left was given to us by her grandfather in a very bad condition, in fact at the time we didn't think she would last the week. Now she is nearly walking, her teeth are coming through, and she is a real determined little person. Sauma one of our twins is such a very happy child she waves claps blows kisses and she is also just about off walking.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Saturday Club

Super Saturday
The Happy House is spreading its happiness to children in the local community.
Working with local businessman and good friend, Shariff, who has built his own small school in Watamu, we invited seven schools each to send two teachers and three pupils to the launch of a Saturday Club.
We want our little visitors to have fun, playing with our Happy House kids, joining in games, riding bikes, drawing, watching dvds and learning the basics on our computers.
There was, of course, biscuits and juice for everyone too.
Teachers were amazed when they were shown round our building and so impressed by the way we look after our children, and, all women, they all wanted to cuddle our babies! We hope they will be telling everyone about what they saw because we want to be at the heart of the community - and taken into its heart, too.
This group of children will be coming to Saturday Club, with different teachers, for the next three weeks and on the last week their parents will be asked along too. 
Then a new 4-week programme, with a different set of children, will begin. 
If the first week is anything to go by, its going to be a great success and, we hope, teachers will be able to use a visit to Saturday Club as a way of rewarding pupils for effort and good behaviour or performance! 

Monday, 4 October 2010

Open Door Project Blackpool

I am always delighted to hear from the Open Door group, they do so much to raise funds and  awarness of our work for the children. I asked Deacon Judith Wray to write what it means to the group to be part of the Happy House Family, this is what she had to say:-

In September 2009 we invited Sue Hayward to our charity Harvest celebration. She told us her story and introduced us to Children of Watamu. Everyone was so moved and impressed by what they heard and saw on video, that we decided to sponsor a Happy House child together. This means that with the £1 or £2 per week that individuals are able to give, we have been able to commit ourselves to sending £40 per month by standing order from our Project funds. One of our group, Susan, has made a scrap book recording everything we receive and everything we do relating to Children of Watamu, which is available every week for people to see. There is a great deal of interest and enthusiasm for supporting Sue and the children especially knowing that Sue & Dave are local people. We appreciate the very personal communication and sense of being part of the family.

Our Grange Park Open Door Project exists to share the love of God and promote community involvement, and the link with Kenya helps to show that we believe we are here for one another as members of the human race, wherever we are placed in the world!

Thank you Judith for your kind words. The group celebrated Harvest last week and raised a very generous 103 Pounds. Thank you to everyone, I look forward to seeing everyone at the Charity Night on the 19th of November.


The picture is of Rose who is sponsored by Open Door


Sunday, 3 October 2010

Limvardy are wild about Harry

'You will remember the news of Little Harry's arrival at the Happy House, well, I am pleased and excited to tell you that Harry now has a sponsor.

Harry was barely with us, before I had a mail from a member of a Rotary Club - who has supported the Happy House Project in the past, a member  which frequently visits this part of Kenya - asking if there were any children that the club could sponsor as part of their international care programme.

Harry is such a bright young thing, I knew that they would immediately fall in love with him, I sent a few photos and told them his story, and in a very short time the Club wrote back wrote back saying that they would be really proud to be part of Harrys Happy House Family.

The Rotary Club from Limavady, a small market town in Northern Ireland, which has 31 members, are now supporting Harry.
So Harry now has another extended family. We have opened his memory box so as he grows he will know that even though he was abandoned at birth he has always had a loving caring  'Family'

Saturday, 2 October 2010

happy house blog

Meet Millie and Linus...
And now we are 39, Elizabeth Gomm tells the story:
Our Happy House family has grown by two with the arrival of Mildred, six, and her 10 month old brother, Linus.
Mildred, we are calling her Millie, arrived on Thursday evening and joined the others at school on Friday! She really wanted to go and despite any niggling doubts from "mother hen" Sue,  social worker Billy and I took her to school in a tuk tuk. She didn't talk much, but smiled a lot, and by the time we arrived at school and were waiting for all the paperwork to be completed, she was chatting to me in English. As we were walking to her classroom she caught sight of some of the Happy House kids and off she went, skipping and laughing.
Back at the Happy House Linus was not so settled ... missing his mum,  and crying, but our mums and aunties soon settled him down.
The children were referred by the children's officer in Malindi who had identified them as being at risk and rang Sue late on Thursday afternoon. Their dad,28, the breadwinner of the family died last year, before Linus was born, and after his  death his family turned their  back on their mum, pregnant with Linus, and they were forced to leave his ancestral land for Malindi where she has been struggling ever since, living in a sprawling slum, trying to get work but failing because of she had to carry Linus everywhere with her. Millie was unable to go to school because of lack of fees and other levies,  so she would stay at home babysitting while her mum went searching for casual work. Life was very bleak.
The Happy House is now a safe haven for the vulnerable little ones while their mum has a chance to start rebuilding her life and, hopefully, they will return to her once she can give them safety and security. Billy will monitor the situation, working with the children's officer, and in the meantime mum can visit.
The most important thing is that Millie and Linus are safe, well-fed, healthy and happy. And on day two that's just what they are. Even little Linus is smiling now!
They bring our family to 39 children, brothers and sisters in all but blood. 
The magic just keeps on working...