Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Children's treasures

Letters, emails, postcards and photographs are amongst our children's most treasured possessions.
Those thoughtful messages, sent by members of their sponsor families in in the Uk and other parts of the world, mean just so much to the kids.
To know that someone beyond the Happy House, in another land, thinks about and loves them - even though they have never met - is just so special for kids who have come from such dire circumstances and have had so little. 
They take great pride and pleasure in keeping these treasures in their memory boxes.
Uncle Billy explains: " The sponsors who send mail, letters,postcards,pictures etc are helping to build their child's memory boxes.
"The kids always frequent Mama Sue's and Auntie Rose's office to go through their boxes which  constitute part of their earthly treasures.
" It gives them a warm feeling to always remind themselves of their beloved family members abroad - a noble meeting of minds and hearts!
" Please take a little time and just post a little message,picture etc, it will be more valuable than gold to our little angels. I hope we won't be asking for too much with this humble plea.
"Thank you for making it possible, through your sponsorship,  to give love and care to our deserving kids."

Monday, 30 May 2011

The new boss!

Running the The Happy House is a full time job and while Supermama Sue would willingly work all the hours God sends  for her kids , everyone needs some rest.
So who steps in to take charge  at weekends, you may wonder?
I'm happy to reveal that toddling into her VIP shoes , climbing on to her seat and taking on this vital role is  none other than Linus.
Uncle Billy explains: "The Happy House is a busy place and we have agreed that Mama should occasionally take time off.
"With that in mind,on Friday evening she took  time to orientate  the new guy who was to take care of her busy schedule while she was away...... Linus is the new boss for the weekend.
"Believe you me he started giving orders....I being  the first recepient  who had little option but to oblige!
"Yes Boss!"
Billy kept his email short and too the point, adding: " My  weekend boss might dislike it if I spend too much time holed up in the office. " And signed it,
"Obedient Worker, Billy. "
I've not heard from Billy since , so, i guess,  Linus must have been keeping his nose firmly to the grindstone!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Charity's big smile

Charity is our Happy House thinker and although we all know that she can and does smile often, she goes into thoughtful mode nearly every time a camera is pointed in her direction.
But yesterday Uncle Billy was out and about with the camera and caught her unawares - just look how her face lights up when she smiles.
Billy says: "Now who says that Charity never smiles?  Now you all got proof."
Thank you
Andrea Manders, who is in Natasha's sponsor family, sold surplus plants from her garden and raised £8 in donations from girls working at Westview, Fleetwood. She has bought seeds with the money which are now on the way to the Happy House. Thank you Andrea and thank you Westview.
If you are raising money for the Happy House please email me elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net with all the details so  I can help publicise your event on the blog and on Facebook.
Wonder webmaster
Another big, big thank you to Chris Franklin, who created and looks after our website, when the host company crashed it on Friday, without having backed-up as they should have done.  Chris, who does everything voluntarily for the charity, plus raising money and sponsorsing Harrison,  swept into action re-constructing it in  record time. Where would we be without you, Chris? Thanks and lots of smiles. Please take a look at the homepage http://www.childrenofwatamu.net and , if you are on Facebook, please click where it says like. I'm sure you will!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Starring role

This week at Kidz Club, Francis was awarded Star of the Week for being so helpful in the kitchen.
He's so eager to give a hand at washing-up time Rose tells me he climbs up on to the worktop so that he can reach.
"By the time he finishes his little legs are all washed up and clean, too," says Rose.
He now has a Star of the Week certificate , presented by Sue, to keep in his memory box.
John and Harrison (yellow t-shirt) celebrated their birthdays at Kidz Club this week when they each received a gift. 
Website down
If anyone has tried using the website in the last 24 hours they'll know we have a major problem. The host company crashed the site and our amazing webmaster Chris Franklin, who does so much to support us and has done for years, is working on rebuilding it.
In the meantime, please refer anyone who would like more information (in the UK0 to me Elizabeth Gomm at elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net, telephone 07905 130 589; or (in Kenya) to Sue Hayward by emailing sue@childrenofwatamu.net, telephone (00254) 726 335215.
We always point newcomers to our website so they can get a real picture of what we do, so whilst this is an incovenience it is only a temporary glitch and, thanks to Chris,  normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Bringing you the blog

Getting the blog to you every day is a labour of love, writes Elizabeth Gomm.
Firstly, and selfishly, because  every email I receive with latest happenings at the Happy House makes me feel I'm there with the Kenyan family I love so much, and secondly because I know how much you all look forward and enjoy.
Wherever we are in the world, we are all bound together by our affection for Sue, Dave, our Happy House kids and all those working with them, making us family too
But I wouldn't be able to write our daily diary without the help of my Happy House news reporters, Billy and Rose.
Despite the fact they are already very busy as social worker and administrator, they are always on the lookout for something new to tell you. 
So what are they up to in this picture?
Billy explains: " We were captured as we did our daily coverage of events."
" The chief gardener Christopher was delighted to answer their queries about gardening techniques,vegetable species etc," he joked. Somehow, I don't think I'll be getting a 5000 word article on growing methods on coral in Kenya!"
Billy and Rose you do a fantastic job, and this blog entry is a big THANK YOU to you both.
To all our blog followers please share our link with all your friends .. you may help us win hearts ad new sponsors for our children in the process. This is the linK:
And if anyone has anything they'd like to share on the blog -  comments about any blog stories or pictures; fundraising activities etc please email to me: elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Fw: Bags of difference

You all do so much for our kids, but  we are often asked if there is anything else we need.
At the moment we really need school bags for our older children. Sue tells me that the bags they can buy locally are of such poor quality and so flimsy they just fall to bits in no time.
We all know how hard a schoolbag has to work in the course of a normal day, and it's no different in Kenya.

The other items we also need now it's the rainy season are seeds - tomatoes, peppers, cabbages, beans, peas, melons, spinach etc , nasturtiums and other flowers.

Sue says: "I brought some seeds back with me from the UK and they are growing so well, while the seeds we have bought here are not doing half as well."

We do have some on their way, kindly given by a supporter who brought them  to the Ladies Lifestyle Fair on Sunday, but we do need more.

So if you  can help, please, and would like to send a schoolbag or seeds the address is:

Sue Hayward's Happy House, P.O. Box 796, Watamu, Kenya, East Africa.



Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Hot pot Harry!

Just look at our Harry going to pot!
He's just started potty training and is taking it all very seriously.
But the smile is soon back on his face. Uncle Billy reports: "After a job well done he got back to his stroller  smiling broadly for his landmark achievements! "

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Little star, puddles and pizza!

Mariam is a lovely little girl, always looking out for the younger kids and really considerate. And now she's received a Star of the Week Award in recognition of her gentle nature. Auntie Rose tells me: "Mariam Safari won the Star of the Week for being kind, helpful and loving to everyone."  Congratulations Mariam from all of us.
When it rains
It is the rainy season, so we shouldn't be surprised to see puddles in the Happy House grounds. Uncle Billy tells me it was raining very heavily yesterday morning. "So the babies have to stay in doors to keep warm  since the banda was marooned and hence outta bounds, not to worry though since they have lots of toys and facilities for indoor play right here in the house."
Bread oven
Billy has also sent a photograph of the brick built oven which has just been finished.
He says: "The jiko, or traditional oven,  is now where bread is being baked by chef Habel, hence saving on the liquid gas and cutting costs which is just a brilliant idea. I wish you were here to taste the bread for lunch on Saturday. It was yummy yummy!
"That's not all, our kids will start having pizza for dinner some days!
"The stove uses very little energy hence being ideal for these hard economic times.
" Now then Libz, when are you coming for a bite?"
Billy, if only I had wings I'd be there for lunch!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Family moments

Look what we've done Mama ... this picture will strike a chord with every parent!
Our older children gather round Sue with their exercise books to show off what they'd been doing at school last week.
And judging from their eagerness they are getting some very good marks from their teachers at Sawa Sawa Academy!
Weekends are also the time when the girls are able to get ahead for the coming week, helping each other, to create the intricate hairstyles they love.  Uncle Billy says they are encouraged to take a pride in their appearance and to do their hair as often as they can, adding "for they are our shining stars!"

Making new friends

I spent a lovely Sunday meeting new people and telling them all about our wonderful Happy House family, writes Elizabeth Gomm.
Kim Chamberlain, who organised the Chrysalis Ladies Lifestyle Fair at the Villa Hotel, Wrea Green, very kindly gave us a stand and with the help of good friends Lesley and Kathryn Pidcock (pictured), who came over from Doncaster for the day, I was able to get our message out to a lot of very interested people.
The day was more about networking than making money, although we did raise £42,  and hopefully it will bring us new friends and more funds!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Steve's tonic

Steve was feeling poorly yesterday and Uncle Billy decided the best course of action was a trip to Nativo Clinic.
Some of the younger children who had not gone to church formed a team to accompany him, led by Pendo and Mwende.
Uncle Billy conjures up a happy picture: "As Steve was attended to the team  go on with their songs singing as they played right outside the clinic.
"Before too long Steve emerged with ammunition for his bad chest!"
Fair forecast
Today (Sunday), Elizabeth Gomm and Lesley Pidcock will be spreading the Happy House word with a stall at a ladies lifestyle fair at the Villa Hotel, Wrea Green, near Preston. It should be a good day so pop in an see us if you can. Admission is free. http://www.chrysalisforwomen.com/ladies-lifestyle-fair.html

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Lisa IS the Lady

With stars in her eyes, the very talented Alisha IS Lady Gaga.
A packed Merrie England bar on Blackpool's North Pier last night gave this newest tribute act to the global superstar a massive seal of approval, with the audience of hundreds up on their feet and begging for more when the curtain came down on her final set.
Alisha, real name Lisa Jones, has spent two years perfecting her tribute act and kindly chose to unleash it with a charity gig with proceeds shared between the Happy House and the Fylde's Trinity Hospice.
Lisa, well-known on the Blackpool showbiz scene, had put together a full show with a great line-up of supporting acts, including George Michael tribute, Mark Jay, all giving their time for free.
She'd also colllected some fabulous raffle prizes from generous local businesses, and a collage of pictures, signed by boxing great Joe Frazier, sold at auction for £100.
Andrea Manders,  Lynn McCluskey and Elizabeth Gomm were there respresenting the Happy House and selling raffle tickets and at the end of the evening Lynn gave our thanks to Lisa and all those who took part.
We haven't got a final figure yet, but will let you know here as soon as we have.
Another big thank you from all the Happy House family to Lisa for putting on such a fabulous evening and to all those who took part or contributed in anyway (a special mention to Sue who volunteered to collect any loose change in our Happy House bucket).

Making the running

Well done to promising athletes Janet and Margaret who were chosen to represent  their school, Sawa Sawa Academy, at the primary schools' zone sports at Gede.
Mama Sue, Auntie Rose and Uncle Billy went along to cheer them on. The girls put up a great effort and may not have won - this time - but should be so proud of themselves

Friday, 20 May 2011

Anything you can do..

It's one giant step, but, by George, this girl has done it!
Natasha tentatively stands on her own, and now Mama Sue and all the family are just waiting for her to take her first solo steps.
Hot on her heels is baby Brian, just look how he is trying to copy his big "sister"?

Tonight's the night

Blackpool's own Lady Gaga will be  taking to the stage tonight to raise money for the Happy House and another great charity, the Fylde Coast's Trinity Hospice.
Singer and dancer, Lisa Jones, whose stage name is Alisha, has spent two years perfecting her tribute to the  global singing sensation.
Lisa started singing  and dancing as a child to entertain her family, but started singing professionally whilst living in Tenerife some years ago and after returning to Blackpool was well known on the northern clubs circuit  as one half of duo, Expoze, with the other, her former partner, Noel Shields.
 "I got fed up  after while and took a break but would still always get up at karaoke and that's how Lady Gaga came about. This will be my first full one-hour show, with four or five costume  changes. they are very much a part of it.
"And with every costume there's a wig, you have to change the look completely to capture the real Lady Gaga."
Appearing on tonight's bill with Alisha will be George Michael tribute, Mark Jay, plus a full line-up of supporting acts.
There will be a dj and  some grea raffle prizes .
The gig, at the Merrie England Bar, North Pier,  starts at 7.30pm and admission is £6.

Top marks

Well done and thank you to Doncaster College's Childcare and Health & Social Care students  passed the test of love with flying colours when they raised  a fantastic £106  for the Happy House with a spring fair yesterday.

The students, who sponsor baby David,  organised a variety of stalls, including, marble ally, skittles, cake stall, guess the name of the teddy, how many sweets in the jar, throw the balls in a bucket, where does teddy live on the map, a tombola, pin the tail on bambini, Happy House bags and lucky cats and home made badges and key rings.

Tutor Lesley Pidock, a great friend of the Happy House and sponsor to Janet and Natasha, said: "They spent a number of weeks preparing the stalls and activities and they all enjoyed the event.

"The work they have done will go towards their final qualification."

Thursday, 19 May 2011

It's written on the cup!

The words on the cup say it all, Mama Sue is back home and that is truly where her heart lies.
Refreshed after a few days break, Sue and Dave arrived home to a big welcome from all the family, and, as you can see the kids , like Lily, Karembo and Mwende were eager to tell her their news.
Meanwhile, Papa Dave was in demand for a kickabout, joining in the football with the kids and the mums.
These snapshots of family life show exactly what life is like at the Happy House  - very HAPPY indeed!

Farewell to friends

Dawn Heather and Judith who have spent much of their holiday helping out at the Happy House, and have been a tremedous support in school and assisting in the baby banda, popped in to say a final farewell.
The children sang them a farewell song and presented them with little thank-you gifts.
Thank you Dawn-Heather and Judith, we know it will not be long before we see you again.

Cold comfort

Heavy blankets are not something we are likely to need at the Happy House ... even in the rainy season, temperatures in Watamu never drop low enough for anything more than a lightweight cover.
But we do have blankets given to us  in stock and Sue has been keen to see they should be put to good use.
So with help from Valerie,  a friend and a member of the East African Women's League,  Sue has donated some of the blankets to charities working up in the north of the country, near Nairobi, where it is much, much colder.
Some of the blankets have gone up to Nanyuki  to be used by women and children women who are thrown into jail- the women accused of being accomplices to their husbands,  others have been sent to the women and children made homeless when the Mukuru-Maasai slum  was burnt to the ground in March.
Other blankets have this week been  taken by Jane Parmley of the East African Women's League Rosslyn branch to The Nest Charity which is a children's home for kids whose mums are in prison.
"I am sending a  big thank you from the Nest, the blankets are are much appreciated,"  said Jane (pictured back left,with American visitors to the Half-Way House)
Sue says: "I delighted to hear the blankets are being put to good use, as I knew they would be, it is no use us having things not needed here at the Happy House in our store, when so many others can benefit."

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Looking the part

Two weeks in school and our toddlers now really look the part!
The tailor has finished their uniforms and they are every inch as smart as their big brothers and sisters.
A class act, they were happily enjoying their playtime when Uncle Billy called in with his camera to take these cute shots to show us.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Caught napping

After a busy morning in class, lunch and playtime, the younger nursery children are ready for a nod.
Auntie Rose popped up to school with her camera yesterday to caputure these cute shots of our little ones napping.
Rose said:"The weather is warm today, no rain! The nursery children are enjoying an afternoon lala before they go back to lessons.
"Baby David, Harry and Peninah have joined the rest to relax giving the mums and aunties a chance to concentrate on other jobs."
The only one wide-awake? Busy Brian, he's too eager to find his feet!