Saturday, 30 June 2012

Birthday double act

Better late ... our Harry's birthday pictures!
Uncle Billy has had problems sending email, so we've had to wait for these pictures of birthday boy Harry getting his goodies at Kidz Club.
Madam Triza, the baby class teacher, just adores Harry so she was given the honour of handing over his presents.
She has been standing in for Madam Helen, and will be leaving on Monday so it was a special treat for her too.
Harry didn't, however, hog the limelight - he was only too happy to share it with a very important little lady was also celebrating her birthday - Peninah.
She was the centre of attention when everyone gathered round to see what was in her birthday package from Naiara, Alberto and Mara.
After celebration and songs from the family, Harry got to try on his new togs, sent by Agnes, Brian and Liz, and doesn't he look smart!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Our Little Missa Hero

Rising star Melissa Miles is our Little Miss Hero.
The Blackpool songbird (stage name Missa), who  has raised £450 for our family from sales of her debut EP, was nominated in two categories in the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre schools enterprise Hero Awards finals staged at Blackpool Football Club yesterday.
She may have been pipped to the post in finals, but Melissa, 13, is certainly our winner. She is our shining star and we know is destined to go far,
The youngest ever winner of Blackpool Schools' Pop Idol, Melissa, who with her mum and dad, Karen and John, and sister Lauren, sponsor our Maria, was the guest artist at the Hero Awards and gave a  spellbinding performance.
Melissa, who was shortlisted in the Most Enterprising Female and  Most Enterprising Student categories, has introduced the Happy House to her school , St  George's , and thanks to her efforts her school has embraced the needs of our children and raised money for our charity.  
Teacher Hayley Clarkson and her class were also nominated in the Hero awards for their fundraising efforts. Again they were pipped the post by another school but meeting Mama Sue  and presenting £50 from their latest fundraising efforts more than made up for any disappointment.
Melissa, her mum and dad, Karen and John, and sister Lauren, sponsor our Maria do so much to help our family and are always on hand to help with fundraising events.
Congratulations to Melissa and all the pupils from St George's who helped to raise our profile at the awards last night. You are our shining stars.
Pictured: Missa;  Mama Sue and Elizabeth with Miss Clarkson and pupils; Mama Sue and Papa Dave with John, Karen, Melissa and Lauren Miles.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Tests for our babies

In a country where so many suffer from HIV Aids, we have to be certain that our babies are not at risk.
With David already given the all-clear, that meant a trip to Malindi Hospital with the seven youngest members of our family.
Medical histories for most of our children are a mystery because we have know way of knowing whether they have been pre-disposed to any genetic or other medical conditions - including HIV.
So PCR tests, which test for HIV, are a necessity.
Taking seven babies on a 25 mile journey requires extra pairs of hands. Luckily Janet and Lucinda  were on mid-term break and able to go along to help out with looking after their baby brothers and sister.
Only one test was reactive requiring further tests, but everything points those being in the clear, even if the baby's  mother was sero-exposed as we do not that  she had not breastfed her child who is thriving at the Happy House ,growing by the minute, and feeding well.  But we have to wait until July for the results.
As Uncle Billy says six testing negative, this tiny shadow of doubt cast a cloud, making it a bittersweet trip.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Bags of delights!

There are sweet treats in store for our Happy House kids thanks to a Southport sweet shop.
Christine Clark, who owns Sweet Memories, a specialist sweet shop in the Wayfarers Arcade, heard about our family from customer Sheila Davies, who pops in for occasionally for some sugar-free sweets.
The stories of our children touched Christine's heart and she offered some sweets for Sheila to take out to Watamu with her.
Award-winning amateur photographer Sheila, who produced Steve and Cherith Cushing's moving Making a Difference audio visual presentation forour charity, is now right up to her baggage limit for her forthcoming trip and is excited at the prospect of seeing the Happy House for herself and to meeting her sponsor child, Rukia.
She says: "I am so excited at the thought of meeting Rukia for the first time. I just want to give her lots of big hugs, enjoy getting to know her better, finding out what her hopes and dreams are.
I'm sure we will get on just fine."
Sheila had already generously gathered in many essentials and other items to take for our family, but was still able to find room for the sweets which range from popping candy and Space Dust to Flying Saucers, Sherbert Dabs and Jelly Tots for our tiny tots!
Sweet Memories Christine also took a whole bundle of Happy House leaflets to help spread the word about the Happy House through her shop (
Sheila said: "What lovely people they are."
Thank you to Christine and her son, Adam, for their wonderful gesture - we know our children will be more than delighted to put everything to the taste test. It will be interesting to see their faces when they try popping candy! You can be sure you will see the pictures .
Thank you also to Sheila who has put so much effort into buying items from our wish list and who will be taking picturefor another AV during her trip. 
We know that meeting Rukia will be very special for her indee, and for Ruklia too.
Pictured are: Christine and Adam and Sweet Memories; Sheila Davies plus a few of the items she is taking with her.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A toddling triumph

Today, our handsome Harry is two...and a real little charmer!
His is a story of triumph over tragedy, of survival against the odds. And it is the epitome of everything the Happy House stands for as it turns sad, hopeless, little beings into joyful, healthy children with everything to look forward to.
It is two years today since Harry was found cast away on a rubbish tip in a plastic bag - eight weeks premature, weighing just over 1.5kg, with the umbilical cord still attached and the placenta in the bag with him.
As a local woman was passing the tip she heard the tiniest whimper and felt compelled to seek out its source - she opened the bag and found our Harry. Within a few minutes of her rescuing him the tip was covered with scavenging dogs. 
Harry was a desperately sick baby, clinging to life, but his will to live was not to be beaten.
Mama Sue and the Happy House, informed by Malindi Hospital of their newest admission,  stepped immediately offering to meet the costs of all his medication, to provide formula milk,  clothes, nappies and visits. 
With so much love and help, Harry confronted and conquered every obstacle put in his way and exactly eight weeks later reached 2.2kg and was well enough to go home to his Happy House family and his home for life.
In his first year, Harry's health had its ups and downs, but he bounced back from everything with the biggest smile and the most delectable dimples.
His second year has brought many milestones - he started school (before he could walk) refusing to stay in the baby banda when all the other toddlers were trooping off to nursery.
Where they went, Harry would follow.
He's walking now. That was a slow process. Why walk, when all you have to do is twinkle those dimples, and someone, anyone,  housemum, auntie, gardener, Mama or a big brother or sister, will pick you up and give you a lift?
Finally, everyone agreed with Mama that the only way to get Harry walking would be to let him stay put. And soon enough, with lifts off limits,  off he went... as fast as his sturdy little legs would carry him.
As you can see from our pictures (with Peninah, Rose and Linus),  Harry is truly scrumptious. 
He, like all our kids, is loved and loving.
His triumph is Mama's triumph too.
All her work is driven by the desire to "make a difference" to young lives. To put hope into young hearts born into unbearable hardship.
Each one of our 58 children, glowing with health and happiness,  is an example of the difference Mama is making.  
And every one a testimony to love.
Happy birthday Harry. 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Fair friends

Thank you to everyone who came to say hello to us at our Happy House stand at Dotty's Truly Scrumptious Handmade Vintage Fair at Blackpool's wonderful Winter Gardens yesterday. It was a really lovely, and busy, day and we gave away lots of leaflets which we hope will bring us many more new friends.
Thank you to Lynn Baya Thoya and Sheila Davies (pictured) and to Andrea and Ellena Manders who were kind enough to help Elizabeth Gomm during the day.
And a special thank you to Dotty too, for being so kind to our kids.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

MP calls in

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden was a welcome visitor to the Happy House stand at Blackpool Civic Trust's street party yesterday.
Sadly, the bad weather forced the event, showcasing the work of local organisations, indoors. Mr Marsden was so interested in how the Happy House is changing young lives and said he had been following the series of articles featuring Sue and the family in Blackpool Gazette this week.
He very kindly took a clutch of leaflets to put out at his constituency garden party yesterday afternoon.
A big thank you to Karen Miles and her daughters Melissa and Lauren, Andrea (pictured)  Manders and daughter Ellena, and to Lynn Baya Thoya who joined Elizabeth on the stand - and also to our charity's key members, Mama Sue and Papa Dave.
Hopefully, we will get some new friends from the leaflets were distributed.
Today we are at Dotty Delightful's Truly Scrumptious Vintage Craft Fair in Blackpool's Winter Gardens from 10am-4pm. It's a bumper event and well worth a visit if you are anywhere nearby.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

A neat win for our kids

Our Happy House kids were back on top form yesterday when they trounced entries from more than 20 schools in the inter-schools music competition.
They had to present a poem of the theme of national cohesion in both Kiswahili and English. They scored 90 and 85 points respectively.
Our children were also lauded for being the best groomed ... another feather in our school cap,
Uncle Billy said: " As we came back home in the matatu, they were singing and hence making some joyful noise! They have Triumphed yet again and are thereby assured of going for the District competitions.
Well done everyone we are so proud of you!"
Indeed we are. Congratulations to all the children who took part and to our teachers who coached them, too.

Friday, 22 June 2012

In the news

The Gazette in Blackpool is featuring the work of Mama Sue and her Happy House all this week, and of some of our child sponsors, this is the link to Thursdya's story 

Socks away!

What a lot we got! Dozens of pairs of white socks donated by baby and children's wear retailer, Mothercare.
It was thanks to Ann Summers (a friend of Brenda Groves, who is in Charity's sponsor family) that Mothercare very kindly donated the socks - which are among the most-wanted items on our wish list.
Ann popped them in the post from her home in Oxfordshire  (along with some packs of seeds and a few other goodies for our family) and in just a couple of weeks they have arrived at the Happy House where they are now stored in our stockroom ready for head housemum, Mama Prescha, to distribute as and when they are required.
A huge thank you and lots of sunny smiles  from our Happy House family to our friend Ann and to our new friends at Mothercare.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Birthday greetings for Jedidah

Jedidah celebrated her ninth birthday at Kidz Club with Mama Sue, Papa Dave and Auntie Libz joining in the celebrations, thanks to Skype.
It's not easy for Mama and Papa to be away from their family for so long, knowing they are missed just as much as they are missing everyone.
So taking part in Kidz Club each week is so important and everyone loves sharing their news with Mama and Papa.
Auntie Lydia, our classroom assistant, had the honour of presenting our birthday girl with her gifts and as soon as Kidz Club was over, Jeddy put on her new outfit  and looks truly lovely.
Uncle Billy says: "Every Tuesday evening bring a happy family union at Kidz Club. Despite occasional hitches arising from poor connection, spirits are never dampened because the kids and staff so look forward to seeing their Mama and Papa."

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Power talks

Switched on for lessons in how to debate, our class three children are getting some tips from their nation's top talkers ... politicians!
They tuned into a televised session from Kenya's Parliament to help them hone the public speaking skills so crucial for debate clubs
Uncle Billy says: "The broadcasts help them with negotiation tactics in answering questions that may sometimes call for quick and witty answers.
 "And it has paid dividends when they trounced Indi Academy in the debate. 
"The motion read that " A girl is better than a boy."  Our school was proposing and garnered 18 points against Indi's 13. Well done HH parliamentarians,  you are surely getting ready to run for the future parliament,governors/senator's offices etc."

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Cocoon of kindness

A very big thank you to Alison Bolton of Cocoon Health and Beauty, Poulton, Lancashire for her parcels full of lovely goodies for our children.
Alison, her husband James, and children Phoebe, Libby and Nathan collected lots of things for our kids and customer Leigh Gascoigne also chipped in.
As you can see, our kids are thrilled with the very kind gifts, all things needed by a growing family from "crocs" to underwear.
Alison tells me they were so  touched by the thanks they received from Uncle Billy and kids. "We expected an acknowledgements but to see the kids brought a tear to my eye. It very special."
Alison also tells me she now has another parcel of necessities ready to post.
Thank you all, so much, for being so caring.

Monday, 18 June 2012

In the news

Thank you to the Blackpool Gazette for running a series of article on Mama Sue's life-saving work in Kenya all this week - this article published on Saturday set the scene for the week to come . See today's Gazette for a special feature on Mama Sue, our family and a heartfelt appeal for sponsors.


Every day is wash day at the Happy House.
With 58 children in the family, there is always a mountain of washing.
School uniforms, playing out clothes, pyjamas, bed linen and towels, not to mention all the bibs, babygros ect that our babies get through, it's a never-ending task and buying all the soap powder we need adds up to a hefty sum every week.
We do have two washing machines, but such a heavy workload takes it toll,  and there are frequent breakdowns and that means it has to be done by hand.
When Mama Sue or Libby give talks about the Happy House, ladies always ask about the washing and usually make the comment: "At least you don't have to worry about getting it dry!"
We have explain that while most of the time the sun does the job for us there are those times in the rainy season, as these pictures show,  when even the lines we have in the laundry are not enough, and we have to use the kitchen too!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Quiz kids

Our Happy House kids went head to head in a quiz with neighbouring Indi Academy .. but were beaten by just one point!
Testing their prowess in maths and Kiswahili it was a close fought battle with Indi winning with 47 points to our 46.
Uncle Billy said it was a really successful outing, enjoyed by the both schools,  fostering links between our school and the wider community.
"This kind of interaction is so valuable as we are raising a generation of positive and balanced individuals who will be well equipped to face the world and its challenges in the future," he adds.

Saturday, 16 June 2012


Have talent, will out!
Our bright and confident Happy House kids really know how to put on a show... with enthusiastic coaching from their teachers.
And yesterday the Happy House was host to Watamu Schools' Cluster Drama Awards - and guess who won?
Yes, the Happy House School and that mean's they go through to the next round of the competitions.
Auntie Rose tells me: "Everyone was so excited all the teachers and the kids!"
Well done to everyone, you are our rising stars.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Going for goals

Doug Hare, a member of Limavady Rotary Club in Northern Ireland, and his wife Lorna visit the Happy House every year where the club sponsors our little miracle Harry.
Knowing that a football pitch and playground is high on our wish list for the future, Rotarian Doug has been helping to spread the word.
And two local football clubs Limavady Villa and Claudy United have given it a kick start with a donation of £700 which they presented to Doug at a Rotary meeting.
Presenting the cheque are Trevor Eakin from Limavady Villa and Lester Ferris from Claudy United, plus a picture of our Harry on the ball in in Sampadoria cap!
Thank you so much to you all for helping take us a step nearer our goal.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

A spoonful of praise ...

Brave little girl Melis shows off her coveted Star of the Week Award.
Uncle Billy tells us that Melis was chosen because she was just so good when she had to have six doses of a pretty nasty medicine for to treat a scalp infection.
Well done Melis, we are so proud of you. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Here comes Buttons!

If our Linus ever decides to audition for pantomime he's a dead cert for the part of Buttons .. or, maybe, Prince Charming!
Auntie Rose came across this delightful scene yesterday when little Rose was unable to fasten the button on her dress so her  Happy House "sister" Pendo stepped in to give her a hand.
Linus, not a lad to be left out, and just a tad hamfisted, weighed in gallantly to help.
This series of pictures illustrates just what a caring and sharing family we have at the Happy House and that showing kindness to others extends right from our older children to our toddlers and even to our babies, too.