Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Pictures in the sand

In seaside resorts across the world  artists  have been known to use the beach as their canvas.
Their amazing sand art is a sight to behold.
It could just be that we have some future artists in our Happy House family, judging from these creative drawings in the sand.
Even little ones like Harry and James were absorbed in their own flights of fancy, after a morning shower provided the perfect conditions for drawing .
Using their fingers to do the work they gave their imagination free rein with some lovely, very abstract, results.
Pictured (top left) Saumu and her drawing,   right: Melis and below left: Harry and right: James.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Holiday club

Holiday Club is now in full swing as our children have lots of fun and games.
They, and day pupils who come in if their parents choose, enjoy the activities organised by our teachers who have put together a very busy programme.
The children are split in to two age groups, and the older ones enjoy a mix of physical and mental activity - from basketball to quizzes.
When it comes to quiz time, everyone is eager to answer with hands going up and should of "Ask me, ask me!"
Uncle Scott brought with him craft packs for card making, made up from items donated by a friend, which are also proving a big hit for our very creative kids.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Going to the beach

Going to the beach is a great treat for our Happy House kids and was a great way to start the school holidays, as our junior blogger, Mariam, reports:
School ended on a Thursday for the holidays. 
The teachers took us to the beach on Friday. There were so many children we filled two buses. 
We all went swimming and we played football in the sand. 
Uncle Josphat the cook had made rice and beans and we ate this under the trees. Then we had another swim before we went home.
We sang on the bus. 
We were tired and happy.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Mama in hospital

It's been a difficult time for Mama and Papa. 
Mama Sue, as some of you will know, has been poorly since the charity night and has, for the last three weeks, been in Blackpool Victoria Hospital while doctors try to find the cause of the pain which has immobilised her right hip..
It's the hip that was partially replaced in an emergency operation in Mombasa three years ago, after a fall.
She will definitely need surgery, but there seems to be some underlying infection that doctors have to identify before they can operate and she has been subjected to some gruelling tests.
Papa is constantly at her side and  a huge support.
Mama says: "I am feeling much better but with this, internet connection problems and a new laptop, I have been getting behind with emails and I am sorry if you have not had a reply.
If you would like to resend, please, I will try to answer just as soon as possible,"
Get well soon, Mama, we are all sending our love and good wishes for a speedy recovery to you,  and our  love to Papa, too.
All together now .. 
Our kids love line dancing and don't put a foot out of step when they perform the routines they have taught themselves from watching dvds.
Earlier this month they gave a display at a community event for children's homes in Malindi and this video records, in stills and action, our children's day out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7PAslZGrk8

Friday, 26 April 2013

Baby Athman's new friends

Kind hearted kids at a Fleetwood school are helping to give tragic  baby Athman a safe and happy home.
The children from Larkholme Primary School are sponsoring Athman, the youngest member of our family and are now looking forward to getting to know him better.
Larkholme school was introduced to the Happy House by Fleetwood Rotarian, Sandra Foulkes, whose family sponsor Happy House twins Saumu and Pendo, three.
Sandra is the school’s mentor for Rotakids, the junior wing of Rotary which, through schools, encourages children to help in the local and wider community.
Teacher Joanne Collin said: “It was the idea of the Larkholme Rotakids to hold an African  themed afternoon in school to raise money. All the children came to school dressed in African colours for a small donation and experienced lots of exciting activities with an African theme. The money raised by the children was donated to the Happy House and enabled Larkholme to sponsor a child - baby Athman. 
“The children are very excited about helping Athman and are looking forward to hearing about his progress at the Happy House."
Baby Athman's mum and twin died shortly after he was born leaving his grandmother, a refugee herself, to try to look after him, his sister Sudi and brother, Abu. He was losing weight and very poorly when he and his siblings came  into the care of our family at the end of March. The picture (above) taken this week shows they are all now doing well and very happy. 
You can see the story of their rescue at https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mBfgK9nEpHA
Picture:: Sandra receives a cheque on behalf of the Happy House from Rotakids president Thomas Spence, Also pictured,back from left: Larisa Jones, Archie Jenkinson, Georgia Birch, Isabella Clarkson and Jake Satchell.Front: Jack Casson, David Washbourne, Bailey McGee and Mia Dawson.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Ever such devoted sisters

We are one big family at the Happy House with everyone having more brothers and sisters than they can count.
But within the family there are smaller family groups and who remain close within the wider family.
They are sibling groups who maintain strong ties, whilst happily doing their own thing most of the time.
Kids like Margaret and Neema. Margaret,  now a very capable and confident girl,  is a wonderful big sister to little Neema.
When Neema arrived she was such a shy and withdrawn  little girl but thanks our caring family and her own big sister she is now a happy, independent and playful four year old.
But when she needs an extra cuddle the first person she turns to is the  sister she loves.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Uncle Scott returns

A big welcome back to Uncle Scott.
Scott Webster, who lives in Royal Wootton Bassett, is an expert in the garden and has gone out to join our family specifically to help in the garden.
Scott and his wife Laura are long time friends of our family and regular visitors, but this time Scott has gone on his own to work alongside our gardeners, and to share his knowledge,  as they get ready for the most productive time of the year, the rainy season.
Uncle Scott (right) brought with him a case full of goodies, including a giant paddling pool for our babies.
Thank you Uncle Scott and welcome back.
 Marina Temperato (centre right) made another visit yesterday to see David and the family and brought with her yet more lovely clothes she has collected in Italy. 
She and her friends are pictured showing them to Auntie Velma and Auntie Rose. Thank you again Marina.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Twice as nice ...

Everyone in the Happy House family is used to seeing double.
Amani and Baraka
Pendo and Saumu
We have four sets of twins and, apart from the eldest and only girl twins, Pendo and Saumu,each set is  difficult to tell apart.
 Pendo and Saumu, are very independent and individual  and whilst they happily play separately with their own friends, they are very close.
 When,after lunch, it is lala time and the littlies settle down for a nap, Pendo and Saumu often lie next to each other, sometimes with their legs entangled!

Jonathan and James
The girls are in baby class, whilst
 the three sets of boy twins are in playgroup – Jonathan and James, Baraka and Amani and Peter and Paul.
Peter and Paul
There are slight differences which help a lot when trying to tell Jonathan and James and Baraka and Amani apart, but Peter and Paul have everyone baffled
When they are in school uniform, even the teachers and aunties get confused at times and call them "PeterPaul" until they are close enough to see the subtle distinguishing marks.
No doubt this pair will have lots of fun playing tricks when they are older and realize just how identical they are! 

 In the news .....
Thank you to the glitzy and glossy Lancashire Life Magazine for devoting three pages to an article and pictures on Mama Sue's Happy House family.
We hope it will bring us lots of new friends.
The feature appears in the May edition which is on sale now.  It can be bought online from http://www.buyamag.co.uk/Regional-Magazines/Lancashire-Life

Monday, 22 April 2013

Friends indeed from Italy and the UK

Marina Temperato lives in Italy but is a frequent visitor to the Happy House ..  and to see one special little boy.
Marina is a member of our little David's sponsor family and she loves him to bits.
She enjoys seeing how he is growing and coming on, knowing that he needs lots of encouragement to do things for himself.
David, who was diagnosed with Down's, has made brilliant progress in the last 18 months and once he is walking confidently will be moving on from the baby banda to join his peers in the playgroup class.
He is nearly there, and as the eldest in the baby banda leading the way - showing his little "sister"  Esther how easy it is to feed yourself and to stand up etc!
David was two last December, and because of the way he is responding and interacting we have every hope that he will settle down well at school.
Marina has been giving him a helping hand to get there, giving him lots of encouragement and praise as he tries to toddle for himself.
Marina brought David a special t-shirt to wear, and also very kindly brought lots of clothes for our kids plus a delivery of store cupboard groceries to help feed our family.
Thank you to Marina (and to her friends) for your love and friendship, and welcome back.
Pierre and Frankie with Uncle Isaac
There was a warm welcome, also , for Frankie and Pierre from London who called in on the Happy House whilst touring in Africa.
They were shown around by Auntie Velma and amazed by the very high standards of childcare and education , Mama Sue and her team are implementing at the Happy House
They were keen to know more and after a chat with Uncle Billy and Uncle Isaac said they hope to help us, if they can, in the future.
Thank you Frankie and Pierre for coming to see us.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Plait's the way

Mariam. Jedidah,Jane, Maria, Shakila, Janet and Mercy

Our girls always look beautifully neat with their hair in braids. 
Mama Sue believes it is important for all our children to take a pride in their appearance, and so she arranged for local hairdressers come to visit every fortnight.
The girls look forward to seeing them.
This week's blogger Daniella tells us:
The hairdresser comes to the Happy House every two weeks to do all the girls’ hair.
First, the day before, we take out the braids we have, which takes a long time,  and everyone helps each other (Natasha and Rukia are helping Daniella in the picture)
 We all like getting our hair done because it looks good.
Some girls have a lot of hair. It can take one hour to get their hair done.
The hairdressers are called Auntie Eunice and Auntie Mary.
 All the girls are pleased to see them because they know their hair will be nice that day.
 Everybody wants to be first but they have to wait for their turn there are so many girls.
 Auntie Eunice and Auntie Mary come from snack time until 4 o’clock on Saturday and 9 o’clock until 6 o’clock on Sunday
Sometimes the girls will have their hair plaited in lines but sometimes their have it plaited on top of their head like Mount Kilimanjaro
Auntie Velma (pictured )  has the Mount Kilimanjaro hair style. 
It looks nice.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Grazie mille, Milan

 Runners braved the pouring rain to take part in Milan's annual celebration of running, Stramilano.
And  thanks to the support of  Livio Leardi, who is the CEO and owner of GetFIT, and his wife Susanna Gregorio  who collected a donation to the Happy House from all those who registered through their fitness and lifestyle centres, our family is to receive a donation of 650 Euros.
GetFIT, which has 12 clubs in Milan, plus one in nearby Gallarate and another in Switzerland, was among the subscription points for the annual run over a choice of three distances.
The event is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar in Milan and attracts thousands of entrants from all                     all over Italy plus many other parts of the world.
Judging the pictures of those who took part from GetFIT, it was a lot of fun despite the heavy rain.
Thanks you from all our family to Livio and Susanna for raising both money and awareness for our family.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Our Fleetwood friends

Pupils at Larkholme Primary School, Fleetwood, are excited about joining our Happy House family.
They have raised more than £200 to sponsor a child and are now eager to find out which of of kids will become their special friend.
The children at Larkholme held an African themed afternoon to raise the money, with all kinds of activities from art to music.
Some dressed up in improvised costumes, whilst others showed their artistic talents by painting African sunset pictures.
One boy Aaron wore a t-shirt to show how he was supporting the Happy House family.
The children were
introduced to the Happy House by  Sandra Foulkes, whose family sponsors twins Saumu and Pendo.  Sandra, a member of Fleetwood Rotary Club, is the mentor for their Rotakids group and she and her family have visited the Happy House and become our very good friends.
Last month Elizabeth went into school to show them a dvd about the Happy House and to tell them a bit out our children and the African afternoon was held later.
Thank you to everyone at Larkholme, we look forward to getting to know you better.
And also in Fleetwood....
Fleetwood Rotary Club gave a very warm welcome to Elizabeth when she went along to their meeting on Monday to give them a progress report on the Happy House.
 The club has been supporting the work of the Happy House for a number of years and it was thanks to them that Sue was invited to address the district conference in Scarborough last month.
David Simpson, district president, and his wife Janet are members of Fleetwood Rotary.
Elizabeth, Auntie Libby to the Happy House family, was able to tell them just how the family has grown and how the Happy House gets better and better with every visit.
She was also able to tell them the story of the newest members of our family, Sudi, Abu and baby Athman.
As always, the Fleetwood Club was very welcoming and sent their very best wishes to Mama Sue who was unable to attend,
And they also snapped up lots of our cotton bags which, at £5 a time, are beings old to help our family.
*Elizabeth is pictured with Sandra Foulkes and club president Shaun MacNeill

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Books and Bratz from Kayleigh

We are so grateful to everyone who is so generous to our family.
Maria, Janet, Mercy and Margaret
And we are proud that we can promise them that what they is give to the Happy House family gets to our family.
We know how much trouble and effort you go to to support us and how you enjoy seeing pictures of the items you have donated in use.
I know I still get a buzz when I see the two £14.99 pushchairs I gave being used by our babies
I bought them in Tesco, Blackpool, in 2009, and they were shipped to Kenya in a container ready for the Happy House opening in 2010. They are still going strong now.
Kayleigh Moore, daughter of Brenda Groves' friend Kim Moore, had a clear out of all her childhood treasures, and gave them to Brenda to bring to the Happy House on her recent visit.
These included a collection of Bratz fashion dolls, bought in the USA, along with lots of changes of clothes, accessories etc all in their own case.
Brenda brings the books
Because of the the fiddly bits, which could easilyget lost, we gave them to our older girls to look after and they were delighted.
They love dressing up themselves, in what they call their "safari" clothes. These are their best clothes, reserved for special occasions and outings, so we thought how much fun they would have with these dolls and would use them in a different way to their younger  sisters.
Who knows, they might even inspire a fashion designer or stylist of the future?
Thank you Kayleigh, your dolls, books, pencils etc are in very good hands.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

With love from Northern Ireland

The Happy House has become a family affair for me and my sisters, writes volunteer Dawn Heather White.
I have sponsored Katana since the Happy House first opened its doors and my sister
Andrea sponsors Katana’s brother Fikiri. 
 When I was here last October Auntie Rose told me that my other sister Emma had sent a message to say that she had just become a member of twin Pendo’s sponsor family and she asked me to bring back lots of photographs.
 Emma has two children of her own, Fionn aged 10 and Bram aged 6.
They were so eager to see the pictures of their new sister when I got back to Northern Ireland and I was able to tell them all about Pendo and her twin sister Sauma and their lives in the Happy House
. It is good for them to hear about children in another country with lives very different from their own.
 When I was preparing to come back this time my sister asked if I would bring a book for Pendo and a card for her memory box.  
Both Fionn and Bram have their own memory boxes at home so they understand the importance of these boxes of treasures.
 They both signed the card in their best handwriting and wrote that they read the blog everyday to see if they can see any pictures of Pendo. 
 I think that today they will be very excited to read the blog!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

School's out

It’s the school holidays and our children are enjoying a well earned break after working so hard for their end of term examinations.
And, the closing day ceremony is a time for celebration, when pupils receive certificates for their achievements and also to share in their success with their relatives and friends.
Mariam and volunteer DawnHeather
Even our little ones were in the limelight with Uncle Billy honoured to present certificates to  Peter, James and Baraka for being the top academic achievers in their class!
And this closing day there was special treat, thanks to Mama Emmanuel , the mum of day boy Emmanuel, who showed her appreciation for the school by donating two goats which were cooked and served with pilau for a closing day lunch and everyone tucked in.
Now holiday club is underway, organised by our teachers,  with our children and friends having fun and enjoying a variety of activities.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Half marathon motivated by our kids

Running 13 miles is a tough call, specially without training!
But that is just what Adriana Prieto and her friend Debora Magni have done.
Spurred on by our Happy House kids, Adriana (Anna to our family) and Debora completed the course.
Anna, from Mexico but now living in Italy, who volunteered with us for three months takes up the story: 
"I was walking by Piazza Santa Croce in Florence when I saw all these runners picking up their packages because the next day the Half Marathon Firenze was taking place.
I love doing sports and I love running, so I decide ask the staff if I can run the next day.
My friend Debora and I were so nervous because we didn´t train.
That night I couldnt sleep, but then I think of the Happy House kids, and they were like a shot of motivation and of confidence to finish the race.
For that reason I decided to write on my t-shirt:
Because everything happened so fast I didnt have the time to collect sponsor money, instead I was so surprised and happy that many people took pictures of my t-shirt and asked me about the Happy House and the kids. 
For me, that was so satisfactory, because The Happy House was making a noise in Florence.
When the race finished, the winners of the women's category went to the pódium, the three of them were from Africa. 
The second place was from Kenya. Debora and I, who both volunteered in Kenya, were so proud that the winners were from Africa.
When they went down from the pódium, the three of them gave us their flowers as a sign of gratitude of what my t-shirt said.
It was only a ''grain of sand” for the kids, my friends, at the Happy House.
I love and miss them always."
Thank you Anna for once again helping to spread the word about the work being done at the Happy House.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Rice is nice .. by Rukia

When Mama first started family meetings in the form of a wekly Kidz Club, our kids were a bit shy of speaking out.
There was one day when she asked if anyone had anything to say and a little hand went up. It was Rukia. "And what would you like to say?" asked Mama.
"I don't like cabbage!" she replied.
"In that case, you don't have to eat it," said Mama, and Rukia sat down with a smile.
Today Rukia tells us what she does like to eat!
" My favourite food is rice and beans, it tastes very good. And  I like fruits  like  mango and  orange and  I don’t  like sweet melon.
My favbourite activities are football and netball and dancing.
My best lesson is  social studies and we have  our class teacher  Madam Russell.  She is  a good  teacher I love her and I love all the teachers .
And today I woke up  at 5 o’clock in the morning .
Love Rukia." 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Burnley best friends

Brian Julie Rose Trish and Laurence
The Happy House has very special links with the Lancashire town of Burnley.
All our kids have Burnley FC kits, donated by the club, and most of our furniture in the school and house, plus the kits and many more items, came via Terry Burns and his Burnley based charity Furniture for Education Worldwide.
Terry has introduced us to lots of lovely people from his home town and they have opened their hearts to our children by becoming sponsors.
So we were very happy to welcome Furniture for Education trustee, Laurence Embley, his partner Trish Ellis and their friends Julie and Brian Cooper to the Happy House this week.
Meeting Stevie
Laurence, Terry's best pal, was at the opening three years ago along with Terry and a party of family of friends, so he was now able to see just how much our family has grown and developed since then.
For teacher Trish it was a first visit as it was for Julie, leader of Burnley Borough Council, and Brian.
They were amazed by the size and scale of the Happy House and in awe of the vision and determination of the woman who  created it, Mama Sue. 
They chatted to teachers, social worker Uncle Billy, staff members and , of course, to our kids.
Meeting their sponsor children for the first time was so important, Laurence and Trish sponsor Lily, whilst Julie and Brian are special friends to little Stevie.
Hello to Lily
Both children were a bit shy at first, but Trish and Laurence and Julie and Brian were happy to just say hello on their first visit knowing that in the days following they would have other chances to get to know the children on their own terms.
Over the course of their stay both couples planned to help as often, and in any way, they could. Brian was looking forward to playing football with the lads!
Teacher Trish and Julie, a former teacher, were both very keen to see how our school works and to assist in class if possible.
Very generously they brought lots of necessities for our kids, plus some special items for Stevie and Lily.
Thank you Laurence, Trish, Julie and Brian for coming to see us and for strengthening the special bond between our family and your hometown.