Friday, 31 May 2013

Winning ways

Our kids are really on the ball ... excelling in ball games in a local games competition.
The inter-school contest at Watamu Primary School saw Janet, Evans and Margaret doing their level best to make the Happy House proud.
All three beat off stiff competition and to win through to compete at District level.
Well done to all of you on a great performance.
Lieutenant Linus!
Meanwhile back at the Happy House an old and deflated football finds a new life, thanks to Linus.
If you can't kick it, you might as well wear it and it turns out to be a very good fit as a beret for this little boy.
Uncle Billy just happened to be around with a camera to warrant this salute from Lieutenant Linus! 
Maybe he should form his own regiment of ball boys and girls!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Junior reporters

 Recruiting our junior bloggers can take a bit of gentle persuasion, as volunteer DawnHeather Wright tells us:
"I approached Shakila, who is ten, and asked her if she would  write the blog. 
At first she was so shy, she wouldn't even make eye contact with me . In fact, she squirmed so much in her seat that she fell off and ended up under the table.
  I said that I would ask her some questions and I would write down the answers and maybe later we could put it on the computer together.
  Eventually she told me that she liked living in the Happy House, she liked all the food but she liked biscuits best.  Feeling more confident, she took my paper and pen and wrote that she liked helping and playing with her friends.
 By this stage several of the children, curious about what we were doing, came and joined us at the table. Shakila decided to take on the role of reporter and started to ask them questions similar to the ones I had asked her.
 However, like all budding young reporters, Shakila's questions were slightly more challenging, for example she asked David, 'Which do you like best, helping in the kitchen or playing football'? A very difficult question for a nine year old boy to answer! 
Nine year old Rukia then took over the questioning and recording job and completed interviews with Lily and Salama.
 For the results of the interviews, keep an eye out on future Sundays - the day our children take over the blog."

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The best medicine for Mama ...

You'll all be pleased to hear that Mama Sue is is out of hospital and back home with Papa.
She is on the road to recovery and still has a way to go but is busy working and back to Skype sessions with Rose, Billy, Isaac and at the Happy House and enjoying the best medicine of all ..their love and laughter!.
Surgeons at Blackpool Victoria Hospital found an infection in the partial artificial hip replaced in Mombasa three years ago, and after the removing the prosthesis and cleaning out the area have put in a temporary spacer.
This releases antibiotics into the bloodstream and will remain in place for at least six weeks. If there is still a sign of infection after that time, it will remain there for another six weeks before they can go ahead and put in a brand new hip.
They have to ensure there is no likelihood of an infection recurring as treatment in  Kenya would be a very different story.
It has involved major surgery and has Mama has been in a great deal of pain, but the pain has lessened and, whilst her mobility is severely restricted,  she is now picking up, feeling much better ... and doing what she loves, working for her Happy House family.
Whilst she has always been in contact with Rose, Isaac and Billy,keeping her finger on the Happy House pulse, she is feeling much happier at being able to see them all, as they are feeling better for seeing her and Papa.
Mama says: "Thanks you to everyone for their cards and good wishes, they have meant so much to me and lifted my spirits at the times when I have felt a bit low."
She is now back in email contact and will be delighted to hear from you should you wish to drop her a line..
Mama is grateful to surgeon Steve Mannion and his team and to all the nursing staff on Ward 15a who cared for her during her long stay in hospital.
Now she is on the way and every day is one day nearer to getting back to the only place she wants to be - at the Happy House with her kids.
Coffee evening
Layton Churches Together have a coffee evening for the Happy House on Tuesday, June 11, at St Anne of Greenlands CE Church, Salmesbury Avenue, Blackpool, at  7.30pm. All welcome, admission £1.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Erastus ... on top of the world

Birthdays are something our own children look can forward to with excitement, knowing, for certain, there will be cards, presents and celebrations.
But for our Happy House kids, before joining our family, birthdays were just like any other day with without gifts or celebration.
Another day living in poverty and hardship.
So imagine what it is like to have your very first birthday card and present?
Erastus, came to us in March with his little brother Sylvester. The two small boys carried with them a heavy burden of tragedy. Their dad had been brutally killed in the Tana Delta clashes last year, and his widowed mum, forced to flee the area, was finding it impossible to support herself and her boys.
She sought help by putting her children into care, in the hope they can be reunited once she has re-established her own life and has some security to offer them.
Erastus has just turned four, and as is our custom, his birthday was marked at Kidz Club with the birthday song and gifts which had been sent with love by members of his sponsor family Liz McCormack and Kevin.
Uncle Billy says: "Erastus got presents for his birth for the first time in his life and doesn't he feel at the top of the world
He has turned four in style."

Monday, 27 May 2013

Toddling on to help our family

A happy band from Harmby Under 5s group enjoyed a sponsored toddle and Teddy Bears' Picnic to raise money for our Happy House family.
The pre-school, near the village of Leyburn, Yorkshire, is where little Alice Webster goes with her friends.
Alice's mum Louise and dad Gary were the very first people to join our sponsored child scheme, before the Happy House building work was complete, with their donation used to help finish and furnish. And as soon as the first children arrived she and her family welcomed our Oscar into their family.
Oscar shares his birthday with Alice's elder sister, Grace, and Alice looks upon him as her twin brother.
So it will be so exciting for Oscar and Grace to finally meet in a few weeks time when Louise, Gary and the girls fly out Kenya for a holiday and to spend some special time with our family.
Louise, already a very busy lady, does so much to help our family and it is she who contacts new sponsors with profiles and pictures of their children.
And it was Louise who arranged the spopnsored toddle which will raise in the region of £150.
That's a wonderful effort, thank you so much Louise and everyone from Harmby Under 5s.

Top picture: Louise Webster with daughter Alice and Evie Hall.
Left : Lucy Hall with Alice Webster and her own daughters Jasmine and Evie.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Enjoying nature ... by Evans

Evans, front row third from left, and his brothers and sisters.
Evans is today's guest blogger and he is writing about a stroll in the countryside near the Happy House:
In the school holidays we had holiday club with a programme of things to do. One day we went on a nature walk.
I went to take my hat and put it on.
Then we started the journey.
We walked to the road and we used the left hand side of the road because our teachers taught us about road safety.
As we were walking, one of our teachers showed us her house
It was beautiful and sunny. We told the teacher we were thirsty. She said that we should go and drink some water.
We drank the water and then we went to the beach and saw boats. 
Then we came back home.
When we came back I was tired and I rested.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Spoons and forks appeal

We are facing  a cutlery crisis at the Happy House so if any of our friends may be thinking of sending a parcel out to our family, we really do need durable plastic spoons and forks.
Spoons are the priority and they must be heavy duty as they will be used over and over again.
As our family has grown, our stock of cutlery has been fully utilised and as much of it is metal it is beginning to suffer from the humidity and salt in the air and started to rust. This  has led to many items affected being taken out of service.
There is a Stockport-based company that sells small polycarbonate dessert spoons and forks, ideal for our older kids, online, for 48p each.
Teaspoons for our babies are just 36p each.
This cutlery is durable, lightweight, and the supplier Harfield Direct are happy to supply to individual buyers. So if you could afford to spend a fiver on some spoons and send them on directly to the Happy House we would be so grateful. 
The link is:
This is just a suggestion, you may have seen some local to you, but this was the best we could find.
The postal address is : Sue Hayward's Happy House, PO Box 796, Watamu, Kenya, East Africa.
If you do have any queries, or would like to tell us if you are planning to send some out please email:
Thank you for your continuing kindness.

Geoffrey makes a welcome return.....

Geoffrey Knight last visited the Happy House when it was newly opened three years ago and it was a great pleasure to see him back again along with Jean Knight and Trish Shedwick.
Uncle Billy showed them around and they were hugely impressed by the work Mama and the Happy house are doing for the vulnerable children of the area.
And of course,  Geoffrey could see just how much the  Happy House had developed and how our family has grown since those early days.
Thank you for coming back to see us.
Pictured: Uncle Billy with Geoffrey, Jean and Trish.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Caring and sharing ... our family way

 Over the past year we have had quite a lot of clothing in adult sizes donated to our family.
Anything that may be of use, in future, to our older children has been kept, but we cannot keep everything in store and feel it should be put to use, by people who are in immediate and dire need.
There are many refugees from the Tana Delta area who have been displaced, first by tribal violence, or by the  catastrophic floods that followed.
They have lost everything.
With Mama's blessing, head housemum, Prescha, who runs a very organised and catalogued store, packed all the clothing we will not need for our own Uncle Billy took along to his church on Sunday.
 St John the Baptist Catholic Church, is running a clothing appeal for Tana Delta victims.
The priest in charge the Rev Emilio Njeru celebrated mass and the goods were received by Mr Josphat Andalo on behalf of the chairman Mr Albert Nzoya.

Uncle Billy said: "They lauded our goodwill gesture and said that the support will go a long way in changing the lives of those affected by both manmade and natural calamities in that region.
No sooner did the zone start  healing from tribal warfare  repercussions than the flash floods came calling!
The community members are quite resilient and receptive to help and our heartfelt wishes go to them in their healing process.
Thank you to Piera Lauria from Italy who brought things donated by her friends in Milan and to other supporters whose donations have now been channeled to this worthy cause. God bless them."
Mama Sue has always worked with other organisations to ensure that any items we receive, that may not be appropriate to our work, go to help others need and has, in the past, given heavy duty blankets and thick woollies to the East African Women's League to distribute to the vulnerable in the areas around Nairobi where it is much cooler.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Ladies night

The Christ Church Ladies Evening Group in Thornton, Lancashire, were a lovely audience when Elizabeth Gomm went along to tell them all about Mama Sue and her road to the Happy House.
And her journey along that road, with all it's twists. turns, heartaches and joys, never fails to inspire and win to our family new friends.
Susan Carr  who does a great deal to help us, came along to help Libby and to sell our Happy House bags, 
A donation from the club and sale of bags resulted in a total of £65.Thank you.

Pictured: Above left: Cellis Fitzgerald and Pam Simmons.
Above right: Susan Carr
Left: Elizabeth with some of the group members 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

On the ball

You can call a football match a friendly, but both teams will still want to win.
Our latest trip to Malindi Soccer Academy was for a friendly between two sides made up from local lads from Malindi and our Happy House kids.
And teams are a mix of all kids so they get to know each other and to understand what it is to be a team.
The academy, supported by Genoa,   uses football as incentive to get street kids  to go to school. If they miss school, or under-perform, they are excluded from training for a few weeks.
It works well, and boys who might slip through the net when it comes to educationl have a real reason for wanting to be in class and to do their best.
As you know,  Mama has always emphasised the importance of education and our children are, as a result, highly motivated to do well.
Our girls enjoy playing too, but for this match they came along to support the lads.
They get free training at the academy, and enjoy mixing with the kids they meet there and just revel in a game of soccer.
This match, on a very hot Sunday, was preceded by a photo-shoot when Freddie Curatalo, who runs the soccer school,  also spoke to the kids about the need to work hard in school in order to win the right to play hard at football.
The match was a hard fought battle between the two sides, but there was no winner nor loser.
 The result was a very friendly 1-1 draw, followed by drinks and snacks provided by Freddie.
Then came the journey back to Malindi and a warm welcome home from the little kids who were so happy to see their big brothers and sisters back again.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

All stitched up

Nifty fingered knitters from St Annes on Sea have been busy creating colourful comfort blankets for our Happy House kids.
All through last winter and into spring the super stitchers who meet every week at St Annes War Memorial Housing Association's community room, have been spurred on by the thought of helping our children in an effort prompted by retired tram driver Jane Paul.
And yesterday, they handed over the blankets to Elizabeth Gomm  who enjoyed a cuppa and chat while she told them a bit more about Mama Sue, Papa Dave and our family.
With all the other blankets and woollies we have had donated, we now have all we need, especially as it is, most of the time, so hot. 
The generous knitters said that they were happy for us to take out just those we need for our children and to sell any others we cannot use, which we will do.
They are also considering holding a fundraising event to help our Happy House and we look forward to seeing them all again.
Thank you ladies!
*There are so many kind people who want to make items for our children, but it would be really helpful if you could, please,  check with Sue or Elizabeth before embarking on any  projects as we have to get everything out by post (which is expensive) or in the personal luggage allowances of those visiting.
 Our emails are: or

Monday, 20 May 2013

Thank you from Mama

Mama Sue wants to say a huge thank you to everyone for their get well messages are so full of love and support for her as she starts her road to recovery from surgery to rectify problems caused by a failed hip replacement.
She's in the safe hands of the caring staff on Ward 15a at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, many who  of whom are now new friends for our charity.
Lots of messages were left on our Facebook page for Mama, so Elizabeth printed them out and took them into the hospital for her
Mama says: "All the lovely messages I have received  from all over the world,  some from people I don't even know, are so encouraging. They have really lifted my spirits at a time when I have been feeling low.
"They have done me, and Papa, so much good. Thank you."

Sunday, 19 May 2013

My favourite teacher ... can run!

Today's junior blogger is Daniella, who is talking about being in school at the Happy House.
My favourite thing to do in the Happy House is to be in class.
My teacher is called Mr. Athmani.
I like Mr. Athmani because he knows how to run.
He teaches well. He teaches us mathematics and science. 
My favourite subject is Social Studies because we do map work.  Social Studies is a subject that asks about population, vegetation, society and culture. 
We learn about Kenyan culture. This is important because we get asked questions about Kenya in our exams so is important to know.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Mama making progress, plus a Blackburn welcome for Elizabeth

Mama Sue is on the first step to recovery after surgery on a failed hip replacement. 
She is very tired, sore and bruised, but is in very good hands of surgeon Steve Mannion and the orthopaedic team at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Mr  Mannion kindly put an update on our Happy House Facebook after the operation on Thursday night: "I am sure everyone will be pleased to know that all went well in Mama's operation today!"

A Blackburn welcome
Retired NHS staff gave Elizabeth such a warm welcome when she went to tell them about our Happy House family yesterday.
The Blackburn branch of the NHS Retirement Fellowship were such an attentive - and patient- audience.
There were a couple of technical hitches, the major one sorted thanks to new member Barry.
Everyone was so interested to hear Mama and Papa's inspiring story and to see pictures of our lovely children and the transformations worked on their little lives by our Happy House magic.
They had lots of questions too, including; How do you remember all the children's names?
Elizabeth's answer: They're family!I am sure,  if you had 72 grandchildren you'd know all their names and personalities!
The fellowship were  very generous and a collection raised £106.96, plus there was a donation of £30 from the club.
Every penny will be spent wisely to help our children. Thank you to all of you for being so kind and so welcoming.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Well done David

We know he's a star, and now it's official.
David, our very special little boy, started school last week .... and was awarded Star of the Week Award at Kidz Club this week.
David, three, was so grumpy when all his Happy house playmates went back to school, that Uncle Billy decided to let him go too, and how he loves it.
David, diagnosed with Down's Syndrome in 2011, isn't letting the fact that he's not yet quite walking on his own stop him from keeping up and is having great fun learning and playing in our playgroup class.
He received the award from the Happy House family for: "Being confident and active in school."
David is pictured posing happily with a proud big "sister, Lucinda.
 Well done David.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Surgery for Mama

Mama Sue is today back in Blackpool Victoria Hospital undergoing surgery on the failed partial hip replacement which is causing her so much pain.
And everyone in the Happy House family she created, wherever they are in the world,  will, we know, be wishing her well.
Today should be the first step to recovery for Mama, and she is in the very safe hands of orthopaedic consultant Steve Mannion.
Mr Mannion understands so well Mama's work in Africa and the courage and determination it takes to make a difference on a continent where there is so great a need.
He has founded a charity himself, Feet First Worldwide ,to treat and prevent physical disability through not only giving time and personal medical expertise, but also training and educating local medical personnel on important techniques and methods.
With several visits each year to Malawi, Laos and Papua New Guinea, Mr Mannion – nicknamed Super Steve – and his team aim to roll out and manage a programme to improve the recognition of musculoskeletal conditions, such as club foot and introduce new diagnostic techniques and treatment.
For Mama and Papa this is such a difficult time,so to know that she  is under the care of a man who is not only an expert in his field, but who also knows what it is like to change lives for the better, is a huge bonus.
Mama will be on Ward 15a at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and we will give you updates on her progress on the blog.
We love you Mama, get well soon.
Fiona's 50th
Fiona Lockyer's 50th birthday party at the weekend, when she asked for donations instead of presents, has raised a staggering £2,133. It's an amazing amount and a measure of just how much her friends and family love her. Thank you Fiona and  friends for being so, so kind.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Boot sale puts volunteer Grace on track

A-level student Grace Dunbar is planning spend some of her time volunteering at the Happy House next year.
Grace, from Wantage,  visited our family last year with her grandparents, our own good friends Brenda and Red Groves, and she can't wait to go back.
She has started fundraising for her £500 volunteer donation to the Happy House and after a car boot sale at the weekend has totted up £140.
She and Brenda were up early for the sale on Sunday and the goods they sold brought in £51.
Well done, girls!
To find out more about volunteering at the Happy House please visit:

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Four faces of Esther

Esther was the baby of our Happy House family until Athman and Neema arrived, which means she's now got someone smaller than her to show off to!
And her speciality is pulling faces...
Watch her for a minute or so and she'll go through a whole gamut of expressions.
Esther, was just five days old when she was found abandoned in scrubland in January last year.
She was very poorly and dehydrated.
At the time, Uncle Billy, our social worker, said: We cannot know what circumstances led to Ether's abandonment, but we do know that now she is a Happy House angel she will receive all the love and care she deserves." 
And love and care is what she has been receiving ever since and, as you can see, she's blooming with happiness.
Like David, she is  another smiling  testament to our Happy House magic!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Our family gets a birthday boost .. thanks to Fiona!

 Fun-loving Fiona Lockyer's  fabulous 50th birthday party has given the Happy House family a big boost.
A happy evening celebrated with her family and friends at a glittering black tie dinner, is on target to raise £2000 for our charity plus raising valuable awareness of the work of our inspirational founder Mama Sue.
Held at the Ramada Hotel Birmingham  Sutton Coldfield where Fiona is the general manager, it was a party with Kenyan keynote, including an African hut had been specially constructed to house a cocktail bar, with all the spirits donated by Fiona's mum, with donations per drink coming to the charity.
Fiona and her twin daughters Hebe and Imogen are in the sponsor families of three of our children, Baraka, James and Jonathan, and the Happy House holds a special place in their hearts.
That is why Fiona wanted to share her big birthday with us and requested her family and friends to make donations to the charity instead of buying her gifts.
Elizabeth joined the guests as our Happy House representative and gave the guests a snapshot of our family and the way the Happy House is saving and transforming the lives of vulnerable children. 
She received a very warm reception and was delighted by the number of people who, afterwards, wanted to to know more.
We hope they may now want to join our special family themselves, just like their friend Fiona!
Fiona's evening was lots of fun with games, dancing, a fantastic dj and band and brilliant service from her efficient and friendly staff,
Thank you, again, to Fiona your thoughtfulness and generosity and thank you to all those who made a donation on her behalf.
Our family at the Happy House hope it won't be too long before you go back to visit them.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

A good game, by John

After school or at playtime you will always find a group of boys and girls playing football.
An area has been cleared and goal posts  put up so the kids have somewhere they  can practice their skills, and get some coaching from their teachers.
John, today's guest blogger, has chosen sport as his topic.
I like football. It is a good game to play. I like it very much.
If I am not playing, I like to watch my friends playing.
Kicking a ball and running make you strong.
I have a football shirt, it is Chelsea.'

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Happy birthday Fiona .. our fab friend

Happy birthday to our lovely friend Fiona Lockyer.
Fiona, who is celebrating her 50th birthday with a party tonight, has long been supporting the work of the Happy House family.
And she is sharing her birthday with our family by asking family and friends to make donations to the Happy House instead of gifts.
She and her twin daughters, Hebe and Imogen, sponsor Baraka, and for their own recent birthdays, a relative gifted Hebe and Imogen sponsorship of twins Jonathan and James.
Elizabeth will be at the party in Sutton Coldfield, 
sadly Mama and Papa,who should have been there, are unable to travel because Mama is  awaiting surgery on her hip.
Mama and Papa send you lots of love Fiona and wish you a very happy evening and are looking forward to seeing pictures and hearing all about it.
Thank you for all your love and kindness.
Marking time...
And by sheer coincidence another gift from Fiona arrived in the Happy House post this week.
She generously sent out a parcel of whiteboard markers much to the delight of our teachers.
We are very lucky to have whiteboards in every classrooms,donated along with other furnishings by Furniture fir Education Worldwide, and we do get through a lot of markers so they are always near the top of our wish list.
Thank you, again, Fiona.

Friday, 10 May 2013

David gets first taste of school

Just look who has started school, our very special little boy, David.
This is a huge landmark in life for the child Mama was told by specialists to just “take home and love.”
They had diagnosed him with Down's Syndrome.
But Mama and Uncle Billy knew that he need so much more than love and by following help and advice  from the Down's Syndrome Association, enlisted by Auntie Libby in the UK, a programmed of exercises was put in place to stimulate him mentally and physically. David has flourished and now tries so hard to keep up with his brothers and sisters in all they do, and isn't that far behind.
School was going to wait until he is walking confidently on his own but, this week,  David, who turned three in December, had his own ideas!
When all his Happy House brothers and sisters went back to school this week after a three-week break, David was Mr Grumpy personified
Uncle Billy says: During the school break he enjoyed himself fully since he had company all the time.
After school opened he had a very bad day especially after breakfast when everybody left for school.
I thought he could be missing their company, the foul mood later subsided after Ernest the little day kid joined him. 
This morning we came up with a contingency plan to have him sample "school life".
Madam Hellen and Auntie immediately took him into playgroup class and just before lunch I called to see what was happening.
I found a very relaxed and playful David. Later they were all called back to their seats and David followed what everybody else was doing.
Maybe school will make him find the urge to put more effort on his walking skills to attain his full independence.
It might be a blessing in disguise if he decides to copy his classmates hence finding his own two feet!
This evening Madam Hellen commented in writing "David was very happy because he did not cry at school and was even able to join others when singing".
Aunty Neema wrote: "David has enjoyed colouring, playing with toys and letter cards".
Well done David you have been such a good boy today as you have always been!
His progress is another testament to our Happy House magic getting to work on little lives.
We will never give up on a child, whatever label they may be given, and will do everything in our power to ensure that each and every one reaches their full potential in life.
Well done David, you are such a shining star.