Saturday, 31 August 2013

Birthday and a star!

Birthday girl charity is just beaming with joy!
Charity took centre stage at kidz club to receive her birthday gifts and lapped up the attention when everyone sang Happy Birthday to her.
It is a delight to see how Charity is growing up, she came to us as such a tiny, poorly little baby and now she is a thriving and happy four year old.
Happy birthday, Charity.
E is for effort
Well done, Lucinda for receiving a Star of the Week award for being an active student.
Lucinda.16, the eldest in our family, is trying hard with her studies and doing the only thing Mama asks of any of her children - her                   very best!

Friday, 30 August 2013

Thank you Blackpool Rotary

Mama Sue and Elizabeth were a welcome double act when they were guest speakers at  Blackpool Rotary Club at the Sheraton Hotel.
When the talk was booked way back in March, after Rotarian Chris Beverley had heard Mama's inspirational talk at the Lancashire and Cumbria  District Conference in Scarborough, we all thought Mama would have been back home by now.
But her recent hip problems put her and Papa's return home on hold and now recovering well from a hip replacement, this talk was her first speaking outing for a while.
Chris, the newly-intstalled President, and his wife Sheila were our hosts and Chris introduced us affectionately as the Happy House family's Mama Sue and Auntie Libby.
Rotarians, their wives and partners, were inspired by all that Mama has and is doing for children who have had such an appalling start in life and wished her, Papa and Libby a safe journey when they fly back to the Happy House in two weeks time.
For Mama and Papa that day can't come soon enough as this time they will be home to stay.
Thank you to all the Rotarians and their guests for making us so welcome and for taking our family into their hearts. Donations received totalled £122, every penny of which will go to helping our family.
Pictured: Chris and Sheila Beverley with Mama Sue and Auntie Libby

Thursday, 29 August 2013

The high cost of good health

Check up for Neema
Now Stevie's turn
 Many of the children who come to us arrive with health problems which need sorting out straight away.
And once we have restored them to good health, there are the normal childhood ailments that need treating  plus other more serious or chronic ones for which we have to see out specialist advice and treatment.
The health of our children is top priority. Mama makes sure of that - whatever the cost.
In Kenya, there is no national health service and every consultation, every item of medication, every bandage,  comes with a price tag .
Recently, Uncle Billy has been sourcing the eye care for Neema, Stevie and Harry.
Stevie and Neema  have squints and Uncle Billy took them to a clinic run by a private eye hospital in Mombasa who said both would need surgery and demanded an exorbitantly high price of  340,000 KES (approx £2,720)
He then sought a second opinion from another respected opthamologist who assured him that Stevie's squint was the more serious and called for remedial action - an eyepatch for two hours each day.
 Each eyepatch costs 100ksh  (3,000ksh (£24) a month) plus the 3,000ksh (£24)  paid for his glasses.
Stevie is getting used to his eye patch - reluctantly!
"He didn't look so happy so I decided to hire a smiley Saumu to grace the photo session - and succeed I did," Says Uncle Billy
" Not to worry Stevie,in the long term you will thank your family a lot for caring today!"
Neema, on the other hand, is having no treatment at the moment as the specialist believes that her eye muscles may well strengthen as she gets older and correct the squint.  Both her eyes are healthy and her sight is unaffected.
Stevie wears his eyepatch
Harry has been suffering from a discharge in his eyes and through with his first  anti allergy suspension , plus Ivycrom drops which he needs to use for 6 months.
Abu, three, hasn't been well either  and last week we spent kshs 5,480 (£44) for consultaion ,lab tests and medication for him alone.
And James, one of twins, is the latest to give cause for concern as he has been suffering with chest problems.
His brother Jonathan has already been identified as having sickle cell and is on regular medication.
Uncle Billy reports: " I went to Malindi for James' results which say that so far his chest is 
clear and that his is a carrier for Sickle cell, which is not harmful to him but 
might be to his offspring. 
"We spent 10,800ksh (£86)  for lab tests and  repeat chest x-ray."
For Uncle Billy, who oversees the children's healthcare,  he never knows how much to take with him as everything has to be paid for at the time.
Over the year, with a family of more than 73 children, the costs of healthcare come to hundreds of thousands of shillings - two of our children need medication all the time for chronic conditions.
We are fortunate that Jill and Mick Armstrong contribute to our medical costs on a regular basis and that Pauline Royle immediately offered to cover the costs of special formula milk for baby Athman when he arrived with us.
Routine  health check-ups, when our children arrive, are provide free of charge by a local charity-supported clinic.
We cannot realistically budget for healthcare, simply because we cannot forecast what ailments will arise from day to day.
But nor can we put a price tag on good health ... the health and happiness of each and every child is worth every single shilling.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Will reaches the heights and raises £1,305

Will Langran , a sixth form student at Upppingham School,  has been spending part of his summer break trekking across mountainous terrain in Nepal and  raising £1,305 for the Happy House.
Will, 17, from Essex  completed the trek from Jomsom to Mustang with his aunt, Gillian.
It was a tough call, but Will was determined to push himself to new heights. He says:
''The  trek lasted 14 days and on average we walked for seven hours a day, the highest altitude we got to was 4035m where it became very hard to breathe and walking uphill became very slow. 
We had fantastic weather on the whole. This was the most remote place I had ever been to, where they still eat with their hands and use squatter toilets. Often the families are only living in one room. 
The landscape was unbelievable as  I hope you can see that from the photos
. I found the first two days a massive physical challenge whilst getting used to the altitude, but then it became progressively easier and became much fitter.
Religion is hugely influential out there, for example once you have climbed to the top of a pass, it is tradition to throw a rock onto the pile and say a prayer, which our porters did relentlessly. On the whole we stayed in lodges and the accommodation was extremely basic as you would expect. 
The road up towards Marpha from Beni was five hours on the worst road I have ever been on. We had to change buses six  times due to landslides in the road or the gearbox blowing mid journey, but that was all part of the fantastic experience. 
 I loved every minute of it and it made it even better that I was doing it for your fantastic cause. I sincerely hope the money can make a difference and I would love to visit  the Happy House next time I am in Watamu."
Thank you Will for making the Happy House a part of your amazing adventure and for raising so much money for our family.  We look forward to seeing you.
A big thank you, also,  to everyone who sponsored Will

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Water babies

A trip to beach was a special treat to signal the end of holiday club.
Our children, and teachers, had a splashing time playing in the ocean and building castles in the sand.
After a lovely time they went home tired but very happy!
Teacher Madam Tanui is pictured w ith some of the children.
*This week there are visits to family for some of our children.  Where possible, they will be spending a day or two with the blood relatives who may not be able to care for them on a full time basis, but who really care and who will go to great lengths to feed and care for them for a few days. 

Monday, 26 August 2013

Baggers cheque out!

 Mama Sue was thrilled to be able to meet and thank personally a group of young people who raised £254 by bag packing for customers in Tesco, Cleveleys.
They are all taking part in the YMCA-run National Citizen Service programme which is aimed to help 16-17 year olds and focuses on personal and social development and includes challenging activities from away-from-home residential experiences to a self-designed social action project. 
The Government-funded programme involves a wide range of activities which include a volunteering aspect and the Wyre team agreed to help the Happy House with a bagpack.

Kyle, Mama and Sophie
And they presented the cheque to Mama Sue at a gig they organised on Saturday at Carleton Memorial Hall. The gig was as their social action element of the course and with the help of musicians and performers who shared their talents for free it was a successful fundraiser for Cancer Research UK.
Mama thanked everyone for supporting the Happy House and for all they were doing and is now looking forward to seeing their course leader Sophie Morris and her boyfriend Kyle Webster in Watamu as they are planning to volunteer with our family next year.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Hello Mama, Hello Papa ... from Fikiri

Our kids are so excited to know that their Mama and Papa will soon be back home with them once again and their family complete.
Today's blog is written by Fikiri and takes the form of a letter to Mama and to  Papa

Dear Mama Sue,  I hope you are fine thank you. I want to tell you that In school we have good teachers in school and I want to tell you we have prefects in school. In school we are eating good food at lunchtime  and we have newcomers in class. We love you.

Dear Papa,  I hope you are fine, thank you, we love you and we miss you when you come home we shall cook  for you pilau and chicken and we shall have a big party,  for when we talk to you on the Skype and you told us that you shall be there on  14th of September and you say that we shall come to pick you  in Mombasa we shall arrive at 7.30am When you come home we shall take you to see the garden. Uncle  Tevin show us how to plant maize and carrots, tomatoes and potatoes .
Today, the kids council start at after lunch.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Twin joy for Grace and Oscar

Grace and Oscar who were born on the same date
Six year old Grace Webster is visiting the Happy House with her family and sumsup her feelings in two sentences!
"The Happy House is really good. I am really excited to see Oscar"
As we told you earlier in the week  Grace is there getting to know our family and their own sponsor child Oscar,  with her mum Louise, dad Garry and little sister, Alice.
Grace and Oscar consider themselves twins as they share the same birthday!
Louise says: "We arrived in Watamu on Sunday after a very long journey.
 We were all very excited about visiting the Happy House and especially about meeting Oscar.
 Last time we were here the Happy House was in the final stages of being built and we couldn’t wait to see it full of happy children.
 On Monda, Uncley Billy came to collect us from the hotel in the Happy House bus, and there sat in the front with him was a very smart and handsome Oscar!
Uncle Billy took us to the Happy House where all the children sang a welcome song. 
It all felt quite surreal. Part of me felt I already knew many of the children from sending out their profiles to the sponsors, and being so passionate about the charity I felt as if part of me already belonged here.
As Uncle Billy showed us around the Happy House which is mind blowing, we couldn’t quite believe what has been achieved by one person’s determination. 
Over the week we have popped in and out of the Happy House, playing football with the children, cuddling the babies and generally trying to take it all in.
Seeing Grace, Alice and Oscar together is amazing. It certainly feels good to be back.”

Friday, 23 August 2013

Manners maketh the man

After a month at the Happy House, volunteer Francis Asher is very much "Uncle Frankie" to all our kids.
Frankie, who is taking a career break from a high powered job in the City,  has an infectious energy and enthusiasm and the children are having great fun joining in activities with him, but also in learning from him.
In one lesson, before school broke up for the holidays, Uncle Frankie was left alone with a class and had five minutes to fill. He takes up the story:
:" My second lesson with Class 5 was nearly over, the kids finish scribing their homework and the teacher left the classroom to see someone. Twelve eyes are fixed on me and they are clearly expecting me to teach them something. I find myself  racking my brain for some useful knowledge I can perhaps pass on to them. Buy, Sell, Mine, Yours. No, don’t be an idiot Frank.
I don’t know why I was surprised, but one of the first things I noticed when I arrived at the house was how well mannered and respectful all of the children were. I turned to the whiteboard and wrote the title, Good Manners
 As I underlined it, the class in harmony read it out. I then listed various words and phrases someone uses when displaying good manners. Please. Thank you. You are welcome. Ladies first. After you. Gentleman. Lady. Like the title, without instruction, they read allowed the first three words/phrases and stopped at Ladies first. I asked the class if anyone knew what I meant by ladies first. No one raised their hand.
I walked over to the door, and began to explain the concept of ladies first. “Gentleman, when you are walking with a lady and you come to a doorway, it is good manners to always open the door, stand back and invite the lady to go in front of you, and say either ‘ladies first or after you’”. The class erupted into laughter. I couldn’t help but also chuckle. It was clear this isn’t something they had ever heard of. I went on to explain to the boys in the class that it is vital you always behave like a gentleman and particularly to girls. To behave like a gentleman is respectful, it shows you have manners, and it doesn’t cost anything to behave like a gentleman.
I asked for a volunteer.
 All hands went straight up. I asked Nigel, one of the day pupils, to come up and demonstrate what you do when approaching a door when accompanied by a lady. He did it perfectly. All of the girls burst into laughter. I then went onto explain to the ladies how it is as important to behave like a lady for a girl, as it is a man a gentleman. To say thank you to a man when he opens a door for you or offers you his seat on a bus. I went onto explain other examples of where it is good manners for a man to display he is a gentleman.
 The bell rang and like always there was a rush to form a line at the door, only this time the boys waited for the girls to go first and then followed behind them. The girls found it hysterical. I high- fived all of the boys and congratulated them on all being fine young gentleman. I warned them that now I had explained to them how important it is, I would be watching them (like in Meet the Parents, I put my fore and middle finger up to my eyes and then pointed back at each one of them individually).
We walked down to the banda together where all of the other classes were waiting for tea and break time. The headmaster, Mr Athumani then calls the classes up, one by one to collect their tea and bread. He calls Class 5. Test time. Like when the bell goes at the end of each lesson, all of the kids get up from their table and rush towards the serving table in an almost a race like fashion. As the first boy racer got close, he remembered ladies first, stopped on his toes, slightly bowed, and waved his hand to let the ladies go first. The girls, shocked and still laughing got their tea and bread first. I high-fived each of the boys and felt oddly proud that I might have actually taught these children something
 It felt so good
 I am so excited for the weeks ahead."

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Welcome "home" to the Websters

To Grace Webster her family's sponsor child, Oscar, is her twin brother.
They were both born on the same date - two continents apart.
And now they have met for the first time.
Grace's mum Louise is the very special lady who sends out the profiles of our Happy House children to new sponsors, so her name will be known to lots of you.
Despite being an extremely busy working mum to Grace and her younger sister Alice, she still finds time to be a wonderful volunteer and friend to the charity she and Gary have been supporting for a very long time.
Louise and Gary, from Leyburn,Yorkshire, are also known to guests at our charity nights for their legendary skills at selling raffle tickets. No one escapes without buying just another one!
So how wonderful it for this incredibly hard working family, who have pulled out all the stops to make this holiday possible, to be at the Happy House and to spend some proper time with the family they are so much a part of and to get know Oscar who is such a part of their own family.
They were given a rousing Happy House welcome on Monday, and on Tuesday were the guests of honour at Kidz Club.
Have a lovely time Louise, Gary, Grace and Alice and THANK YOU for all you do. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Cumbrian kindness

 Rotary is an international fellowship with service to communities around the world as its hallmark.
And yesterday, Elizabeth Gomm was delighted to be the guest speaker at the weekly meeting of Barrow Rotary Club at the Lisdoonie Hotel, Barrow in Furness.
The invitation came after members of their club heard Mama speak at the Rotary District Conference in Scarborough in March, so  Elizabeth had a very hard act to follow!
But club members really opened their hearts to our family as she told them how a holiday in Kenya in 2000 had changed the direction of Mama and Papa's life and how her own meeting with Mama seven years later had changed her life too!
Since that very first visitt o Kenya Mama's sheer determination and courage has seen her establish  Children of Watamu as a registered charity, develop three schools creating 700 pupil places,  and turn her vision of a Happy House children's home in to a reality.
The Rotarians were in awe of Sue's sheer dedication and impressed by her achievements.
President Alf Hadley presented Elizabeth with a cheque for £100 and a collection raised another £124.
Thank you gentlemen for being so generous to our family. Every penny will be very well spent and hope we can build on our friendship with your club in the future.
Pictured: Top left: John Winder, Ted Fenton, Alf Hadley abd Dennis Exley and , top right: President Alf Hadley presents a cheque to Elizabeth.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Band of brothers

Mama and Papa are busy getting all packed up to go home to their family.
And they just can't wait to be reunited with everyone they love so much.
It's been a stay much longer than intended, but now Mama is walking back to health and also to happiness with a brand new hip!
They are thrilled that so many people are taking time to visit them to wish them well for their journey home on September 13.
This weekend two of Dave brothers  and their wives braved a border crossing from White Rose to Red Rose country to spend a day with Sue and Dave..
Jimmy and Tony, with wives Pat and Pauline, had a lovely time catching up with Mama and Papa and talking over old times and memories of their mum, Polly,  before wishing them a safe journey back to Kenya.
Pictured, from left,are: Papa Dave, Mama Sue, Pat, Pauline, Jimmy and Tony.

Monday, 19 August 2013

From a big dream to a fantastic reality

Today's blog is written by Will Gordon who, with his family, has recently returned from holidaying in Watamu for the first time since 2009.
Then the Happy House was just beginning to emerge, so this time there was much more for them to see and one little boy very excited to meet them, Musyoka, to whose sponsor family they belong.
Will, from Thorner, near Leeds, writes:
Visit 1: The return to the Happy House 
The excitement levels were high in the tuktuk  as we waited for the gates to be opened to the Happy House
2009 and below 2013
The last time I was here was in 2009 it was just one big building site and a very big dream. 
Then Sue showed us round explaining what the Happy House would be, the ethos of the home and the type of children who would living there.
 It was great to walk around with Sue listening to the plans for bedrooms, shower rooms, TV room and to hear her talking about how the place would be filled with  happiness and laughter. As the gates swung open we saw that dream has become a  fantastic reality.
 I was absolutely amazed at the transformation of the plot – the building site I had a mental image of had now turned in to the Happy House!
We were greeted by Uncle Billy and Aunty Rose who very proudly showed us around the building – we were all amazed by what we saw and true to Sue’s word, the whole place was full of happiness and laughter. 
School was in and the children were all in class. The enthusiasm of both the teachers and the pupils impressed us all (especially Laura who is a secondary school teacher!).
We met our sponsor child Musyoka for the first time and what a first impression he made on all of us – we had been warned about his infectious smile and lovely personality, but we were completely bowled over by this very polite and well-spoken young man
Both Georgia and Luke had taken the time to pick out some clothes for us to take for him and he seemed very pleased with their choices!
The day went really fast and the whole of our family managed to spend some time with all of the kids (all of us had a very soft spot for the ‘baby corner’!).
All too quickly it was time to go but we were asked if we would like to return the following Tuesday for the Kids Club meeting
Visit 2:  Kids Club
 The whole family, which includes Laura's parents John and Moyra,  were really looking forward to our second trip – we had been invited to Kids club after school had finished on the Tuesday. We arrived early to have another walk around
 Musyoka was straight over with his winning smile, grabbed Laura by the hand and demanded that he show us the greenhouses and how the Happy House grow a large proportion of the food they need (more about this later).
 It was amazing to see both the volume and quality of the produce being grown and great to see the kids taking an active involvement in the growing of all of the produce. Both Georgia and Luke were amazed to see bananas growing on a tree: “Look daddy they are growing upside down” created a few chuckles from the Kenyan boys and girls. 
Once our tour of the gardens was complete, it was time for all to head over to the banda for the weekly meeting. 
Aunty Rose and Uncle Billy went through the important notices of the day including an important message about the need to take care of the kids who wear glasses. It was made very clear that glasses are very expensive in Kenya and are not play things!
 Uncle Billy asked us to introduce ourselves which we did in turn. Laura told the children that she is a teacher in England and was very pleased with both the attitude of the children inside and outside of the classroom. 
Luke and Georgia introduced themselves to the group and I explained that the last time I was at the Happy House it didn’t exist….which drew a few gasps!
 Uncle Billy thanked us and asked all of the children if they were happy and all screamed the response of “YES!!”.
What really struck all of us was the real open forum that the Kids Club creates and  how every child has the opportunity (and is encouraged) to speak up about any issue, however trivial they may seem.
 The guys who tend the gardens were in attendance and there were a few certificates that were handed out to the older children who have been helping in their spare time in the garden. It was clear that there is a lot of enthusiasm from both the gardeners and the kids that they all want the project to succeed.
Uncle Billy rounded off the session by stating that the skills that the kids are learning will stand them in good stead should they decide to look at a future career in farming. 
All of the staff had a quick word saying what they were working on and all finished their update by asking all of the children if they are happy.
Any every time the question was asked, the answer came back with an even more enthusiastic YES!
We left the Happy House full of praise for the staff and the kids and the way they are unified as one big happy family. As we left, we promised to return to say goodbye.
Visit 3:  Au Revoir not goodbye!
 With our holiday in Watamu hurtling to an end we packed bags of sweets and headed off to say our goodbyes to Musyoka and the rest of the Happy House kids. 
As we arrived, it was clear the atmosphere was different to the previous two visits….it was Saturday and the noise levels were almost off the scale!
 As the gates opened, we witnessed what can only be described as the World’s Biggest game of football… first count, I made it about 20 a side!
 We walked inside and the kids not involved in the match were sitting on the sofas watching MTV…..the sweets we brought went down very well and Musyoka enjoyed helping Georgia and Luke handing them out. Sweets are clearly taken very seriously as the football game was temporarily postponed while everyone took one.
It was difficult for to say goodbye (it must be a Gordon trait) so we had a quick chat with Musyoka (Georgia and Luke has insisted on getting a name wristband for him as all of the kids in our hotel were wearing them). They gave him his present and promised him that we would be back in a few years for a proper game of football.
 Laura reminded all of the kids that it is important to do well at school and really pay attention to the teachers and adults.
 We  all had a fabulous time at the Happy House and I for one left with a tear in my eye, amazed that in four short years this project has risen from a big dream into a Happy House reality. Thanks to all of the staff and children for sharing so much time with us and,as we promised, we will be back!
 The Gordons

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Holiday happiness .. by Janet

Sunday is when one of our children takes on the role of guest blogger...
This is Janet writing. How are you? I hope you are all fine and well.  All the Happy House kids are fine and looking forward  to welcome Mama, Papa and Auntie Libby back to the Happy House family again soon.
 I am telling you about about the Holiday Club we are going on well. Our teachers guide  us on how we should do on each day. We have four different activities that we are supposed to do before we going back home. Like Monday our first day of starting our Holiday Clubs we had the following activities football, music, quiz and colouring.  Colouring was one of the activities that was being done in the nursery section. 
I think you can see Natasha trying to cloouring and Abu showing his finished work.
Hugs and kisses
Janet xxxxxxxxx"

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Talking family at Carnforth Rotary

Guests from Melbourne, Australia, and our own Elizabeth Gomm speaking about the Happy House family in Kenya gave a truly international flavour to Carnforth Rotary Club's weekly meeting. Elizabeth was warmly welcomed by the club members at Longlands Hotel, Tewitfield, and introduced by president Malcolm Watkins.
 She told of our founder Mama Sue's incredible journey from visiting Watamu on holiday in 2000 to opening the Happy House in 2010  where she is now  Mama to 73 children.  Between 2000 and completing the Happy House, Sue had developed three schools creating 700 pupil places, and since opening the Happy House a kindergarten and a primary school have been added there too.
There have been many joys and  heartbreak along Sue's road to the Happy House, and there with her every step of the way has been her devoted husband, Papa Dave
Sue's extraordinary dedication and focus and the scale of what she has achieved never fails to impress, and of course everyone at the meeting had their hearts captured by the beautiful children who now have a chance in life because of Sue.
Elizabeth was thanked by her host for the evening Les Pott  on a wonderful talk.
He said as the father of adopted twins he found it extremely moving. 
Thank you to everyone for being so welcoming and for your donation to our work.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Just strolling

As our children are having a break from school, Holiday Club is in full swing at the Happy House.
Our kids, plus those day pupils coming in to join them, are having lots of fun activities to keep them busy.
Yesterday, everyone was excited to be going on a nature walk learning from their teachers about the natural wonders on their doorstep.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Kind baggers bring us £254

 A team of young people from  the the Wyre area of Lancashire have raised £254 with a bag pack at Tesco, Cleveleys.
They are all taking part in the YMCA-run National Citizen Service programme which is aimed to help 16-17 year olds and focuses on personal and social development and includes challenging activities from away-from-home residential experiences to a self-designed social action project. 
The Government-funded programme involves a wide range of activities which in this group's case included kayaking, abseiling, rock climbing, raft building, walking and rescue skills in the Lake District.
A second week, based at Rossall school, was centred on developing other life skills, including budgeting, and volunteering when they took part in a beach clean and organised the bag pack.
The group's team leader is Sophie Morris (pictured holding the collection bucket) who introduced the group to our family. She hopes to volunteer with us in the future.
They plans to present the cheque to Mama and Elizabeth at a gig they are organising for Cancer Research UK as the social action part of the programme.
Thank you to everyone for working so hard packing groceries and to the generous shoppers who donated.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Now Mama's got two wheels!

Lucky Mama... the Happy House is the owner of a brand new motorcycle.
Volunteer Frankie Asher has very kindly bought it as a gift for Mama as post-op tonic, not that she's thinking of driving it or even riding pillion, as an additional means of of transport.
He'll be using it to get to and from the Happy House in the three months he is helping our family, but he has bought it for and registered it to the family and how very useful it will be.
The bike (and helmet) will be used by staff licensed to ride it, on short journeys to suppliers, to get to meetings etc.
 It will save money in fuel and free up  our four-wheeled vehicles for other essential journeys. A huge asset indeed.
Mama was absolutely thrilled with Frankie's thoughtfulness and is delighted to be a biker girl!
Thank you Frankie for your generosity and thoughtfulness.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Three weddings and a VERY happy Happy House

Our very good friend Chris Franklin from Devizes is a popular choice as wedding photographer.
He supports all the activities of the big day, and works hard to ensure all runs smoothly for the benefit of the bride and groom.
" After all, it is their day!" he says.
Chris takes on weddings in return for a donation to our Happy House which he has supported for many years.
He is in the sponsor family of Harrison and enjoys sharing updates on this special little boy with the happy couples.
 As a wedding photographer, Chris, who is also our webmaster, is well known for his quirky comments, managing the event, working with the bride and groom and even bringing along his mascot Chuck the Duck to meet them.
He is supported in his wedding work by his wife Helie. She helps Chris with arranging groups, ensuring dresses are picture perfect and taking ‘paparazzi’ style photos to add to the album.
Chris says “I have been known to take “one more photo just in case”, and often end up giving the couple 1,000 plus photos. We combine the posed shots with the candid and create a documentary style photo shoot.
" It's a pleasure to be part of the big day and to  know the children at the Happy House will benefit from the donations we get for taking the wedding photos”
Chris and Helie have recently photographed three weddings in exchange for Happy House donations.

 Paul and Ellie
Pau and Ellie married at the lovely location of the Cotswold Water Park Hotel in South Gloucestershire. A warm and sunny day made this a great location where they and their guests and could enjoy the beautiful backdrop of lakes. The couple also got to meet Chris’ mascot Chuck!    The couple are keen to find out more about the Happy House and would like to visit one day. On donating the money Paul said  "We hope this helps support the fantastic work going on - Good Luck".

The second wedding - Katie & Newlands
A perfect summer's day greeted Newlands and Katie for their special day. Maid of honour, sister Amy, had arranged a surprise for the bride, groom and father. A carriage pulled by two white horses arrived before the ceremony at the Bear Hotel, Devizes.
Katie and her father Mark were taken out for a carriage ride around the town of Devizes as local people waved and cheered them on.
The ceremony and reception took place in the Bear Hotel. Newlyweds Katie and Newlands were waved off by family and friends as they too had a carriage ride around the town as they sipped champagne.
Chris said  “It was a great day did and I was pleased to  meet the bride's Uncle, Phil Evans who by chance visited the Happy House in June, certainly is a small world”

Amy and Mark
Amy and Mark chose the church of the Immaculate Conception, Devizes, for their wedding on a lovely August day. The sun shone as everyone arrived. Amy posed happily in her mother’s garden enjoying the sunshine, before leaving for church for a touching ceremony with family member Father Vincent leading proceedings.
The weather changed just as the church service ended. The  heavy rain did not dampen their spirits with lots of *smiles* and, of course, photos. Amy and Mark lefttyhe church, leading the way to Norton St Philip where the reception was held in Tipi tents. A dramatic setting which everyone enjoyed.
Amy and Mark, both teachers, were keen to support the Happy House and to sponsor a child in Kenya who could then have an education.
Helie said “I was lucky to take photos of the bride at her house and she did not stop smiling for the whole day.  I was pleased to be able to do my bit to help raise money. An amazing day and we all raised our glasses to all the children at the Happy House”

Monday, 12 August 2013

Post a pullover, please!

School uniform gives a sense of pride
It's mid-school holidays, and everywhere we look there are adverts for school uniform at bargain prices.
It's an expensive time for parents, so just think of Mama with more than 60 children needing new uniform!
We employ Sifa, a local tailor, to make our children's shirts, dresses, shirts and shorts - so it is jumpers (which are needed on cooler days)  and ankle socks (white fir girls, black for boys) that we have to buy.
And right now,  top of our shopping list are school V-neck jumpers in our uniform colour, bright red for both our girls and boys, and socks (black and white).

We know there are many of you who like to know what is needed, so that you can help us to get it. And both Asda and Matalan (pic right) have bright red jumpers in stock in their school uniform ranges at the moment.
So if you would like to help us build up a store, we would be so grateful. Any size from age 3 to 16 would come in for one of our children.
It shouldn't cost too much to post a jumper direct to the Happy House either - the address is Sue Hayward's Happy House, PO Box 796, Watamu, Kenya,  East Africa.
Thank you.
The links for the jumpers that would be just the job are: Asda (from £3)                :,default,pd.html
Matalan (£4-£7) 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Eager readers ... by Jane

Salama picks a book
Hello I  am Jane ,
I am writing the blog  about the library
Every Sunday we are going to library and read the story books
Teacher  Catherine taught us about the library things  we enjoy  to read... the story books
We love the library club because  is teaching us to be a good readers in the world
In the library we learn how to write and retell stories.
If you want to be a good reader you must now how  to read.
In Happy  House when you read six story books you will be given a reader bug badge and certificate.
In the Happy  House we learn how to use a library.
And we learn how to start with Title and the Characters .Title is the name of a book,
My picture is of Salama in the library.
Good wishes from Jane Juma in the Happy House,         

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Our bouncing babies!

Here's lookin' at you! Athman
Bouncing babies!
The two youngest members of our family, Athman and Neema, are pictures of health and testimony to our Happy House magic at work.
Nourishment and nurture plus lots of love, has given these two little ones a real chance in life.
Tragically, both children will never know their mothers.They died in childbirth - a scenario all too common in Africa.
Athman, born prematurely was three weeks old and weighed just 1.5k g, when he came to our family at the end of March with his brother Abu and sister Sudi.
His grandmum struggling bring up the  three little ones, was feeding him all she could afford -cow's milk diluted with water. He had constant diarrhoea. Fearing for her precious grandchild she called for help and Uncle Billy, our social worker, was contacted... Now this adorable little boy is doing well, growing all the time and tipping the scales at almost 5kg. He looks round when called by name and follows the movements of all those around him with interest.
The chuckles when tickled and pulls the some adorably cheeky faces.
Athman is in good health and loves company and cuddles - something he is never short of with so many brothers and sisters around and willing to oblige!
Baby Neema, too, is all smiles. She is bright as a button and playful and enjoys being with the other little ones in the baby banda.
Neema's mum died shortly after giving birth in January. Her father was trying to care for he and her three elder sisters, enlisting help where he could.  But looking after such a small baby became impossible for him whilst trying to earn a living to support all his children and Neema was placed in our care, giving him a chance to reorganise his life.
Sitting pretty: Neema
Neema now weighs a healthy 6kg, is able to sit upright without support and loves playing with toys, treating every day as a new adventure!
Both Athman’s grandmum and Neema’s dad have been to visit and are overjoyed to see the babies they love doing so well. 
*The safe arrival in hospital of Britain's new royal baby, Prince George, highlights the difference between the developed and the developing world.
For the majority of Western mums-to-be, the months leading up to the birth of a baby are full of scheduled antenatal appointments, classes and ultrasounds. The nine months of waiting are crammed full of information on how best to care for the growing life, which continues  when the baby arrives with postnatal care being an essential part of a midwife's role.
For many women in the Africa, poverty  and a lack of information and health education means they just don't know about the importance of antenatal and postnatal checks, or the value of giving birth at a health centre or hospital and too many mothers' and (or) babies die.