Monday, 30 September 2013

Welcome for baby Joy

 The children gathered, dressed in their best, to welcome the newest member of our family.
New parents, Auntie Rose, our much-loved administrator,  and her husband,  Fred, were bringing their baby Joy  “home”  to meet her extended family where her  74  Happy House brothers and sisters were eagerly waiting to greet her.
 Auntie Rose means so much to Mama, Papa and our family and Joy's safe arrival was cause of much celebration. Now the kids were going to catch their first glimpse of her.
 No sooner had the car pulled up and the door opened, than Auntie Rose handed her precious bundle to Janet to take her to see the family.

Janet, like all our kids, had no worries about taking charge of such a tiny baby. It comes naturally in a family as big as our own.
The children were delighted by the beautiful baby, and to be back together on Happy House land was an emotional moment for Mama and Rose, who were both in tears as they hugged each other.
Auntie Rose has been a huge support to Mama over the months she was away, and Mama to her. They are as close as any mother and daughter.
There were songs to welcome Joy,  and a few games, organised by the children, plus cake and squash.

Two-week old Joy slept through most of it, but there is no doubt that it was a very special day for her very proud parents and for our family too.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Mama is back home, by Shakila

It is two weeks since Mama and Papa arrived home and how happy everyone is to have them back - the trip to Mombasa to greet them was a day of magical memories for our kids. Guest blogger Shakila writes:   It was Saturday morning and we were ready to go to Mombasa Airport, so a very big bus came with Gede Boys School written on it.
As we were arriving were very happy. 
Mama and Esther
After we were alighting the bus we waited for some minutes and we saw Mama and Papa and Auntie Libby and everybody was happy. When we were coming back home everybody was singing because we were happy that Mama and Papa have come home. 
As we were taking our lunch we called the driver to come and eat. We ate, we drank and we celebrated.
 We thank God for the lovely day he has given to us. 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Saumu is six

Is it my happy birthday? Saumu Safari is six and celebating her 
her birthday for only the second time in her  life.
Last year, the concept of a birthday was pretty much lost on her and while she enjoyed her gifts, she really didn't quite understand what a birthday was about.
But now,  after helping her Happy House brothers and sisters celebrate so many birthdays , Saumu was looking forward to her special day with her gifts and card presented to her by Papa at Kidz Club when everyone joined in the birthday song.
Saumu opened her treats from her special friends Myra Boyle, Susan James and  Philip and Karn Ramsden.
Thank you all for making this such a special birthay for your little girl
New on our wishlist
Auntie Prischa, our head housemum looks after all our stores and tells me we are right out of croc-type shoes for our older kids (aged 8-16), and badly need black lead pencils and 96-page exercise books. If you would like to send a parcel of a few items the address: Sue Hayward's Happy House, PO Box 796, Watamu, Kenya, East Africa. We have so many kind friends who like to know what is at the top of our "most wanted" list. Thank you for your continuing love and generosity. Please don't forget to include your email address in your parcel so that we can say thank you!!

Friday, 27 September 2013

A tall order for Pauline

Scaling the heights of Blackpool’s Big One is the tall order Pauline Royle has set herself.
Retired teacher Pauline, from Carleton, near Blackpool, has been motivated to climb 420 steps to the 235ft summit of Britain’s tallest rollercoaster by the 74 vulnerable children who are being given a home and hope our Happy House.
Pauline, said:” I started sponsoring Jane at the beginning of this year. I am just finding out about her and what she is like – a very clever young lady.
“She likes dancing and seems to have a real twinkle in her eye. 
Elizabeth , the charity’s volunteer UK coordinator, knows the children so well and her enthusiasm is infectious. In my family there are far more boys than girls, so Jane redresses the balance a bit!”
Pauline is hoping to raise £500 from walking the Big One on Friday, October 11. “I have tried to do something scary every now and again – I think it is good for the soul to be challenged/
 “It involves walking up 420 steps to a height of 235 feet, with five other people. I think it is the first time I went on the Big One (as a passenger) as we trundled up I thought ‘Oh, this isn’t so bad’ – that was before the whoosh down.
“I have a nasty feeling walking down may be more difficult than walking up.''
Pauline is determined to complete her challenge. “When I really decide to do something I do it and it would be very difficult to lose face now so many people know. So the more people who sponsor me the more it will help and I can’t let down the Happy House – anyway I don’t know how I’d give all the money back!”
View from the top of the Big One
 She was inspired to help  after hearing a talk by Dr Steve Cushing who completed the world’s toughest marathon, the Marathon des Sables, for the charity founded by former Blackpool hotelier Sue Hayward.
“ After looking it up on the website, what Sue has managed to do has fascinated and amazed me. 
“ Then reading the daily blog about the daily happenings and costs involved made me want to help.
“I have found out that being a sponsor is more than just opening a standing order. It is being able to get to know the child and have real interaction with them, writing letters and emails, getting their school reports, seeing photographs. I think the memory box idea is just wonderful and also being able to add a little to their bank accounts for their future/
“Sponsoring Jane has brought me more than I could have dreamt in so many different ways. A wonderfully, warm welcoming organisation; new friends through the other people in Jane’s sponsor family and an opportunity to go shopping! It’s amazing what bargains can be found in the shops when the size doesn’t matter – it will fit someone. Also it has made me realise how lucky we are in this country, especially with education and NHS. I can knock the last one with the best of them, but reading about the medical costs in the blog has made me realise how lucky we are in this country being able on the whole to get treatment free of charge at point of need.
“But the BIG thing about the Happy House is that all the money goes to meet the children’s needs, not into big fancy premises in the centre of London and director’s pay. I have really wanted to be able to raise some money for the future plans, so ‘Making Room for Another One’ seemed to be just the ticket.
“It was getting an idea about what to do that was hard. I also want to support the Independent Living project, another of my hobby horses,  that “looked after” children in this country seem to be largely on their own after 16, when we wouldn’t dream of abandoning our own children at this age. So Sue’s dream for a halfway house for her children ticks the box for me.''
You can sponsor Pauline via her Just Giving web page  or text giving account HHPR73 followed by amount to be donated to 70070.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Happy House leads the field

To make her Happy House a flagship for the way children in care can, and should, be looked after and educated has been Mama Sue's aim right from the very start.
She has always refused to accept second best and the result is that everything we do is to the highest standard.
The Happy House is now  receiving recognition for the standards it is setting in some very high places!
 Uncle Billy was invited for an urgent meeting at the Child Protection Centre called to familiarise the Secretary of Children's Affairs, Lydia Muiru, with the work being done in the region.
As the Government's  most senior minister for children, she is an extremely important and influential woman and it is to her that the National Director for Child Protection is accountable.
The meeting was opened by Paul Kisavi, Kilifi County Coordinator who welcomed the Ms Muiru, the National Director and thanked the representatives of children's hoems attending for taking care of children in need.
When the District Children's Officer,Eric Mugaisi, was asked to give an overview of the homes in his district and singled out the Happy House for taki, and one other, for taking the right path, and the leading the way. 
"The hailed Mama Sue for egaging with him and his office about her plans even before the first brick was laid," reports Uncle Billy.
In her address, the Secretary for Children's Affairs pledged to visit the Happy House to see for herself the good work beiung done. She expressed her thanks to the Happy House, and the other children's home, for being the best in the way they were delivering their services to children. She urged others to follow their lead.
Uncle Billy said that as the newly elected Government is planning to give grants to children's homes, and that Kilifi County in line for the lion's share, it was likely that the Happy House may get some of the stipend from the Ministry.
"It is clear that Mama's dream of propelling the Happy House to be a model facility for child care will soon be fulfilled,"  said Uncle Billy.
"As we have registered with the Association of Charitable Children's Institutions of Kenya, now she is home Mama  will be able to take part in forums which will effortlessly give her a leading role.
"Some of the benefits of the Association was my recent exchange tour to Nairobi.
"Kudos Mama for a job well done."

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Polio outbreak sparks intensive campaign

An emergency campaign to deliver oral anti-polio vaccine to every child under five is in progress in the coastal region around Watamu, as Kenya health authorities try to contain an outbreak of polio.
Although the country has been considered polio-free for several years, an outbreak in refugee camps near the border with Somalia, 400k from here, has sparked an immediate and intensive reaction.
.As so many  refugees migrate to this coast, around Malindi and Watamu, looking for work, an emergency four-day campaign to administer anti-polio vaccine to the most  vulnerable sector, the under-fives, has swung into action.
Workers from the department of health have the huge task of delivering it.
The Happy House was one of the first places those working this district called, and all our under fives gathered in the small banda to take their turn, without a single protest.
Good as gold they waitied to receive drops of vaccine , before going back to play. 
The two health workers then left to move on to other children in the community.
Their job is far from easy, they are tasked to find  all under fives, which involves foot-slogging from door to door  in places where so many homes are off the beaten track and difficult to locate, to ensure no child is missed. They cannot rely on the media or schools to spread the news as there are many, many people, who have no access to TV, radio or newspapers and whose children do not attend school.
  Eradicating polio, which has such devastating and disabling effects on its victims, is   a global health challenge and our many friends in Rotary International have as a key objective of their own organisation too.
The immediate action by the Kenyan Government and Unicef to keep this outbreak contained is to be applauded and we are the Happy House were delighted to play our part.
*All our children are subject to a full immunization programme.The Under Fives are singled out for this campaign as they may not be yet fully protected.
Health a priority
Health at the Happy House is always on the agenda. On Monday, Uncle Billy and Auntie Libby took Peter, Paul and Samson to the clinic. Paul has a nasty skin infection around is right ear, and being identical twins, who like to do everything the same, Peter was showing early signs of having it too. They also have coughs and runny noses.
The doctor prescribed antibiotics - cream and orally- and Samson, after  being examined and tested for malaria (which proved negative)  was prescribed medicine to get him well again.
One question the doctor always asks of us is when a child has last been wormed. Infestations of intestinal worms are commonplace here.
We have our own deworming programme, and every child receives deworming medicine every three months which is successful in keep them away and providing basic good health.
The government dispensaries do provide free deworming medicine, but Uncle Billy said the wait to reach the top of the list makes it impractical for us to take advantage of it.
 Instead we choose to pay for this most basic of tools to give maintain our children's health.
Seeing how so many people suffer here, because they cannot afford to see a doctor or to buy medicine, is to witness the stark reality of poverty.
It costs lives.
Those of us who live in the UK or other  countries where healthcare is free, really don’t know how lucky we are.
We should all count our blessings.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Fab Friends celebration raises £420

All our Happy House friends are fabulous … but  we do, actually, have some who are officially Fab Friends.
Ali Soleil’s Fab Friends Network are in Maria’s sponsor family and when they held a day of celebration at Mal Maison Hotel, Birmingham,  Ali chose the Happy House as their charity, benefiting from apart of ticket sales, plus having  our good friend Lynn Baya Thoya, as a guest speaker.
Lynn, who is a Happy House volunteer, was thrilled to be a part a day of inspiration, friendship, fun, laughter and emotion which resulted in a donation of £420 and two new sponsors.
After showing our latest video, Lynn spoke about the way the Happy House has touched her own life and how she has seen the transformations worked on vulnerable children through the wonderful work of Mama Sue and her team at the Happy House.  She also spoke of how she had experienced Happy House Magic which weaves it's way around  around all those who live there or go to visit.
The day brought us two new friends who are to join our family of sponsors - guest speaker Carly Hope (there with her very beautiful baby daughter Rosa ) and Fab Friend member Susan Mahoy.
A wonderful raffle was held with many generous prizes donated from Fab Friends members and the guest speakers, plus for a donation of £5 in an honesty box people were able to put their business cards or fliers into the goodie bags given to each lady at the end of the day....... Happy House recyclable "Bags for love" were also on sale,
 Another gift the ladies left with was a pink feather boa, they had made use this by being taken through an empowering routine under the expert tuition of Burlesque Legend Jo King the founder of the London School of Burlesque. A fun, laughter filled way to end a such Fabulous Day.
A big thank you to Ali for choosing to raise money for the Happy House, to Lynn for speaking, and everyone involved in making it such a success. 
Pictures (Top right) Jo King, Carly Hope, Ali Soleil, Lynn ,Nicki Vee Tony Vee & Dawn Petherick
Above left: Ali with a picture of Maria.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Papa Dave's special day

 Papa’s 70th birthday had been on hold since April.  At that time Mama was in hospital with a very serious hip infection and instead of being here in Kenya, celebrating with their kids,  they were supporting each other through a dark, difficult and painful time.
On Saturday, five months later, Papa had his party – a joint celebration to mark both his birthday and Mama and Papa’s homecoming – all organised by the children.
With Margaret and Musyoka as very competent masters of ceremonies, it ran like clockwork – with every child knowing what to do and when!
Mama wanted it to be Papa’s day.  He is, truly, the wind beneath her wings. 
When she started to talk about what a support he had been to her through some of the worst times of their lives together, she broke down in tears.
 “We cried,we laughed and we loved our way through it,” she said.
The children were delighted when Uncle Billy announced that Papa was top receive a Medal of Honour and read, and explained , the accompanying  citation:
Name:  David Hayward  ( also known as Mr Leeds United)
Rank:  Papa
Entered service at:  Happy House, Watamu, Kenya ,2010 (and in 2000 to Children of Watamu)
Citation:  This medal is awarded for extraordinary heroism, gallantry and selfless devotion shown in the line of duty as husband and soulmate to Mama Sue and as Papa to the Happy House family,  during a period of  exile from March 2012 to September 2013.
Without thought to himself, he has done everything he could to look after and care for Mama Sue. Nothing has been more important than her comfort and wellbeing.While Mama has been recovering from illness, Papa has done all the shopping, cooking, washing, ironing and cleaning. He has been there for her every minute of every day.
He has made her laugh when she’s been sad, and brought light into her life at times of darkness.
Although, like Mama, so homesick for their wonderful Happy House family, Papa has lifted Mama’s spirits and encouraged her every step of the very long road which has brought them, now, to the only place they want to be:
Home at their beloved Happy House family.
David Hayward snr, Mr Leeds United, Papa Dave you are … SIMPLY  THE  BEST  
Everyone was excited as Mama presented Papa with his medal. Cheering and applauding the Papa they love every bit as much as Mama does.
Thrilled to bits, and emotional himself, Papa spoke of Mama’s courage and urged everyone to help him by helping her, and, if they thought she was doing too much, to remind her “pole, pole”, slowly, slowly.
No birthday is complete without cake, and a big birthday cake was brought out for Papa to cut  - into around 100 pieces!
Mama and Papa treated the family to hot dogs and ketchup, and there were lots of games including musical chairs, children’s and adult dancing competitions, balloon bursting, biscuit eating (Linus won!!) and Papa introduced apple bobbing!

It was something no one had ever seen before, and Papa, demonstrating, did the perfect bob – plucking out an apple at first attempt. All those big enough were eager to have a go, with an apple their prize. Those too small, all got any apple anyway.
After the party, Papa confided:“That was the first time I’d ever done that”. 
 A surprised Mama asked “Why?”
“Because I was never chosen to be in the team,” said Papa.
That will never happen to a Happy House child.
The party was wonderful, there were gifts chosen by the children for Mama Papa and Auntie Libby, and a special gift for Mama presented by Linus and Neema–  a plaque with the words “Love conquers all.” 
In Mama and Papa’s marriage, the love story to end all love stories, and at the Happy House nothing could be more true. 

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A football ambition - by Sifa

Sifa is our guest blogger today, and he shares with us his sporting dreams and hopes.
"This is a  blog about the game I like to play
My favourite game is football I like it because I like playing it with my brothers. Football  is exercise and there are many people who like playing it.
Football it can make you earn many money. Like the players that are in  Manchester United.
Sports makes your body to be strong and health. That’s why I like playing football because it makes my body to be strong. I like football and when I finish school I want to be a player. I will play for different teams and I will be a good player in the world like the other players who are playing now.
The number that I like to play is number ten
That is the number that I like to play most.
 I will be a good player, the most good player in the world."

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Busy times

 It’s been full-on  at the Happy House since Mama and Papa returned.
The speed of everything moves up a notch, as Mama multi-tasks with the business acumen and entrepreneurial talents that have made the charity she founded work so well, and her Happy House happen.
However much work she has on, she is never too busy to greet a visitor, to listen to a member of staff who needs to talk, or to a child who has a secret to share.
Mama is a driving force, the fact that she has, just for the moment to use crutches to get about, is a constant irritation and frustration to her. They slow her up physically, but in every other way Mama is as quick and quicker than ever.
The path has started around our new banda which is being funded  by the generosity of Steve and Cherith Cushing,
Volunteer, Uncle Frankie’s football pitch and playingfield is coming on apace.  It’s going to be an incredible asset to our family, to our school and to neighbouring schools and children’s homes.
We have so many plans for the future and Mama has wasted no time in gathering facts and figures so that we can get our fundraising right. And to ensure that we get the very best value for moeny.
Pendo and Fatuma
Mama greets Marina Temperato
Meanwhile,family life carries on as normal. Trips to the clinic for kids who fall sick,  twin Pendo and Fatuma, on Wednesday. They  are now as right as the rain falling this Friday, every drop helping Uncle Frankie’s grass to grow!
The tailor pops in to measure the kids who need new school uniform,.School shoes,which are repaired until they can be repaired no longer, are collected from the shoemaker as Uncle Billy is passing visitors come and go,  school is a hive of activity and the house is never still.
There is always someone waiting to see Mama.
After school the kids are back in their old routine of popping into her office, chattering away. Linus is always the first.
Today, seeing Mama has someone with her, he came to my side and tugged at my arm. 
Looking towards her office, he just asked “Yes?" I nodded back, off he went to claim his cuddle.
The Happy House is a huge operation. It is a , home that has to be run as a business.
 We owe it to every single person who sponsors a child, who makes a donation, or puts a coin in a collection tin, to spend their money wisely. 
Papa, Sifa and Hassan
It is a job that Mama and all her staff take seriously.
As director, Mama Sue's task is immense
But first and foremost, the  Happy House is the family she has created and being its Mama is the most precious job in the world to Sue, who has her Dave, walking alongside her every minute of every day.
He is her significant other, her husband of 44 years, the love of her life, and our family's beloved Papa Dave.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Thank you x three

A big thank you to everyone who has responded to our appeal for red school jumpers.
We always try to say thank you by email, but sometimes we may not have an address - so try to send our thank you another way.
And this picture is for Kathryn Dodgson of Thornton, Lancashire.  Uncle Billy wants you to know your parcel of school jumpers, plus pack of black and white ankle socks, has arrived safely.
Posing for the picture was a tonic for this trio, Fatuma, Suleiman and Hope - they were just waiting to go to the local clinic to be treated for various minor ailments!
Thank you Kathryn for your kindness, it is very much appreciated.
Carly, Shirley, Mama, Papa and Diane
Thanks again... And while we are saying thank you, this lovely picture of Mama was taken when she went to have her hair done at Shirley's Second Image in Beach Road, Cleveleys, before setting off with Papa for their  break in the Isle of Wight.
Shirley Dawson, who is in Maria's sponsor family, has been a huge support to Mama during her enforced prolonged stay in the UK.
Shirley has a very special way of boosting the morale of all her clients, who are regarded more friends than clients, and her salon and staff are just the kindest people in the world.
Thank you Shirley, Carly and Diane for being so fantastic and for sending Mama off looking and feeling great.
and again...
Thank you to Jill and Mick Armstrong for adding a donation of £75 to the mnedical fund they set up to help our family  and contribute to.  Jill won some of the money in a raffle at work and they made it up to £75, which also brings another £18.75 in Gift Aid. Jill and Mick made a special trip to Blackpool recently to wish Mama and Papa a safe trip home.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The time to be happy is now

The children raised the roof when, Mama opened Kids Club as she always has, with the question:
Happy House Kids, Happy House Kids, Are you happy?
There was no doubting their answer. They were beyond happy. Mama and Papa are back and although over the months they have been away, all has run just as she would have wanted, there was something missing.
Kidz Club has taken place every week, Mama and Papa appearing via Skype,the family has kept it enthusiastic and fun, but this week it had its old vibrancy back.
There were more songs, and they were delivered with more gusto, and more laughs, many more laughs.
And three special visitors were asked for their own musical input as Mama invited, each one in turn to lead a song.
Eric Mugaisi, District Children’s Officer, and two Nairobi-based officials from the global charity champoning chilren's rights, Unicef, Catherine Kimotho and Stephen Malai,  on a fact-finding courtesy call, had already had a meeting with Mama and our social worker, Uncle Billy.
It was lucky they were still here when Kidz Club had assembled. First on the hotspot was Mr Eric, who got everyone joining in a favourite hymn, then came Madam Catherine who embracing the Girl Power ethos put together a backing group and they led a really rousing anthem, lastly a rather more shy Mr Stephen found himself in the limelight, but he too lived up the kids expectations of another good sing song.
We know for certain these visitors, will not forget this day!
Mama had look forward to this day for months, Papa too, now it was really here, really happening, and their faces radiated the happiness brimming over from their hearts.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Our Pirate Professor

To everyone in school our Stevie is “the professor”.
He is the only child with glasses and looks every inch the intellectual.
When, a few weeks ago, the eye specialist confirmed our suspicions that Stevie, four next month, not only needed eye patches to help correct a squint, but also spectacles to improve his vision deputy head, Madam Rose, explained to all the children that Stevie would be wearing glasses, they were not a toy and they should be careful of them.
She also told them they were a very cool thing to wear.
By making him feel special, Stevie has taken to them so easily and his teacher, Madam Tanui, says his work in school has vastly improved.
The pink patches, which he wears for several hours each morning, are all we could get here and they are not so cool. 
But now after a special delivery from the UK he’s got pirate patches.
Pauline Royle, from Carleton, near Blackpool, read about Stevie on the blog, and about the cost to our family of buying patches, and set about finding some that were just as cool, if not cooler, than his glasses.
Auntie Libby brought them out with her and now Stevie has is wearing them … everyone else wants them too!
Thank you Pauline for sending these lovely patches …. it’s plain sailing for our Pirate Professor from now on!