Saturday, 30 November 2013

Tanked up for longest night marathon

A Birmingham businessman has set himself a driving challenge – motoring the length of Great Britain in the hours of darkness on one tank of fuel!
And Jonathan Heeley,41, is going the  875-mile distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats in support of our Happy house family.
Jonathan,  driving instructor and corporate driver trainer and  MD of SMART Driving Solutions,  said: “The challenge is to take a company car from Land’s End to John O’Groats overnight on one tank of fuel on December 21 - the longest night.
“This year it also falls on a Saturday, which means we will be able to avoid any rush hour traffic, which gives us a better chance of making it. My aim is to demonstrate that you can get the published MPG figures from your car. The company trains drivers of company vehicles to be safer and more fuel efficient. This can help companies cut costs and reduce their carbon footprint .
“I’ll be driving a 2011 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.6D. It’s maybe not the most obvious choice for such a challenge, but it is fairly typical and average car. We aim to prove that the quoted MPG figures are achievable, and that it is down to the way that a car is driven that has the biggest impact on fuel consumptions”
Jonathan added: “The biggest potential hurdle will be the weather. We are travelling from a remote area to a very remote area at a time of year when snow won’t be out of the question. Driving at night is more tiring. The human body is designed to go to sleep when it goes dark. The hardest time will be between 12.00 and 06.00, but the worst time to try and stay awake will be between 03.00 and 05.00. For this reason I will be taking a 15 minute break every two hours, handing over to a co-driver, as we recommend people do when they receive our training.
Jonathan is delighted to be helping the Happy House, 
“I heard about Happy House through a friend. He dedicated his 10 minute presentation at our local business networking group, BNI Elite, Sutton Coldfield, to promoting your charity. He showed a very moving video.I had just asked for a charity to support in my 60 second presentation for this run, so it just fell into place like that. 
“I would like to raise £1,000.  I am hoping people to sponsor me 1p per mile that we manage to cover before dawn, so that’s £8.38, plus a bonus of £1.62 if we make it. Which makes a nice round tenner and they can do it online at Justgiving:  

Friday, 29 November 2013

A gift of trees

A party of VIP guests brought a gift of 30 trees when they came to visit our family.
The visitors , all of whom work in child protection or children's services, are so impressed with the work of the Happy House that they wanted to show their support.
They planted around 30 casuarina trees in our grounds as a practical gesture of their support, and we are very grateful to them for their efforts.
Pictured with Mama and Papa are : Naomi Kazungu Child Protection Centre (MLD) Manager (third from left);  Kibibi Masoud Children’s Remand (MLD);  Harrison Ng’ang’a , National Council for Children Services- NBI and Paul Kisavi,  County Co-ordinator Children Services Kilifi.
Mama, Papa and Uncle Billy were delighted to welcome them and Papa  and the kids were happy to help with the planting.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

A growing venture ... for our kids

 Inspiring our children to become business men and women of the future, Mama has given the Happy House Young Farmers a chance to cultivate their own enterprise by growing and selling produce.
Seeing just how much they love gardening, Mama invite the key members  to a meeting where she explained her proposal to them.
One of the seven "greenhouse" tunnels would be handed over to them where they could plant and raise their own crops to sell locally, they would have their own Post Office saving account and when they had raised enough money could use it to go on a trip.
Mama explained how they would have to run their business properly, by keep records and accounts and, as an incentive,  said she would match any earnings they made.
Papa and our head gardener, Uncle Telvin, would be on hand to give them practical help and advice on their crops.
The kids were bowled over by the idea. Mama invited Damian Davies, general manager of Turtle Bay Hotel to look round the Happy House to see how it has developed since he was last there, told him of her plan.
Damian, keen to promote young enterprise, arranged to set up a meeting at the hotel with his purchasing manager, Maxwell.  The kids, all very smartly turned out and well prepared with their questions, went with Mama and Papa to meet him to ask whether he would buy their produce, what he would buy and how they should go about it.
Maxwell gave them a real insight to what hotels look for when purchasing produce and stressed they would only accept the highest quality.
He was so impressed by their mature and intelligent approach he agreed to buy any tomatoes, sweet melons and other crops  that they could produce at the going rate - provided they could deliver to his exacting quality standards.
He said it was the first time he had ever had an approach like this and thought it was a brilliant venture for our young people.
The Young Farmers went back to the Happy House fired up to start their own business and the greenhouse is now planted and their seedlings are being carefully nurtured and everyone is excitedly looking forward to their first harvest and sales!
Pictures: Top: Purchasing manager Maxwell with Firkiri and Mercy.  Group picture: seated: Janet, Mama, Sifa, Mariam, Maxwell, Fikiri, standing: Samson, Evans, Papa, Margaret, Maria, Jane, Mercy and Oscar. Above left: Mama with Turtle Bay general manager Damian Davies at the Happy House;  right: business meeting in progress.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Our family grows

A happy life beckons to every child who joins our family. Two children, from tragic backgrounds, are the latest members to be taken under our wing and their sadness is being replaced by smiles as the Happy House works its magic on their young lives.
Two year old Ricky was brought to us by his terminally ill mum who, with nobody else to turn to, wanted to be sure that he had a secure future,
As her health is deteriorating Ricky's mum has been struggling to maintain even the most basic living and on bad days she and Ricky had been going to bed hungry.
Uncle Billy said: " This made her feel so inadequate and she wanted  to secure Ricky’s future in case of her incapacitation.
'' Ricky is now in baby class and well settled.''
Mama Sue said it was so difficult for the mum to leave her little boy and it was a very emotional parting, but she was determined to do the best by her child.
Mercy, aged eight, has come to us for care and protection after the breakdown of her family which left her vulnerable. She has been through so much but has soon become one of the girls and is enjoying life in her new home.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Together again

Our family sometimes provides shelter in a storm for families going through a difficult time.
This has been the case for the families of Manuela and baby Leah. 
Ten-year-old Manuela , who was living with her widowed dad, came to us in October when there was a crisis in the family situation.
It has taken weeks to sort out but now they are together again.
Uncle Billy says: It has been a traumatic seven weeks for them both but all's well that ends well.

 "Manuela was reunited with her father in a very emotional ceremony. 
"Another major step was made for baby Leah who came to the stability of our family after her mum died in childbirth.
"Her  dad and her family are over the grieving period and can now look after her, loving and caring for her.
"As always the Happy House likes to be the bridge over troubled waters and this is tangible proof.
"Both families are full of praise  and  thanks to be to  Mama and Papa for the love, care ,support and encouragement they have received ."
Easy way of fundraising
Doing your Christmas shopping with Amazon, Tesco, Sainsbury’s M&S , Argos or many other big stores? You can raise money for our Happy House whenever you shop with them and 3000 other stores by using the  fundraising website, easyfundraising.
 It won’t cost you a penny more and everything you buy will raise money in the form of a donation from the trader you are shopping with. 
So please  help us by shopping via this link
One of our friends who is doing her shopping this way says: "Once you have initially signed up, whenever you go to the shopping site there is a bar at the top to click on - it is yellow and turns green when  you have clicked. 
"After that whenever you go to a site that you have previously visited the bar is green and so there is a donation. It does say it can tale 30 days for the donation to come through."

Monday, 25 November 2013

Festive fun on the farm

 Festive family fun saw lots of visitors to Farmer Parr's Animal World on Saturday, when the Fleetwood attraction was also the setting of the Blackpool Gazette's Christmas Bazaar.
And a stall at the fair gave us a chance to to showcase the work of Mama Sue and our charity at the Happy House.
Our UK voluntary coordinator Elizabeth Gomm handed out dozens of our leaflets to visitors with our Seek out a Smile kids tombola bringing them to our stall.
There was a great deal of interest in our family and we hope that it will result in a chance to speak to more local groups on the Fylde coast and several children took leaflets which they were going to take for their teachers.
Elizabeth was very grateful for help from Pauline Royle , and to Janet Simpson and Sandra Foulkes for popping in to see if their help was needed, and to Paul and Andrea Manders for helping her to pack up.
It was a lovely day, with lots of Santa smiles - Santa and his real reindeer and their donkey friends are now in their amazing Christmas grotto at Farmer Parr's in the run up to the big day, meeting children and taking their Christmas orders.They are certainly worth a visit!
The event for us was about raising awareness, not money, but we came away with £51.
Thank you to everyone who had a go at our tombola, including the two children pictured who were very good customers.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Kids club, by Zawadi

Zawadi  and Selina
Today, Zawadi is our Happy House blogger with her story about one of the most important events of the week.
Every Tuesday, when we come home from school we wash and change our clothes and then we go out to play for a few minutes and then we will be called that it is time for Kids Club.
We say a word of prayer and we sing any song that we like. We we have finished we ask who has something to say - auntie, uncle, teacher, who has something to say?
Then we say Happy House Kids do we have any visitors, so we can appreciate them. And then we ask Happy House Kids, do we have a birthday today?
 If it is yes, then we sing for them the Happy Birthday song. It is wonderful.
Thank you very much.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Christmas is a coming ...

Thanks you to everyone who is sending parcels for our children ready for Christmas.
We are just so lucky to have such very good friends, all around the world, who end us so many necessities we just can't get easily in Kenya, plus lovely clothes and gifts for our children.
With so many parcels arriving in the run up to Christmas, it is impossible to send pictures and thanks to everyone. 
You can see from the latest postal delivery, our children are in for a very happy time.
Thank you all from all our family.
And just for information, the last posting date for Christmas parcels sent from the UK by airmail is December 6.
Christmas Bazaar
Elizabeth will be be having a Happy House stall to raise awareness of our work at the Blackpool Gazette's Christmas Bazaar - a family event at Farmer Parrs Animal World, Fleetwood, from 10am today.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Sew far, sew good

Learning new skills is important to all our children and thanks to a very generous donation they'll soon be learning to sew.
We will be able to buy materials needed, bring in someone teach them, as well as getting the sewing machines that we have, but were unable to use because they had parts missing, repaired and serviced.
Mama called in a local repair man who came to the Happy House to work on them.
She hopes that, in time,  any of our kids, girls or boys, who want to try their hand a sewing will be able to learn.
Mama, thrilled with donation, said: " When I went with the kids and bought the material they chose for their new rooms, and the lady at the store gave me a bag full of off cuts that she had been saving for me. I thought I should get these children sewing, then the news of the cheque arrived.
" Then I had a man here who is making me mattress covers and he has made a lovely job of them. Dave saw him later he asked if I was happy with his work, and did we have any machines at Happy House, Dave said yes, he then asked, do you have a teacher? So this all seems meant to be."
Thank you to the lovely lady who has made the possible.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The green, green grass of home

Goodness gracious, we've got grass!
It's been a long time coming, but the grass sown and planted on Uncle Frankie's Happy House Field of Dreams is finally coming good.
When Frankie Asher, who won everyone's hearts in the three months he spent volunteering with our family, left for home in September you could barely see a hint of green on the the wonderful football/sports field he so generously funded and worked so hard to clear, level and plant.
Growing grass is never going to be easy where there is so much sun and not much rain, but it is really doing well.
How rewarding it is for Frankie and for all the kids and staff who helped him, to see it looking so good.. 
And for once Mama is quite happy to let the grass grow under our feet!

Auntie Rose and Joy pop in

Her maternity over, Auntie Rose returns to work on Monday.
With so much happening at the Happy House since baby Joy was born in September, Rose called in for a catch up.
And there was a rousing welcome for both her and her beautiful Joy.
Everyone was delighted to see them after so long, they have been in Nairobi with proud husband and daddy, Fred.
Mama is so pleased she will have her righthand woman and very capable administrator back sharing her office again.
Welcome back home, Auntie Rose.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Making a splash

 Our kids had a splashing time when they went on their annual school trip!
Two large buses, hired for the day, transported 125 children and 12 teachers to Wild Waters Adventure Park , near Mombasa.
The long journey was part of the adventure and the  excited children sang all the way.
Mama and Papa joined the family and day pupils and enjoyed watching as the boys and girls had fun trying out the different pools, sliding down the medium and small slides, floating on the giant inflatable ring and just splashing and playing.
There was something for everyone, and our water babies from the playgroup class just had a whale of a time.
Mama said "The babies all had a lovely time splashing around Our Determined David really had fun.
" All the kids had a brilliant time. We had a lovely lunch of chicken and rice.
" They were then taken up a small hill to the Rain Dance area.
" It was great for them, just  like dancing in the shower! 
"We arrived about 9.30 and left at 3.30 with a lot of very tired happy little people."

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Shoe bank opens!

Shoe model - Musyoka
 It's the last week of term for our children this week and there's a real buzz of excitement as they look forward to the longest school holiday of the year.
And with the new school year starting in January, it brings with it all those costs faced by parents across the world - we just have to times by 74!
The biggest expense  is uniform and  school shoes. Every child will need new shoes, their feet grow so quickly and whilst they are polished every day and repaired when they need it, and handed down where we can, a year is about as long as they will last!
Last year, some of you who are in our sponsor family sent new shoes, but we are aware that postage costs are so steep.
So we have added shoes to our one-off donations on JustGiving, so you can donate £10 to buy shoes online.
We will buy them locally from shoemaker, Francis, so that we will be helping local business at the same time.
He is a good friend to our family and will carries out repairs when needed in his workshop in the village.
If you would like to help your sponsor child, or any other, by donating £10 to our shoe bank you can do so by following this link:
If you are a British taxpayer and can Gift Aid you donation, please do, it means and extra 25 per cent extra from the Government and leave us a message too, if you wish, we love to hear from you!
Thank you, as ever, for always going the extra mile to make a difference to the lives of our very special kids.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Fresh and bright

 With our older kids now in bedrooms upstairs, the downstairs bedrooms, which were looking so tired, are being spruced up.
After three and a half years of constant use, the bedcovers, curtains, sheets and mattresses were just worn out. 
The walls are having a coat of paint, every bed is having a new mattress, new sheets and a new cover, and  matching curtains give the finishing touch they are looking very smart.
The material, bought locally and made up by a local sewing workshop, is a child-friendly black and white animal print.
Our kids take a real pride in their home and are over the moon with their new look rooms.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

My giant pumpkin, by Musyoka

A very proud young farmer, Musyoka, was so happy when he received a packet of pumpkin seed from a member  of his sponsor family, Lynn Baya Thoya,
He planted them in the garden, watered and tended them until he proudly harvested the biggest of the crop, weighing an amazing 11kg.
Musyoka. today's blogger, writes:
Just want to tell you about the seeds Aunty Lynn sent, I went to plant them and they grew and grew until the plant it came a very big pumpkin.
 I had to harvest the big pumpkin and we ate it together and we were happy to eat the pumpkin together
And I still have another one in my shamba (plot) I have just planted more  in my garden and I still want to plant more and more.
After we ate it I took the seeds of the plant so that I can even get more seeds to plant but  just want to say thank you to Aunty Lynn for the seeds.
The  pictures are of  the pumpkin and me, and of me, Sifa and the pumpkin,  and I will always make sure that I harvest one pumpkin from my garden and we shall all be happy when we are eating it
From Musyoka
PS: I need more, please.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

A place of calm to read and to think

 Relocating the library to our new school resource centre in the grounds gave Mama the idea of using the small banda, right next to it, as a quiet area for our children.
In such a busy, all-action family, it can be hard to find somewhere to sit and read or just to sit and think, so a quiet area was much needed.
It was easily and cheaply achieved. Mama bought some wicker furniture, arranged for our tailor to make some cushions, and the reading room was finished.
It's become an immediate hit. With the library right next door, children can easily borrow a book and our librarian, teacher Catherine, is nearby to keep an eye on it.
There are shelves for newspapers which our kids do love to read.
Mama said that one day this week she looked out and one of the boys was sitting , just like a businessman,  catching up on the news.
It's also a place where Mama or Uncle Billy can sit , in a relaxed atmosphere, to have a chat with a child who needs some help or direction..
An oasis of calm in a very lively household!

Friday, 15 November 2013

David the determined

Just one of the boys! Our David shows that with love, effort and determination anything is possible.
It is just two years since Mama was told David had Down's Syndrome.
Worried that he was not developing as he should be and having taken him for all kinds of medical tests which proved negative, Mama and Uncle Billy turned to a  specialist child development centre where, after examining him, they gave their diagnosis
Mama was told he had Down's and  to take him home and to love him. Mama said: "Is that all" and the reply was that there was little else she could do, he was unlikely to amount to much else.
But in our family, if you say something is not possible and we will do all we can to make sure that it is.
Love is never in short supply, nor is determination and focus.
Mama emailed Eliazbeth in the UK who  spent hours talking to the Down's Syndrome Association and researching nformation and advice that could help us to help David to be the best that he can be.
A programme of exercises to stimulate him mentally and physically was devised and undertaken three times as day. The exercises and effort  paid huge dividends for our very special boy. 
He's almost four, walking, trying very hard to talk in sentences and working hard in school.
David is our inspiration. He is a living testimony to our magic at work.
At the Happy House no obstacle is too great to overcome. We have the determination, we have the faith and the courage. If we do not have the knowledge, we will find someone who has.
Our children, like David, are our driving force.
What a child needs to enable them to grow and flourish, to reach their full potential, we will find. Nothing is too much.
Without Mama's own faith and courage, her determination to build her Happy House and change children's lives, where would the vulnerable, disadvantaged kids, like David, be now?
To see him being just "one of the boys" toddling off, after Harry,to school, sitting down to lessons and having fun is the greatest reward in the world.
If you would like to make a donation, knowing that every penny will go directly to supporting our family at the Happy House, please do so now.
We have no middle men, no paid fundraising or publicity machine, so every penny donated  really does change lives.
You can make a donation online by going to:
Our children need you.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Delivering Santa smiles

Flashback to 2012
 Santa's little helpers wasted no time in responding to his appeal for help!
Parcels full of lovely items for our children have started arriving at the Happy House and are being spirited away to Santa's storeroom ready for the big day.
Mama is so delighted,   our Santa has such a job on his hands finding gifts for 78 children that he needs all the help he can get!
Top of his wish list are books - we have so many avid readers that we can never have enough, fact or fiction,  plus dvds, pc games and new summer-weight clothing, bags for our girls etc.
Books, dvds and pc games are great because both the child who receives one as a gift and their brothers and sisters all get to enjoy them.
Christmas is such a magical time and it is by making wonderful memories at times like these that we can help to erase some of the traumas our children have suffered in the past.
2012: Bags of love
So please keep your parcels coming. Everything is so gratefully received and with children aged from, a few months to 16, will be suitable for someone.
But, like last year, we are sorry it won't be possible  to acknowledge every individual parcel, but for birthdays and individual letters etc to sponsor children you will always get a reply.. 
You know how much we appreciate your  friendship, your love and your kindness.
If you would like to help Santa deliver a sackful of smiles to our children please send your parcel to Sue Hayward's Happy House, PO Box 796, Watamu, Kenya, East Africa.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
If you are looking for a stocking filler for a relative or friend maybe a Happy House calico bag would fit the bill?
they are £5 each (+70p postage and packaging in the UK) available online via  ebid page
or if you are on the Fylde Coast and would like to collect please email

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Time to talk

 The wonderful story of  the journey that led Mama and Papa to their Happy House, never fails to to touch hearts and inspire.
And it is a story that Elizabeth never tires of telling.
Yesterday, her lovely audience were members of the Ladies Guild at Victoria Congregational Church, Blackpool, who were deeply touched by the plight of the children who come to us and the way that their lives are being transformed.
They were full of admiration for Mama's extraordinary dedication and grateful that when she saw the troubled lives of so many kids she did not walk away from their problem but set about finding a solution, whatever the personal cost.
And there was special mention of  Papa, her constant support.
The kind-hearted group made a donation of £40 and a collection raised another £36.05.
Our thanks go to them for their generosity.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Some things never stop

 One thing is for certain, keeping up appearances at the Happy House is like an never ending story.
It's like painting the Forth Bridge, a seemingly endless task.
Our buildings are big, they have to be to house all our family and a school, and the un-relentless sun, high humidity, and salt in the air take their toll on the paintwork, varnish etc.
And when you have 78 children at home, plus 70 or so more coming in every day to join them in school, wear and tear is an inevitability.
Some routine jobs were understandably put on hold while Mama and Papa were in the UK, but since they have been home Mama has forged ahead to catch up.
Paintwork and varnish are being spruced up and galana paths are being laid around the outside to keep ants from nesting in the gaps that had formed at the edges of the building.
Walls are being painted and  the wrought iron is being given a coat of paint, so that everything is spick and span.
The children's rooms were looking very tired. The bedcovers faded and worn after three years of daily washing, so they are being replaced room by room.
This all costs money, but it has to be spent. The Happy House  It is like any family home, you have to to look after so that everything lasts as long as possible,
And we do have a lot of years ahead of us ....

Monday, 11 November 2013

Songs of praise

Our children enjoy going to church  every week, attend Hosanna Church in Timboni.
Church services are lively with lots of hymns of praise and hallelujahsl 
On Saturday, it was children's day and Mama and Papa went along with 24 of the children.
The children from the church sang a song first and then our Happy House kids were invited to sing which they did so well, making their Mama and Papa very proud.
Mama, who is pictured with the Pastor's wife, Joy,  said: "While I was away, they had done a fun day at Watamu Primary, I have said that we will have one at the Happy House, later this month.
" I want to get involved with other children  in the community so they can come  to share our facilities, whether it is a game of football, or just fun on a Saturday morning.
" So many children here  have such lost lives, nothing to look forward to, I like to think we can help to ring the changes."

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Moving upstairs, by Janet

With the library, computer room and school offices moved into the beautifully converted banda, the upstairs rooms they occupied are being returned to family use.
Some of the older children are moving upstairs, to give us room to take more children in desperate need, and Mama has made sure they have been involved in the move every step of the way.
Our  Kidz Council  also had a say on who should be given the privilege of moving first with some of the older but, as Uncle Billy puts it,"more errant" members of the family being denied the chance until they get their act together!
He adds: " Those moving will be expected to take good care of their hygiene and cleanliness of the room in general. We know they can for they are willing and able. Well done kids and congratulations for your hard work"
Today, Janet, tells us all about the exciting changes:

 It was on Sunday when suddenly Mama and Papa came and frankly speaking, Mama asked the Kids Council whether they would accompany them for shopping.
Before going for shopping Mama said to Evance and Sifa because they are gentlemen they should sit the back seats,  but Evance said that when Uncle Frank came he said that ladies should always be the first ones to sit, then they should say thank you to the gents.
Our way to shopping, Mama told us that we are going to choose some new material for our new rooms upstairs we all felt very excited  then Mama told us because the following week we the kids council can organize the kids  to help Madam Catherine and Mr Omoi to carry the computers and books from library and computer room so that the rooms could be vacant and for cleaning.
The next week, Mama and Papa  took the kids council to Malindi Nakumatt so that we can get some of the materials needed for our news bedrooms  like clocks, mirrors and everything.
We thanked Mama and Papa and all the Happy House family for making a difference to our lives.
That’s why we can’t stop loving our Mama.