Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Now we are three ...

Family reunited. The two little sisters who came to our family last week have now been joined by their older brother Derrick.
Jacinta, seven, Florence, six,  and Derrick,14  were living with their grandmother, who was trying to bring up six grandchildren on her own in her run down home made of mud and wattle.
The two little girls were deemed to be vulnerable and in need of care, and were brought to Happy House, while their brother Derrick, already in our school as one of our Dr Danwata Scholarship students, remained with his grandmother and cousins.
But Mama has never been happy about splitting families, and asked Derrick if he would like to come to Happy House as a
member of our family - making life easier for his grandmother at the same time.
Mama, who talked to Derrick via Skype, said: "He didn't need so much as a minute to think about it. It was a  "Yes" straight away.
"I never like the thought of splitting families and he should be at home with his sisters. "When we brought them home, Derrick went to Uncle Billy's office to ask him to say thank you to Mama."
The three children, whose father vanished after post-election troubles in  2008/09 and whose mother left them with their grandmother to go to Nairobi four years ago and hasn't been seen or heard of since, now have a chance to grow up together in the loving and stable environment of our Happy House, while their grandmother, relieved of some of her burden of responsibility, can to visit when she can.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Birthday girl Saumu

Celebrating her birthday is Saumu Safari, the elder of our two Samus.
Everyone at Kidz Club joined in the birthday songs for Saumu and she happily received her birthday gift.
Addresses please!
We trying to update all our file and it has become clear that some members of our sponsor family may have changed their postal address or email address since becoming sponsors.
We need our records to be accurate and up to date, so we would be very grateful to anyone who has changed either to send their latest details to rosep@childrenofwatamu.net  Thank you.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Best of friends - by Mariam

Today Mariam tells us about her special friend and Happy House "sister".
My best friend is Janet. 
She likes to run very fast.
She is my friend because I love her. 
And she love me too.
Janet has two brothers, Evans and Oscar.
Janet loves her family.
Picture: Mariam (right) and Janet.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Marathon jaunt for Gemma

Lawyer Gemma Lockyer will take on her second marathon challenge tomorrow and every mile will bring smiles to our Happy House family.
Gemma, from Milton Keynes, is running the Berlin Marathon and is hoping her friends will support her by sponsoring her effort with every penny raised coming to the Happy House,
Gemma said: "I'll put my name in for the ballot but I'll never get in". That's  what I said before I found myself with a place in the London Marathon in 2013 and it is what I said again before I found myself with a place in the Berlin Marathon this year.
"Tomorrow take on my second marathon challenge and do my bit to raise as much money as I can for a very special charity.
London marathon finisher 2013
"Kenya continues to suffer political, economic and many other challenges. Many international visitors have travelled through Kenya and hand delivered their donations but due to the current troubles the number of travellers has reduced. The charity now needs to pay postage and import duties for the basics many take for granted .
" My family has been helping the UK nationals who run the home for many years and I was fortunate to meet some of the people involved and was amazed by their enthusiasm and their genuine commitment to give these children the best possible opportunities. If you are able to make even a small donation I am very grateful. 
"I feel honoured to be running for Happy House."
Last month Gemma's dad, Paul, completed the the Haute Route Dolomites,a seven day 900km timed road bike race from Venice to Geneva, over 17 mountain passes and 19,000m  to raise money for the Happy House.
They, and other members of their family, including Fiona Lockyer and her twins, Hebe and Imogen, who introduced them to our Happy House are just a wonderful support.
 Thank you to all of them and good luck Gemma, we will be cheering you on every inch of the way.If you would like to support Gemma's effort please go to her JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/GemmaRunsBerlin/

Friday, 26 September 2014

Peace Cup harmony

A Peace Cup Tournament between Happy House School and Watamu Primary School was hugely entertaining for everyone who took part and was as friendly as it was competitive.
Our girls team won the female event while our boys came second runners-up.
Madam Rose said:" It was fun and our pupils enjoyed the matches. 
Some of the Happy House family members were there to cheer them on including Uncle Billy who encouraged all the players by congratulating them on their good work
".The girls team received a trophy to their delight,"
The boys were also expecting an award for being placed, but were disappointed. Mr Steve, our coach, is now following up with enquiries to see if this should have been the case so the boys efforts will not go unmarked.
It was a very happy day and truly embodied the spirit of peace and harmony.
Pictures: Our teams with their coaches and Uncle Billy, and bottom picture of Janet holding the trophy awarded to the girls with Madam Rose and Madam Milka.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Big cash boost from Rotary

Mama, Papa and auntie Libby had a lovely evening  yesterday when they were guests at Fleetwood Rotary Club.
The club has been so supportive of our family, over a number of years, and members were delighted to have the chance to catch up on all the news of how our children - and our family - are growing.
Mama also told them about how we must get our secondary school built and equipped by January 2016 when our first primary class eight will be ready to move up.
They also heard ,from Auntie Libby, about the current situation in Kenya and the way the our economy and our community are suffering because of the way tourism has been affected by travel advisories issued by the UK and some other Governments, even though Watamu is not within the area covered by the advice.
Secondary school needed to move up to
With several club members in our children's sponsor families, they were keen to hear the stories and anecdotes of some of our little characters and Mama's words conjured up a happy snapshot of life in a very happy Happy House family.
During the past year, Fleetwood Rotary has worked so hard to raise money for Happy House and Sandra Foulkes, whose family sponsors twins Saumu and Pendo, and president-elect Richard Newman, presented Mama with a cheque for £2239.70 which will be put towards the Secondary School.
The Rev George Ayoma, who is a Kenyan and who had run an orphanage when he was just 21,  gave a wonderful vote of thanks to Mama,  Papa and Libby and said that if he were 21 again then he would like to work at Happy House because it sounded such a happy place to be.
Our thanks to everyone who contributed to Fleetwood Rotary's fundraising effort in any way, and to the club for being such very good friends to all our family.
Pictured top  from left: Sandra Foulkes, Papa, Mama, George Ayoma, Libby and Richard Newson.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

School report: Kindergarten activities

Madam Tanui brings us this week's School Report with the focus on what has been happening in kindergarten.
There was a small gift for all the children in KG1 from day pupil Sylvia Hekima when she celebrated her birthday.
In the caring and sharing spirit of Happy House, Sylvia wanted to hold her celebration with her class in school bringing cake. juice and gifts.
The little ones were on an outdoor class when Harry and Peninah (above right) had a singing game in front of the other children.
Before she left for home, volunteer Aunty Missy had a very useful session of showing  KG teachers, Madam Tanui, Md Hellen and Md Sarah,  the creative art materials she brought for use in creative lessons. 
The KG boys, all very keen on football, enjoyed a games session on the football pitch.
Rotary visit
Today, Mama, Papa and Auntie Libby are looking forward to joining our old friends Fleetwood Rotary Club for their weekly meeting at the North Euston Hotel.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Visitors from Italy

Sadly, there have been fewer tourists holidaying in Kenya this year so we are getting fewer visitors too,
And as everyone knows, we love having visitors at Happy House, introducing them to our kids and showing them the work we are doing.
So we were delighted to welcome Aluca Guerra and Paola Garzo from Italy, who very kindly brought with them gifts of pens and clothes.
Thank you Aluca and Paola, it was nice to see you and we hope you will take home happy memories of our Happy House.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Safely home, two sisters join our family

With grandmum, Jacinta and Florence.
 Two little girls are finding love and care as they settle in to our family.
And they came home to a warm and loving welcome from all the family who gathered on the steps to greet them.
Our two new daughters, Jacinta, seven,  and Florence, six, are the two youngest children of a single mum of three - their older brother Derrick is in our school as one of our Dr Danwata Scholarship students
 Their family  was happily living upcountry until the onset of the ethnic clashes that destabilized the country in 2007/08.
The aftermath saw them separated and after an agonizing period of uncertainties, the children were reunited with their mother in one of the Internally Displaced Persons camps.
 Sadly, their father who was their sole breadwinner wasn't there and has never been in contact.
.Since their house and belongings had been burned to the ground, their mum sought to bring the kids back to the coast where she hails from.
Florence (left) and Jacinta
Her own mother, the children's grandmother, had no choice but  shoulder the responsibility  for the group despite the many odds stacked against her.
She lives in a mud and wattle house with six grandchildren of diverse ages
A home visit, identified the two little girls as being vulnerable and in need of care and protection and they have joined our family.
Derrick, who came to our school through the help of a community volunteer and was enrolled in the Dr Danwata Scholarship scheme early this year, went to Uncle Billy's office to ask him to thank Mama for making his sisters a part of our family.
"Knowing the girls would be safe was also huge relief to their grandmother who cried tears of relief. It was an emotional parting but with the consolation of the close distance of the the Happy House," said Uncle Billy.
The two little sisters have their school uniforms and start their first full week in class today.
It costs £20 a month to sponsor a Happy House child. If you would like sponsor Jacinta or Florence please email elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net

Sunday, 21 September 2014

My teacher - by Kezia

Junior blogger of the week, Kezia, is writing her first blog:
I am writing a blog about my class teacher
My name is called Kezia Beatrice,  I am a girl.
The name of our class teacher is Mr Alphan.
He is a very good teacher he also teachers us English.
He also teachers us Kiswahili sometimes.
He knows how to teacher and how to write a composition.
He also teacher to the other classes like standard six and class seven.
He likes to treat us like his own daughter.
That’s why I like my class teacher.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Walking with animals!

Volunteers Missy McKee and Lotte Van Kouwen made the most of every minute of every day they were at the Happy House - working in creative classes with our kids and painting  some very special murals in our atrium.
Missy , founder of the charity Flourish Foundation which promotes the role of art in recovery, and Lotte are talented artists and shared some inspirational ideas to fire the imagination of our children. 
Missy said they had great fun with kids in  KG 1, 2 and 3  
"We have been doing self portraits which has been amazing as most of the children tell me that they have never tried drawing themselves."
Mirrors came in very handy as they put pencil to paper to create their own masterpieces.
Missy and Lotte, from London,  also spent time sharing ideas and expertise with our teachers  to help them 
develop on  creative lessons in school.
Thank you Missy and Lotte for being such a help and so much fun and for the support from Flourish Foundation, too.
Your wonderful artwork has made our Happy House more child friendly than ever and we know the little ones will love talking to the animals that now brighten up our walls.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Fresh air, fun and friends for Mama and Papa

Linda, Mama and Papa
Old friends are taking time to catch up with Mama and Papa while she is in the UK.
And knowing how much they are loved has really kept their spirits up during this enforced separation from their Happy House family.
Although they are in touch by Skype every day, and with the kids once a week, it is not the same as hearing the happy sounds of a busy family and school, or the after-school cuddles, or songs, from the little ones who make a bee-line for Mama's office every day.
So all the lovely people who have been in touch, or who come to visit, are just the kind of tonic they need as Mama continues to make good recovery.

Among those who have travelled a long way to see her are members of Charity's sponsor family, Brenda and Red Groves, from Wantage, who brought with them some of the things that their granddaughter Grace had planned to take out to our family before her tour operators pulled the plug on her volunteering trip.
They came for a day and had a lovely lunch out together.
They are pictured right (on a visit to the Happy House) and Mama and Papa with some of the lovely things they brought.
Linda Newman, who is a great friend from Watamu and owns Girama Residence where many of our volunteers choose to stay, travelled up from the south to enjoy a Blackpool break and lots of laughs with Mama and Papa.
Scott and Laura Webster(left) from Royal Wootton Bassett also spent a weekend with Mama and Papa. They are in Rose Safari's sponsor family and visit as often as they can. Scott, who volunteers in our garden and as a keen horticulturalist, monitors and advises our gardeners on a cropping, pests etc on a regular basis via the internet. He brought a donation of £50 from sales of produce from his allotment, which he doubled to £100 as a personal donation.
Back at their home on the Fylde Coast, Lesley Pidcock who now divides her life between here and Saudi, where her husband Alan works,  was thrilled to spend time with Mama and Papa.
Lesley and her daughter Kathryn enjoyed hearing all the latest news of the children they sponsor, Janet and Natasha, and all their brothers and sisters too.
Mama, Papa and Lesley, and Lesley and Kathryn with
 their friends.
When Mama and Papa went to lunch at their home, Lesley gave her £37  very kindly donated to the Happy House by a group of her friends from Doncaster who had come over to stay last weekend, and who knew Lesley would like a donation for her favourite charity rather than flowers.
Other friends, who live locally, are also seeing as much of Mama and Papa as they can.
So while Mama is working as hard as ever running Happy House from a distance, with support of her very able team back home, and on seeking new avenues for funding with Elizabeth here,  her social life is busy too,
She and Papa are very touched by all the warmth and kindness they are receiving. It makes their time fly and  every day they are here, is another day nearer to home, seem shorter! 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Parcels arriving for Santa's stock

 Parcels sent for our Christmas appeal are beginning to arrive at the Happy House and everything is being squirrelled away into Santa's storeroom.
We are so very grateful to everyone who is responding so generously and taking the time and trouble to shop for those things we really need.
Mama has given a lot of thought to our Christmas list and is asking you to send items that are of practical and educational use to our children - the novelty of having something new, that isn't a hand-me-down, never wears off. 
Even our smallest children love to parade around like fashion models!
An exercise book with a couple of HB pencils, a rubber and ruler makes a welcome gift; simple science experiments, make-and-do craft sets for boys and girls, softcover books (fact, fiction, sport); educational dvds for PC ( any subjects but especially science and French) or other learning aid.
Summer weight clothing (you might still be able to pick up some bargains) is required for particularly our older boys and girls where we have the greatest shortage, also for all other ages too. 
Items most wanted include:
Trousers, shorts, cropped leggings (our teenage and pre-teen girls really love these), knickers, underpants, boys T-shirts and short-sleeved shirts, dresses. croc type shoes, starter bras,  girl tops and skirts,
Our children are always busy playing together, making their own entertainment, that they really do not need any more toys than we already have.
Every single item you send is greatly needed and will bring so much joy to a child on Christmas day.
Parcels should be posted to Sue Hayward's Happy House, PO Box 796, Watamu, Kenya, East Africa.
These are difficult times, and your love and kindness means so very, very much.
Thank you.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

School Report: Top class performance

Madam Sarah is in charge of bringing us this week's School Report. 
She writes:
After the opening day the primary school had a wake up exam which was done for two days and they  all did their level best.
The results were read for the whole school and the classes with the best were given trophies.
In the lower primary, Class One retained the trophy and they were happy as seen in their smiling faces in the photo (top left).
Class Seven did  their best in the exams and emerged the holders of the upper primary trophy.
We were  also glad to have the volunteers Missy and Lotte who shared their skills to the during  creative lessons.
They made masks using paper, glue, crafts, paint, glitter and feathers.
We are happy to have volunteers, like Missy, Lotte and Simon,  because they bring a different aspect to classes.
To find out more about volunteering at Happy House  Please visit: http://www.childrenofwatamu.net/volunteer

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Birthday boys and Fair result

 It's been such a busy time on the blog we haven't shared our most recent birthday pictures.
Two of our family's older boys have both celebrated their special day with help from all their brothers and sisters.Visitors and our good friends from Italy had the honour of presenting birthday gifts at Kidz Club. Monica Rizzo made the presentation to Fikiri whilst Susanna Gregoria presented Sifa with his.
Pictures: Top, Monica and Fikiri and (below) Susanna and Sifa.

                  Vintage fair brings us £705
A whopping £705 has come to Happy House thanks to Dotty Delightful, the wonderfully kind organiser of this weekend's Truly Scrumptious Vintage, Handmade and Music Fair at Blackpool Winter Gardens.
Our volunteers helped  man  the front admission desk, while Tom Walsh looked after the second entrance. 
We have received half the admission taking which is fantastic. Thanks Dotty (pictured (centre) with  two of the entertainers Daniella Gallagher (left) and Lisa Kelly) you are one fantastic friend to our family.
Dotty is pictured (centre)  entertainers Daniella Gallagher (left) and Lisa Kelly.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Busy time on the coast

 What a busy weekend it's been for Happy House helpers on the Fylde coast.
Andrea and Joanne
Our volunteers have been helping to collect admission to the Truly Scrumptious Vintage, Handmade and Music Fair at Blackpool Winter Gardens over both Saturday and Sunday.
The very generous organiser of the fair, Dotty Delightful is donating half the door money to Happy House - we are yet to have a final figure but it promises to bring us a healthy amount.
Mama and Papa called in to see Auntie Libby and volunteers yesterday and to admire one of the four new pop up banners, donated to us, which were on their first outing this weekend.
Papa and Laura
Many thanks to Susan Carr, Andrea Manders, Joanne Rossall, Charlotte Rossall, Annie Whittle, Jackie Fineman, Lynn Baya Thoya, Lesley Pidcock, Kathryn Pidcock, Pauline Royle and Susan Sadler for giving up their time to help.
And a huge thank you to Dotty for being so generous to our family. Every penny will make a difference to the little lives who depend on us.
On Saturday, Auntie Libby joined Mama and Papa and their two special visitors, Scott and Laura Webster,who are great friends to Mama ,Papa and our family,   at Freeport Fleetwood as the port's outlet shopping centre celebrated a Best of British weekend.
They were guests of manager John Magee (pictured with Mama) who was so supportive in helping to equip a flat for Mama and Papa when we knew they would have to come to the UK for treatment on Mama's leg.
Scott, Laura and Libby
It was a real celebration of all things British with entertainment from XFactor finalist Jonjo Kerr, Made In Liverpool, the official Beatles Tribute Act of the Cavern Club, dance moves from Scream Theatre School, Beefeaters, Giant Pound Coins, Giant Seagulls, Prince Harry, a Black Cab photo booth, Strawberries and Cream and Pimms 
We were happy to be  part of the day.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

My favourite subject - by Sifa

Sifa is today's junior blogger:
My favorite subject is English. And I like it so much because it makes me to speak good English and to know many things that I don’t know.
It guides me when writing composition or other things that I want to do.
English makes me to speak well and to write good composition which makes me get good marks.
I will be always doing some work from English subject and also other subjects..
The other subjects I like them, but this is the best.
The second subject which I like is Kiswahili.
Kiswahili is almost as my language but the pronunciation is not the same as Giriama. In Kiswahili I normally score seventy six as my highest mark.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Jonathan's visitors from Milan

There was a great treat for our Jonathan when members of his sponsor family came to call.
Monica Rizzo and Marco from Milan, Italy, are no strangers to our family as they have visited before and Monica has helped in school.
Jonathan was as delighted to see them as they were to be with him.
Thank you Monica and Marco for the love and friendship you give to Jonathan and all our family
Fair today
Today and tomorrow the Happy House will be receiving half the admission money taken at the Truly Scrumptious Vintage Handmade and Music Fair at Blackpool's Winter Gardens, thanks to the very kind Dotty D Delightful who organises the event.
Some of our Happy House friends will be manning the front admission desk so come along and say hello.
There will be lots of great stalls (and music and refreshments) and it's never too early to start your Christmas shopping.
10am-4pm tomorrow and Sunday. Admission is £1

Friday, 12 September 2014

Young artists flourish and guitar showcase

Two talented young women are bringing art to the Happy House.
Missy McKee, founder of the Flourish Foundation, and Lotte van Kouwen have travelled out to Watamu to spend a week working with our kids on creating murals on our inner atrium.
Missy,a New Zealander, who is living in London and studying for an MA in art psychotherapy set up Flourish Foundation to help raise awareness of the important role of art and art therapy play in the healing process, and with the aim of enriching the lives of kids and young adults through art.
Missy and Lotte, from Holland but also living in London, started their week getting to know our kids by encouraging them to have fun with paint and mask making.
With just a few days to complete their project of child-friendly murals, again working with our children, they are really busy and we can't wait to see the completed artworks.
Many thanks to Miss and Lotte for making art so much fun.
 Pictures: Top left: Brian shows of his art work, and (below left) Natasha gets handy. Right: Top row: Missy (left) and Lotte (right) working with with the children, and below left: Lotte at work on the mural and Missy in class.
Many thanks to Miss and Lotte for making art so much fun

Playing our tune...
Great friends of the Happy House, George Lowden Guitars Ltd and guitar virtuoso Jon Gomm will be raising awareness of our family at the London Acoustic Guitar Show at the Olympia Conference, London, this weekend.
Jon and his beautful Lowden, Wilma, will be giving a masterclass with luthier George Lowden on Saturday at 12.30pm and on Sunday Jon will be playing as part of the Lowden 40th anniversary celebrations.  All profits from Lowden's 40th anniversary tee-shirts are being donated to the Happy House.
Lowden support two of our Dr Danwata Scholarship Students, Wiclif and Yvonne
Thank you to Jon and to Lowden Guitars for your support and for caring. 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Making friends in Marton

There was such a warm welcome awaiting Mama, Papa and Auntie Libby when they were guests of Marton United Reformed  Church Ladies, Blackpool.
After showing our our  video A Very Special Job,  Mama told her story  while Auntie Libby spoke about how what she thought was going to be a routine interview for the newspaper she was working on, had changed her life.
 They also chatted about the children, their stories, and about some the antics of the little characters in our family.
The ladies were so interested and so supportive. A club donation of £25 was doubled by a collection and the sale of six Happy House bags brought the evening's total to £80.04.
Thanks ladies. You really were a lovely audience and we were delighted to be there with you.

Volunteer Simon Davies has been on a shopping trip to buy groceries and household goods for our family, 
Simon came back with a variety of items including nappies, flour, bleach, toothpaste , rice, oil and washing powder,
Thank you Simon, you know how well all these will be used.

We are in the process of updating all our records and need your help?
If you sponsor a Happy House child and have changed your postal or email address since taking out your sponsorship please send details, urgently, to rosep@childrenofwatamu.net  Thank you

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

School report: Exams for starters

 Mr Mdachi brings this week's report from our school:
We are now in our third term activities - it is the shortest term of the year with only 12 weeks.
We started with a day of examinations when pupils showed their readiness for the test,
The children are again making use of the resources in the library.
We have also received a new volunteer whose name is Simon.
He is helping in teaching Maths and English in the upper primary section under the guidance of teachers.
The scouting team is also doing well and recruiting new members .
We started with 12 scouts and now the number has increased to 48.