Monday, 31 August 2015

New term beckons

After a four week break, our Happy House kids go back to school today.
And each of those old enough is aware that they must have their uniforms, shoes and school bags all ready for this important day.
Mama, Uncle Ronald and the aunties all reinforce the message that being neatly turned out, with all they need for the day ahead, is their responsibility.
The girls have been out to have their hair braided into neat cornrows, the older ones looking after the younger ones; the barber called to give all the little boys a trim, while the older boys went out to get theirs done.
Those who need new shirts have them, they've been made by our seamstress Auntie Mercy, and in the laundry the kids have been helping with sorting and ironing.
Thanks to everyone who responded to our shoe appeal, all those who needed new school shoes have them ready to walk to school today.
It's a busy time, but Mama rightly insists that the children do as much as they can to make it easy for themselves and those around them.

Their future, in our hands

This is an important term for our Class 8 as they prepare for Kenya Certificate of Primary School Education which takes place in November under rigorous scrutiny.
This external examination is vital to their future and everyone is working hard towards it.
We also have this term to get our secondary school finished, furnished, staffed are resourced ready to open in January.
To do this we need YOUR help. Please make a donation, hold a fundraiser or go without  a  Bank Holiday treat and donate the money instead.
We have a long way to go, but we know with your help we will do it.
To donate go to

Welcome back Patrizia

Patrizia Anotelli from Rome is a regular visitor to Watamu and the Happy House and on Saturday she called in to see our family.
She is a great friend of Marina, who is in David's sponsor family, and he eagerly came to greet her.
Thank you for coming to see us and for the biscuits you brought for our children.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Holiday club by Musyoka, Mercy and Victoria

Holiday club is mix of activities and revision.
It's a chance for children to brush up on their weaknesses, build on their strengths and have fun. 
 Today, Musyoka and friends tell us a  more:
After we closed school we were told that we are going to be doing
holiday clubs.
We were not surprised because it was not our first time to hear these words. As we got prepared to go we were told to carry our books because we will be also doing tuition.
We were all so glad that we were not going to forget our work in the break.
When we reached to school we got in class and started our work
We are so proud of our Mama.
Mercy continues:
In my class at Holiday Club, one day we started with maths and science, social studies, CRE
and last
Kiswahili they were interesting all.
We had two subjects before break and then  more afterwards. We then walked home to take outr lunch, it is interesting to walk, After we had finished taking our lunch we played some games like football, volley ball, netball etc.
And Victoria adds:
We like holiday club when we revise our subjects in the morning. We go home for lunch and after lunch we have activities like football, netball and volleyball.
Them we take our showers and help the aunties at home.

Building a Bright Future Appeal

Bright young people like Musyoka, Mercy and Victoria, all so keen to learn, need a secondary school to ensure they will have the chance to finish their schooling.
We must have our  Happy House secondary school finished, furnished, staffed and resourced by January, 2016, when the new school year begins.
To achieve this we need a total of £25,000. 
If you can help in anyway please donate via

Saturday, 29 August 2015

A temporary refuge for baby Lamek

For two months old Lamek, the Happy House has been a shelter of loving care from a troubled time in his family's life.
After a week in our safe care he is now reunited with his family - a caring grandmother who travelled hundreds of miles from Western Kenya so that she could take Lamek, and her daughter,his mother, back home to look after.
Lamek, whose mum is suffering from post-natal mental health problems, was left with a neighbour when his she was admitted to hospital. His father has moved on to live and work elsewhere,
The neighbour, who already has a three year old and his due to give birth to her second child any day, was not able to continue caring for Lamek.
Her husband, concerned for his family and baby Lamek, asked Happy House to help.
His mum who disappeared from hospital was later found  in a very poor state.
A week later, in which time the grandmother had been traced, she arrived at Happy House to meet her baby grandson who is now in her safe care, as is his mum.
We wish them well in the future.
Please, can you help?
Every child deserves a bright future. 
Our Happy House kids have had a bleak past, we turn their lives around and put them on the road to a bright future.
Education is key in that. We are giving them the best education possible in Happy House kindergarten and primary schools, we must take that on through secondary school.
Please, please, make this the weekend that YOU donate - even the smallest amount will count - to help us to finish and furnish our secondary school by January.
To donate online go to:
or you can send a cheque, made payable to Happy House, to Elizabeth Gomm, Children of Watamu, 6 Burwood Drive, Blackpool, FY3 8NS

Friday, 28 August 2015

Such a happy home

It is lovely being at Happy House in the school holidays when all the kids are at home and doing their own thing.
There's a constant hum of activity with more than a 100 children around, but you never hear and shouting or squabbling. They play or work happily together, the older ones keeping the little ones busy.

Kidz Council does an amazing job in organising the kids into groups, some helping in the kitchen, others in the garden, giving a hand with the chores around the house or laundry, and everyone is having a high time. They are so happy.
The small ones play together, keeping themselves occupied,  pretend cooking seems to be a favourite  - copying what they have seen in the villages.
Mama is never alone in her office, there's always children in their telling her what they are up to or just hanging out.
As you watch them,  you would never know these kids have come to us with so much tragedy in their hearts.
 That they well  adjusted, confident and  so full of the joys of living is proof of the magic of our Happy House  and the leadership and enduring love of their Mama Sue and Papa Dave.

Their future is in our hands

Every child deserves a bright future. 
Our Happy House kids have had a bleak past, we turn their lives around and put them on the road to a bright future.
Education is key in that. We are giving them the best education possible in Happy House kindergarten and primary schools, we must take that on through secondary school.
Please, please, make this the weekend that YOU donate - even the smallest amount will count - to help us to finish and furnish our secondary school by January.
To donate online go to:
or you can send a cheque, made payable to Happy House, to Elizabeth Gomm, Children of Watamu, 6 Burwood Drive, Blackpool, FY3 8NS

Birthday trio

There were three birthdays to celebrate at Kidz Club on Tuesday when Auntie Libby had the lovely job of presenting gifts.
David Karisa, Karembo and Margaret received greetings from all the family as the sang the birthday song to each of them.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Balloon antics in the office

Mama's office became balloon central when our kids had a whole lot of fun trying their hand balloon modelling.
The balloons were a gift from Elina and Joona Kokko, from Finland, and the little Kenya boy they have adopted, Marius.
With Mama and Uncle Ronald joining in,  the kids had a balloon each to model into the most creative shape.
Uncle Ronald showed his hidden talents as he helped turn balloons into hats!
There was lots of fun, more than a few bangs when balloons pooped mid-shape, and so much laughter.
When everyone had made their model there was a line=up to pick the winner with the honour going to Rukia's green goat!
Thank you Elina, Joona and Marius.

Building a Bright Future Appeal

                                                                      Please can you help us to build a bright future for our Happy House kids, now and over many generations to come?
We must raise the £15.000 we need to finish building our secondary school ready for opening in January 2016 when our first Class 8 Primary will be ready to move on.
The half built school holds their hopes and dreams.  It is their future.
We must also raise an additional £10,000 to staff and resource it for the first year to give us a chance to get it established. 
Please make a donation or hold a fundraising event if you can. Tell your friends, family and colleagues about how we are changing lives.
If you donate you know that every penny will go directly into the school build.  You can donate online at or by sending a cheque, made payable to Happy House,  to Elizabeth Gomm, Children of Watamu,  6 Burwood Drive, Blackpool, FY3 8NS

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Our school ambition for generations of children

All our regular followers will know the race is on to  raise the money to finish, furnish and resource our secondary school ready for the start of the 2016 academic year in January.
In three weeks we have already topped the first £3,000 of our £25,000 Building a Bright Future Appeal target, but there is still a long way to go.
But we are absolutely determined to do it, and know that you, our amazing friends, will help us in every way you can.
The secondary school is already half built and is on the same site, a short walk from Happy House, as our kindergarten and primary school which relocated there at the start of 2015.
The land was bought with money raised by a dinner at the Harrodian School, London, organised by Charlotte Poulter and Saskia Flower, who were then students there.
This week I am seeing the schools for the first time, writes Elizabeth Gomm.
They are much bigger and better than any pictures or video I have seen, and the kids absolutely love being there as my group of tour guides told me!
They are fair bursting with pride as they escort me first to the kindergarten and then to the primary school.
The classrooms are roomy,  a gentle breeze blows through. The breeze and the makuti roof, make it so much  easier for the children to stay alert and to concentrate in lessons.
The primary school on two floors, is impressive.  The dining banda, which can also be used for assemblies, special events and assemblies, is central.
The first phase of the secondary school is complete. It comprises of an office, library and computer room which are also in use by the lower schools. The laboratory, which is a requirement for every secondary school, remains a shell. It was built with money donated by Blackpool Soroptimist International’s Christine Walker Memorial Fund, but we do not yet have the funds to furnish and equip it. That is part of our current Building a Bright Future Appeal.
If we could just get in another £5,000 we would resume building work straight away.
Anyone seeing the Happy House knows that Mama Sue is a woman who has a vision and works tirelessly to make it a reality. 
 The schools, like her Happy House, are her vision – the pictures in her head that  come together so beautifully in bricks and mortar. Sue is resourceful in every sense of the word, and she and Papa, who negotiates the best price on all the materials, are a team to be reckoned with.
Along with Uncle Billy and all their team they are making a better world for children in need.
Our school gives our kids, who have come to us with nothing but sadness in their hearts, a chance to have an education of the highest standard.  They grasp the opportunity with an enthusiasm you rarely see in countries where education is taken for granted.
What we are building here, is not just for children now but for many, many, more over many years to come.  If you donate, say £5, today, you can look back in 10, 20 or even 50 years time, knowing that a new generation of children will be benefiting from your gift.
If you can help in anyway – a church collection, a coffee morning, girls’ night in, tea party, or by going without a treat and donating the money instead – please do. 
You can donate online at:
Their future is in our hands.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Welcome, Auntie Libby

Our UK voluntary coordinator, Elizabeth Gomm, Auntie Libby to our family,  is back visiting the Happy House after 18 months away.
And what a welcome she received! She writes:
I've been a writer all my life, words come easily to me. Not today.
Sitting here, at the Happy House, with the buzz of activity all around, I am struggling to find the words to describe my welcome home.
Words, for once, are not enough
I couldn't quite believe what was happening nor that it was all for me.
Walking out of the arrivals terminal at Mombasa, a full day after setting off from home,  I was looking out for Kennedy, a Happy House driver.
No Kennedy. Instead a sea of smiling children, singing and clapping – just for me.
Blinking through the tears, everywhere I looked there were kids, all I could hear was Auntie Libbbby, Auntie Libbbbby, Welcome, Welcome.
Margaret, one of our eldest, whisked my trolley away, and I was surrounded by children all eager to greet me with handshakes, hugs
It was magical and overwhelming.  I know how much I love this family that has become so much a part of my life, but I’d never dreamt I was so loved in return.
To know that I mean as much to them as they do to me is truly wonderful.  I feel like the luckiest person on the planet!
Could anything be better?
 Once the tide of excited kids ebbed a little, I was able to reach Mama and Papa, who had masterminded this surprise, just for me. No thanks will ever be enough.
A noisy throng, we made our way the to car park, ready for the long journey home, stopping for sodas on the way!
Mama, Papa and Uncle Billy  filled me in with all all the latest news as we continued on our way home.
Once there, we drove through the gates, another welcome was awaiting me.  All the little ones , too small for the journey, were gathered along with aunties, teachers and other members of staff.  Everyone was singing at the top of their voices – the only thing louder was the song in my heart!
From somewhere in the crowd, came Madam Rose holding Elizabeth Anne,  the beautiful foundling Mama has given my name and that of my late sister Anne.
As I was stood holding her, the kids started singing “He’s Got the World In His Hands” - striking a deep emotional chord with me. It had been one of Anne’s favourite hymns. 
How she would have loved this place, and these kids?
By now it was afternoon, the excitement continued with more good wishes, more greetings and a chance to look round until it was time to leave for home, and some rest. Me,  the happiest person alive!
The following morning, after breakfast, we set off to join in the Saturday morning activities with the kids.  I was looking forward to seeing our young cooks and gardeners busy honing their skills.  But Mama had a different idea.
Friday’s welcome, spilled into Saturday.
The family, every last one of them, was waiting just inside the gate and as we drove through they burst into my favourite song 
“Today is my favourite day”.
Again, the tears of joy pricked at my eyes.  I tried not to cry, the kids can’t understand why anyone should be crying when they are so happy!
They’d planned a party in my honour, with Musyoka and Margaret chairing the proceedings. The programme included songs,  belly dancing display,catwalk modelling (a huge laugh when Mama insisted the boys, and some of the Uncles join in, with supermodel Papa taking the lead.)Then came games, tug of war (the girls beat the boys), musical chairs, ball passing, fruit salad  (fruit bought with a donation left for a treat by volunteer Natasha Wenman), cake, and speeches, first from  Mama, welcoming me home and praising the kids and adults who had made her surprise special, followed by my response– however could any thank you, ever be enough,?
Everything  went according to Mama’s lovely plan, not one of the 108 kids had dropped so much as hint the day before of the party to come, and I was having just the best time ever.
Every day I am away from Happy House, I am driven by Mama’s vision of giving these kids a wonderful life.
They are the sunshine that lights up even the most difficult day. 
Now, I am here and the piece of my heart that remains every time I leave, has fallen back into place.
I am so privileged and so proud to be  to be this family's Auntie Libby.
Thank you Mama, Papa, and all the family for the love  and joy
you bring into my life and for the welcome you have given me.
I'd like to tell you how it makes me feel, how special it is to be back, but, honestly, no words would ever be enough..

Monday, 24 August 2015

Dresses that go on forever!

Everyone who is kind enough to send a gift to their Happy House sponsor child will get a special thank you along with a picture of their child.
It's more than four years since Sandra Foulkes, who is in the sponsor families of twins Saumu and Pendo, sent these dresses to her little girls.
Back in 2011, the beautiful dresses were  a tad too big (never a bad thing as our well-nourished kids grow so fast) but the twins loved them and looked gorgeous in them.
As the two cuties have grown the dresses have been worn and worn by them for high days and holidays,  and still look as good as new.
On Saturday, Pendo and Saumu wore their lovely frocks to take to the catwalk in a junior fashion show and they looked every bit as wonderful as the first day time they wore them.
Watch out for next year, when they will probably be wearing them  as tops with leggings!
Thank you Sandra and family, from Fleetwood,  your dresses have certainly given good value for money and brought loads of pleasure to Pendo and Saumu.
Building a Bright Future
Every child has a right to a childhood free from fear, to be loved, nourished and respected. They also
have a right to be educated to the highest standard possible. Before coming to our Happy House our kids have suffered more pain and hardship than most of us experience in a lifetime. We are transforming them in the bright, lively, loved and confident young people. Please can you help us to ensure the very high standard of education we are giving them in lower school can continue, by supporting our Building a Bright Future Appeal to finish, furnish, resource and staff (for the initial year) our secondary school, which is now half built. A donation of £5, will be £5 to buy materials (every penny goes where intended) and to make a difference. You can donate online now at

Sunday, 23 August 2015

A happy week, by Victoria

 Victoria is one of the children who have remained at home at Happy House this week, while others have been visiting relatives. She tells us:
 I have taken his opportunity to write a blog about our holiday.
Last week on Friday and Saturday, most  of the  kids  went  for home visits. 
We remained ,56 kids.  On Sunday  we  went to  enjoy  ourselves at  Marina  restaurant  with mama and  Papa.
The little ones  have gone today, (Wednesday) to enjoy themselves.  
.We are  happy  because  Auntie Libby is  

coming on Friday.  We  shall  meet  her at   airport.  
This week we are having many activities
Like playing football, netball, rounders, Volleyball  and dancing. I like  playing netball  and dancing . 
On Monday, we  played netball teachers versus  pupils.  We scored  ten and teachers seven .We were the best by three scores.  
Today  we  went for nature walk at Watamu  beach.
Yesterday we helped Aunty Philis to clean the kitchen and with cooking.

Building a Bright Future Appeal

A secondary school is essential if bright young people like Victoria, so eager to learn, are to have the chance to finish their schooling.
We must have our secondary school finished, furnished, staffed and resourced by January, 2016, when the new school year begins.
To achieve this we need a total of £25,000. 
If you can help in anyway please donate via

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Plotters and potting

Our young gardeners have been plotting some new ideas for growing the seeds so kindly sent by so many of you.
They have started new trial project in their garden known as "pot farming".
This is a special farming method which include  planting in pots filled with fine textured and well treated soil. 
Our soil type at Happy House is not that good as it if full of stones which makes it hard for root crops, like beets and carrots, to grow.
In addition, it will be easy for them to take good care of them in terms of watering, pest and disease control as well as weed control. 
Our young gardeners started by digging and sieving tthe soil before filling their pots,With directions from our gardener, Uncle Chris they managed to fill ten pots.
They planted beetroot  carrots, leek, parsley, celery, lettuce, hot pepper, tomato and sweet  Pepper .
Any excess seedling will be transplanted to a new pot or 
taken to the green houses.
Thanking all friends who for the seeds which is encouraging such enterprise in our keen young growers as they help to grow crops to feed our family

Friday, 21 August 2015

Families' bargain buys for our kids

Some of our friends just can't resist a bargain, specially when it is something for our kids.
For Jackie Fineman Happy House bargain hunting is a family affair, with everyone looking out for knock-down prices on goodies for our family.
Jackie and family, from Blackpool, has been having a shopping spree in the summer sales, snapping up some great clothes for boys and girls, plus copy-crocs all for a fraction of their original price. 
Her younger children Joe (right) and  Emma, who are both still at school,  both contributed from their saving for the clothes they bought on a recent trip to Matalan, when Joe ended up decorated like a Christmas tree as he helped carry the bargains to the counter!
And when Jackie's eldest daughter, Hailey Aspinall  and her partner Debs (left)  popped into the store to find copy-crocs had been knocked down even further, they snapped up the lot!
We have so many good friends, like Jackie and family, who are in Stevie and Charity's sponsor family, who send parcels of lovely new goods.
Betty Hatch, 70, who lives in Essex, is another dedicated Happy House shopper who also has a great eye for a bargain.
Betty and her son Paul, sponsor Salama, and their daughter Nicky is in Mercy's sponsor family.
Salama (front row, far right) is pictured with some of her friends with Betty's latest box of bargains.
All the clothes bought now, while the summer sales are on, will come in for Christmas when every child receives a new outfit.
Thank you to Jackie and Betty and families, and to everyone who bargain hunts for Happy House, for your love and support.

Building a Bright Future Appeal

Make this a feel good Friday by helping to give our Happy House children  and other young people, who without our charity would have no hope of completing their education, a head start in secondary school.
We have to raise £15,000 to finish and furnish our secondary school, which is already half-built.  We are also aiming to raise another £10,000 to cover the costs of teachers' salaries and resources for 2016.
If you could spare a few pounds this weekend, please donate at

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Pizza treat

While so many of their" brothers and sisters" are away visiting their relatives for a few days, the atmosphere at the Happy House is quieter than usual.
Mama and Papa try to make this a  special time for the children who are unable to spend time away or who have no relatives to visit.
Earlier this weel they took  the older children for an outing to a local restaurant where they had arranged a treat of pizza and chips which everyone enjoyed. 
Mama said: "We had a lovely time , 18 of us went to Marina restaurant for a soda with pizza and chips. Then we went to Tropical restaurant as they do banana fritters with chocolate sauce!"
The younger children will also be having a similar treat.

School Appeal: We continue to push ahead with our Building a Bright Future Appeal to raise the money needed to finish, furnish, open and staff our secondary school by January 2016,

If you can donate please go to

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

School Report: Break time plus more family news

With holiday club over, teachers are now taking their break in shifts to ensure that there is always someone available to answer any enquiries about school admission for next term.
The new term opens on August 31 and being the last term of the year pupils are expected to work hard in order to be promoted to the next class.
It is also a very important term as our first class 8 will be doing their final exam KCPE (Kenya certificate of primary education).
We have high hopes that they perform well.
Pictured are some of the kids enjoying a dvd  on the final day of holiday club.

Brian takes the stage

Brian took the stage at Kidz Club thsi week to entertain the family to his unique talents as a dancer.
Brian is a born showman and just loves strutting his stuff on the dancefloor and the sound of well-deserved applause when he takes a bow.
Well done, Brian.

Building a Bright Future Appeal

Please can you help us to finish, furnish and open our secondary school by making a donation or holding a fundraising event.
Pensioner, Florence Pace from Cookley, near Kidderminster, organised a raffle at her Monday Luncheon Club and the generous people there raised £120 which took us past the £2000 mark.
Thank you everyone.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Bright future: Our friends are our blessing and welcome volunteers

We are pulling out all the stops to get our secondary school built and open ready for its first intake of students in January.
We have to, for the young people, and others like them, pictured in the shell that will be their school.
And we are touched by the kindness of those who have helped take our Building a Bright Future Appeal to £1,885 so far.
We have a very long way to go to reach our £25,000 target, (£15,000 to finish the build plus £10,000 to buy resources and to pay teachers for the first year), but as Mama and Papa say in today's video, you, our friends, are our blessing.
Your donations, whatever the amount, will help take us to our target. Every penny, every pound, you give will make a difference.
We have the determination, the courage and the faith to keep on knocking on every door we can until we achieve our target and have the school which will see generations of young people, over many years to come, walking on the road out of poverty into a bright future.
Empowered by education they will have every hope of fulfilling their dreams.
To donate please go to
or send a cheque, made out to Happy House, to Elizabeth Gomm, Voluntary Coordinator and Trustee, Children of Watamu, 6 Burwood Drive, Blackpool, FY3 8NS
If you are planning your own fundraising event for the appeal please let us know. Email:

Welcome volunteers: We have some lovely helpers working with our family for a few days  this week.

Friends Jade Cheli, Amber Saverby, and Wanda Criswell are having fun helping too keep the children ,who have remained at home while others are visiting relatives, entertained and busy.
Jade visited the Happy House with her mum, Denise, and loved it so much she wanted to give up some of her holiday time to help, bringing along her friends.
Jade's dad, Max Cheli, is general manager of the award winning Medina Palms Hotel in Watamu, and the three girls are all students at Cheltenham Ladies College.