Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Babies benefit from our stores

With enough babygrows in the storeroom to last us a very long time,  Mama thought it would be nice to take some of them out to new mums who are living on the breadline.
She and Uncle Billy called into the baby unit Malindi Hospital .
Mary the head nurse was thrilled and immediately started giving them out to the mums who were in the waiting area. 
Mums who are exttremely poor come  to the hospital and wait , often for a very long time,  to see a doctor unable to pay a single shilling.
Mama and Uncle Billy also went to Timboni Community Dispensary, where a lot of local women give birth.
Senior nurse Christine was delighted with the babygrows which she will give out to mums in need.
Everything distributed has been donated by you and will help now new babies in the local community. Mama feels that it is much better in use than being stored away, especially as many of the items have been in store for several years already and are surplus to our needs. 
It was all laundered to freshen it up before going on Mama's delieries!

Monday, 30 May 2016

Happy times ahead for our seven new arrivals

Mama with Baraka, Gift, Tumaini and their Aunt 
 A childhood free from worry is just beginning for seven children who have found a new home at Happy House.
Their arrival at the end of last week, follows that of the three boys  who had come to us a few days earlier.
Christine who runs Timboni Dispensary alerted  Mama and Uncle Billy to the plight of twins Tumaini and Gift,12, and their four year old brother, Baraka.
Welcome treat for Moffin, John Daudi and Diana
Their mum died recently and their father, who is in very poor health, is in his family home many miles from Watamu.
The boys have been in the care of their aunt who goes from house to house seeking menial chores, but  economic downturn which has affected the area for the past few years, has  left her  struggling provide for the boys needs – food, clothing, medical care or schooling.
The children, who were unkempt and uncertain of their future, were given a full medical check before being brought home to Happy House to begin a new life and where their auntie can visit whenever she can.
A rescue centre in Mombasa brought another four children to join our family.
John, 14, Diana, 9, and Daudi, five, are siblings but from different fathers.   After the death of their mum, who was mentally ill, they were taken into the care of their grandmother who later took ill and died.
They were taken to the rescue centre, which is meant to be a temporary measure, but had been there for more than a year.
Eight year old Moffin, had come to Mombasa from Western Kenya after the death of his mother and his twin sister had died of neglect from their alcoholic father,
Hello to Gift, Tumaini and Baraka
He was taken in by relatives in Mombasa but he was treated badly and Moffin was living on the streets when he was rescued.
Like all new arrivals they were given a warm welcome from all the family, and found plenty of young volunteers eager to show them around and to make them feel at home.
PLEASE can you sponsor a Happy House child? We are desperate for sponsors for children living in our care at Happy House and also for those kids, from abject poverty, who are on free place scholarships in our school.  £20 a month (that approx 65p a day) will sponsor a child and change their life, and your own, for ever. Please email elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net for details
If you you cannot sponsor but would like to make a donation to support our work with children in need, you can do this at https://www.justgiving.com/childrenofwatamu/Donate

Crafty cash

Thank you to Barbara Hall and Anne Harvey for raising £60 for Happy House with the sale of their handmade crafts at a table top sale at the Kilgrimol Centre, St Annes, Lancashire, on Saturday.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Our recreation room, by Baraka

 The older children at Happy House have a recreation room where they can chill out, listen to music and play games.
It's off limits to their little brothers and sisters who have loads of space to play.
Salama and Samson
Mama, who thinks of everything, wanted the big kids to have their own space.
And she also thought it would be where they could make best use of the  board games etc that have been so kindly donated.
Today Baraka, who is a member of the Kidz Council, writes:
"We are are very happy to have the recreation room. 
We would like to thank those who sent the things that we have in our recreation room - we have darts, playing cards, Wii, Playstation and DVDs.
We like to use the room for recreation and also for doing our homework.
We would like to thank Mama Sue for the television she brought from her house, and for the workers she sent to paint the room. It looks smart and we all love it.
It is just for the kids who are aged nine and above.
We really love that room and want to thank Mama Sue because if it was not for her we would not have our recreation room.
So thank you to our lovely Mama Sue and to all of you.
From Baraka Mkutano, sent with love."

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Surprise visit, birthday kids and crafty date

 There was a surprise visit for Margaret when Mama came to call. 
Happy House kid Margaret went back to live with her uncle and aunt in the Christmas holidays and has settled happily.
She was thrilled to see Mama and to tell her all her news. 
Mama took a bag of secondhand clothing from our store which Margaret's headteacher will distribute to those children in most need.
Margaret  takes her KCPE exam in November, and her new head says he is expecting her to achieve a good result as she is in the top three in her class.
She also continues to do well at sport, just as she did at Happy House.
Mama and Billy also called in to see Teddy and Saul, two little boys who had such a sad time when they were in the care of their mum and were taken into care of our family.
They are now back with their dad, who lives close to his sister and his mum who care for the boys when he is at work.
Uncle Billy with Teddy and Saul
Like Margaret they are well, happy and growing!

Crafty ladies 

Barbara Hall and her friend Anne Harvey will be having a craft stall at a fair at the Kigrimol Centre, Leach Lane, St Annes, Lancs, tomorrow from 10am. Please pop in and support them as every penny they raise will come to Happy House. Thank you ladies.

Birthday children

There were three birthdays to celebrate this week, with gifts presented to each of the children at Kidz Club.
Jacinta is nine, Husna is 10 and little Elizabeth Anne is one!
Happy birthday to you all.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Feeling our magic

Volunteer Gussy Bunbury is feeling the Happy House magic.
She writes: 
Although I have worked in schools all over the world, I have never before had the opportunity to work somewhere quite as special as Happy House.
 When I first arrived here, I wouldn’t have thought that these were children who had  come from so very little; their smiling faces and the roaring laughter you hear throughout the buildings were telling me otherwise. 
Mama Sue and Papa Dave have truly created something magical here. Every child, teacher, volunteer and visitor  cannot help but have a little bit of that magic rubbed off onto them
I have for sure.
When the children returned from Easter Break, they were excited to get back into their photography lessons, nearly as much was I am to be teaching them again. 
There is something so rewarding about teaching a child a skill and seeing their excitement at the prospect of doing something new; and the results have been fabulous. 
The children are getting to grips with the workings of a camera and are also learning about the editing side of photography. 
Focusing mainly on portraiture, their favourite subject matter, I now have a collection of stunning photographs which  each week seem to be getting better and better. 
I can see the children starting to build in confidence not just in front of the camera but also behind it, as they experiment more and more  with the composition and style of their photographs
Every child should be proud of what they have achieved in such little time

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Hoping for a future together

There was a joy when two little ones were reunited with their mum.
They were back together, happy and well.
Lesley and Ludwin were so poorly when they came to us 15 months ago. 
Their mum, Esther, totally defeated by her own circumstances had suffered a mental and physical breakdown and abandoned them overnight.
Already suffering physical ill health,  she had been left both broke and heartbroken when her husband left them taking with him their two older children and leaving her who the two youngest.
She had nothing and the vital medical care her children needed was beyond her means.
While Lesley and Ludwin have been in our safe care and restored to full health, Esther has taken great strides in  getting well and turning her own life around with the aim of giving her children a loving home again.
The first steps towards this are now being taken, and if Mama, Uncle Billy and the children's department are happy she can give them a stable home,  we will enable this to happen. Lesley and Ludwin would remain in our family with free places in our school plus books, uniforms, shoes, meals and medical care. This way we can help them as a family, but also keep a watchful eye on their progress.
Providing education is a lifeline to lone parents like Esther.
That she loves her children is not in doubt, and to see her children's faces light up when they saw her tells us how much they love her too,.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

School Report: Drive against measles comes to school and top class kids

It may just be a sharp scratch,  but this boy wasn't at all impressed.
A massive  National Measles-Rubella Immunisation Campaign, being undertaken by the Ministry of Health, rolled in to Happy House School.
The Ministry, in partnership with UNICEF and WHO, is sending health workers to immunise  all children aged from 9 months to 14, plus all girls and women,. aged 14 to 49, are receiving Maternal Neonatal Tetanus vaccination in 24 high-risk sub counties including Kalifi.
Health Principal Secretary, Dr Nicholas Muraguri, said the immunisation drive, the largest ever carried out in Kenya, , sought to ensure both maternal and child survival in Kenya
Class 3
“Vaccines keep children alive and healthy by protecting them against disease. However, in Kenya, vaccine preventable diseases remain a major challenge with an estimated 450,000 children not fully immunised,” said  a UNICEF statement.
Also, this week top performing classes in the recent exams received the Best Class Awards, Class 3 was best in lower primary, while Class 5 took the trophy for upper primary.
Class 5
Well done kids.


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Kits for kids in the community

Once again our Happy House ethos of "sharing and caring" has extended out to youngsters in the local community.
We have received several new football kits recently and so Mama Sue decided that the older ones, which have been in regular use for up to four years,  should now be given out to local youth teams.
Munga, who does our electrical work, is very much involved in organising youth football locally, was invited to bring three teams along on Saturday so they could try the kits for size.
The Silver Bullets, Timboni Youth and  Junior Stars were thrilled to to be given their own kits.
For these kids the kits will give them a real sense of pride and help them to up their game.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Celebration of life with love and laughter

May 20 is an important day on the Happy House calendar as it is on this day we hold our annual Celebration of Life.
To Mama Sue, who instigated this special day, it is an emotional occasion as it marks the anniversary of her beloved father, Harold Hayes. He was, and is, a driving force in her life and his sudden death in 1999 that put her on the road that was to lead to the Happy House.
She was so distraught at her loss, that Papa Dave fearing for her health suggested a holiday which took them to Kenya in early 2000.
 The rest is, as they say, history.
As almost everyone in our Happy House family, however young, has experienced the loss of a loved one, Mama thought it important for the children to know they can celebrate their memory with love and laughter and to celebrate all they have in their own lives too.
Mama Sue told them how her dad had left a lasting influence on her own life, and how she celebrated her own life too - with thanks to Dr Danwata, the consultant oncologist, a man from humble beginnings,  who saved her life and in whose honour she named the Dr Danwata Scholarship Scheme,
And this year was a celebration indeed, with every child taking part.
There were inspirational displays of talent, from song and dance, to acrobatics and drumming.
The colour, vibrance and pure joy of those taking part was a true dedication to the memory of those they loved who are no longer with them
It was also a chance to say thank you to the woman whose vision has brought them the blessings, happiness and education they have today - Mama Sue.
And the children did it in their own way.
The afternoon ended with juice and biscuits.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

My friends by Fatuma

Fatuma (l) and Sanita
Happy House kid, Fatuma, is this week's junior blogger:
My name is Fatuma Said. I am 10 years old.
This is a blog about my friends.
My best friends are Jacinta, Mariam and Sanita, We like to play and to do things together.
I also love Charity, Nicolas, Eve, Elizabeth and Abdulmalik. I like to help the small children.
My favourite aunties are Aunty Phillis and Auntie Lydia. We help Auntie Phillis in the kitchen. 
I thank Mama Sue, Papa Dave and Auntie Libby for everything you do for us. You are ptrecious gifts to society. 
Mama Sue, Papa Dave and Auntie Libby you have made us smile.
May God bless you.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Three boys come home to Happy House

Three boys whose lives have been blighted by sadness and loss have come home to Happy House.
Brothers Brian  and Nickson Ali Makotsi have been living in the care of an aunt since their dad died last December.
Their mum suffers from mental health problems and has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Mombasa.
Their Aunt Eunice, a widow, has seven children of her own and struggles to make ends meet.
Her eldest son has made it to university in Nairobi, thanks to public funding, but had been sent home to purchase a laptop, Eunice went begging to but the laptop but was unable to stretch to the amount needed for his fare back to Nairobi.
Being the sole breadwinner for her own family, plus Brian, 6, and Nickson, four, and their elder brother has driven her to breaking point. The older brother, who is in form 2 secondary, has recently dropped out of school because there were no fees.
Brian and Nickson are now in our care and Mama has provided Eunice with the fare for her son to get back to university to continue his accountancy studies.
Ten year old Khalid Ali Muhammed was referred by the Child Protection centre after being dumped in Malindi by an aunt who had previously taken him into her care and moved with him to Mombasa.
The case was reported to the police who are trying to trace his family members. Sadly, he had been temporarily accommodated in a remand centre along with young people in conflict with the law.
Mama offered Khalid a home with our Happy House family until his case is resolved.
And for all three boys, Happy House is their home for as a long as they need it.
We desperately need more sponsors for our Happy House kids and those, from the local community,from abject poverty, on free places in our school. It costs £20 a month to change a child's life - and your own - forever. Please email elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net
for details.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Birthdays for four

Kidz Club  was a very happy occasion with a fruity treat for everyone.
Juicy mango halves were served up in celebration of Auntie Rose's birthday.
There were more birthdays to celebrate too, with greeting and gifts for Fautuma Said,10, Ashura,four, and  twins Jonathan and James, five.
Happy birthday to you all.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Our first child returns home

Our first Happy House kid, Benedict, has come back home.
Benedict made Happy House history when he was the first child to come into our care in February 2010.
Tragicall his mum had died within a very short time of the death of his dad and Benedict's relative, distraught at this doubel loss, were unable to cope with the demands of a four year old boy.
But they remained in touch and a after a few years they had turned their lives around and his grandparents were able to take him home to live comfortably with them. He remained in Happy House school.
Sadly, his grandad has recently suffered a massive stroke leaving his grandma the sole breadwinner for the family and carer for her husband.
This is causing a huge strain on both the grandma and on Benedict who has been struggling at school.
After talking things over with grandma, Mama has offred to take Benedict back home with our family for a month while their situation is reviewed.
Mama has always promised that the Happy House will always be a home to a child in need for however long they need it, and once again it is a port in a storm at the time of crisis for Ben and his family.
He is secure and happy in the second home he knows so well.
Welcome home Benedict, once a Happy House kid, always a Happy House kid.
*We desperately need sponsors for children living in our family and those, from abject poverty, who are on free place scholarships in our school.  £20 a month will help to make our vital work possible.  Please CAN you help? Contact: elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

School Report: Playtime in the sand

Week two of the new term has been dominated by exams, writes Madam Sarah.
Classses six, seven and eight have been taking their district examinations which are taken by all schools in the area.
They have been working hard and are hoping to bring good results to make their school proud.
In secondary school, Form 1 has also had  exams  
Playgroup and Baby Class have been getting creative in the sandpit at break times.
They have been building houses and making roads and channels and having so much fun.
Others enjoy the swings.
Primary and Kindergarten children get to play together at breaktime and rope games are always popular with the children singing songs as they turm the rope.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Pick up a postcard ...and post a smile!

Brian, Charity and Said
 Now that summer is on the way, so is the holiday season.
And  here's a timely reminder to the lovely friends who are in the sponsor families of of our kids.
Please send your sponsor child a postcard.
Picture postcards of the places you visit open a window on the wider world for our children.
They teach them about other countries, they can marvel over seascapes, landscapes and landmarks - from the ancient ruins of Greece to the bright lights of Blackpool!
Every picture tells a story and fires the imagination.
And then there are the greetings you write, your messages give your child a little snapshot of your life and tell them how much you care.
Neema, Lovinne and Natasha
So please, please, when you go somewhere new or different, for a day trip or longer just take a minute to pick up a postcard.
It's guaranteed to bring a smile!
*Thanks to Angie and Colin Carmon for their cards sent to Natasha and Neema from one of their recent road trips and to Chloe Groves for postcards from her skiing trip sent to Brian, Charity, Said and Lovinne.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Saturday games

 After a busy two hours of learning and lifeskills, Saturday mornings are being dedicated to fun and games.
Keen to ensure the kids have fun whilst making full use of  resources donated to Happy House, Mama has introduced games from 10am to noon.
All the Happy House kids and scholarship kids come in on Saturdays and from 8am to 10am they will brush up on times tables, spelling, telling the time and extra study plus the usual lideskills.
But now after two hours, they will be recharging their betteries by relaxing with all kinds of games including volleyball, netball, skittles, badminton, cricket, tennis and croquet.
It's also a chance for kids to learn new games with those who already know showing the kids who are new,
Even the little ones, who are free to play all Saturday, joined in with Esther and her little gang having fun with a mini football.
And using all this energy makes them hungry and ready for lunch and they all love Saturday as it is also pizza day!
This time cook Aunty Phillis topped the pizzas with cooked chicken -with  the meat coming from birds reared by our secondary school agricultural class,

Sunday, 15 May 2016

My best aunty, by Zawadi

 Happy House kid Zawadi and her sister Jane are living back in the community, with their Aunt who is now able to give them a home.
But they are still very much Happy House kids as they stll come to our school and are at Happy House every Saturday for activities. 
 Zawadi writes today's blog about one of her favourite people.
My best aunty is Aunty Phillis.
She is brown like chocolate.
She is not very tall, she is short.
I like her because if I have anything  to talk about I can tell her.
She is kind and I love her very much.
Aunty Phillis is the Happy House cook.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Lessons are not just for children

The importance of parent involvement was highlighted by by Mama Sue and headteacher, Md Milka, when they spoke to a gathering of parents and guardians  of our children in Happy House School yesterday.
While teachers do all they can,  a child's education also requires support and encouragement from home.
It was the first parents' meeting of the new term and a first for those whose children have just joined us on our Dr Danwata Scholarship Scheme.
Afterwards Class Eight, who will be tatking their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam in November, were reminded of the need to work hard as time will go over very quickly.
 As growing young people, they also received a deodorant each and guidance on how it should be used.
Today, Mama and her team will be talking to classes six and seven in an effort to get them focussed on achieving their very best.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Napping in style

Our tiny tots can nap in comfort now the beds in Happy House School nursery department have been given a new lease of life.
The metal beds were getting the worse for wear and showing signs of rust. 
But after being dismantled, cleaned down and repainted they are as good as new.
To finish them the mattresses have been re-covered in a breathable, waterproof, fabric which can easily be wiped down.
The mattress covers, in the school's signature red., were made by our machinist Lucy.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Their good health is our joy

Their tragic start behind them,  Ludwin and Lesley are on the road to a happy, healthy, childhood.
The sister and brother were in a terrible state when they joined our family in February 2015 having been abandoned by their mum who had suffered a mental and physical breakdown,
Ludiwn, who will two in June, and Lesley, four, were both very poorly children and have needed regular visits to the clinic and have often required medication.
But now, theres every reason to celebrate as Ludiwn has been given a clean bill of health and discharged by the clinic.
Lesley is also in good health but will have to go back in a few weeks , hopefully for the last time as he, too, is making such good progress.
The difference in these two children is just amazing. Without the Happy House, and its magic, it is almost certain that they would not have survived.
But they have overcome the odds, and to see Ludwin engrossed in doing a doll''s hair and Lesley, who was so so withdrawn, wanting to show off  with a coconut shell on his head just melts our hearts.
We are overjoyed with their progress, and grateful to every one of you who supports what we do.
Your donations save lives.
It costs £20 a month, that's approx 65p a day, to sponsor a Happy House child and change a life.
If you would like to sponsor a child please email: elizabethgomm@childrenofwatamu.net

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

School Report: Quick start for keen kids

The new term got off to a happy start with a school parade and assembly, writes computer studies and French teacher, Mr Omoi, who  brings us this week's report from Happy House School.
He adds:Pupils were pleased to be back after three weeks holidays.
Once in class it was straight back to work with "wake-up" exams which are aimed to sharpen their minds and get them fully back into the learning mode.
There were no exams for the nursery classes, but they too were right back to lessons with everyone enjoying the familiar school routine

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The name says it all

We always say the Happy House is what it says on the gates - a happy house, full of happy kids.
And a party of visitors from Nairobi agreed that it was very aptly named.
They were members of the Association of Charitable Children's Institutions in Kenya.
The Happy House had been suggested to by the Children's Department when they had been at the Child Welfare Society,  an organisation which deals with a diverse range of child-focused services.
They were given a tours of Happy House and our school and had plenty of time to meet the kids - and they loved what they saw.
Speaking on behalf of them all, Elizabeth (third from right) said: "Whoever coined the name Happy House was genuinely right because children are evidently Happy!’’
 She added that our children had  invited them for a visit during  weekend for a fellowship session and to come ready for some football, volleyball, netball,  rope skipping  and a dancing competition."
We were delighted to see them and grateful for the food they brought as a gift for our family.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Plane sailing

 Charo our joiner has an incredibly busy workshop upstairs at Happy House.
It's been so busy that we have taken on another joiner to work with him, Plus we have a third who work on an ad hoc basis.
Charo at work
They can turn their hands to anything and among the furniture they have made are dining tables and benches for home and school, beds, desks, cupboards and most recently, stools for the science laboratory,.
They had already fitted out the lab, and have added new shelves to the school library, 
There is still much more to do as much of the furniture, secondhand when it was shipped out six years ago, is now in need of replacement,.
They still has to make.more desks and beds and we are also coming up to needing chairs to replace the old ones. 
Anything needed, including doors and windows, has been made in Charo's workshop.
To make their work easier, and faster, Mama made the decision to buy an £800 table saw/plane.
It took an army of men to carry it upstairs to the workshop,with Papa overseeing the operation. 
It did cost a lot of money, but with the Happy House and our three schools to keep equipped and maintained it will be worth its very heavy weight in gold!