Sunday, 31 December 2017

My ambition by Doris and our new classrooms rise rapidly

Scholarship student Doris today shares her amibiton:
When I grow up I would like to be a doctor, specialising in surgery.
Knowing many people are dying of serious diseases because of lack of well trained and learned doctors has given me motivation and courage to go on with this dream.  
I would like to save the innocent lives of those who are indeed in need of my help. I would be available and affordable for everyone.    
 The support we are being given here at Happy House gives me strength.e. Truly this is a
really magic family.
My ambition  has always be in my deep nerves and I truly believe that it will come true one day. Only through hard work and determination,
Every dream can come true.  I have decided to work extra hard in my studies, take everything seriously and of course follow what my teacher’s want me to do.

You've been framed

Doors and windows have gone in,  Jay the electrician has got the wiring done as our four new classrooms rise rapidly.
It's just amazing how fast Carlos, our builder, and his team have worked to turn our school extension plan into a reality.
Other craftsmen are all set to get to work with the target of being finished by the start of the new school term on Tuesday, or very soon afterwards.
These pictures taken a couple of days ago have come courtesy of  Happy house kid Musyoka who very kindly took them for us.
And, I'm sure you'll agree, she's done a very good job.
Thank you to everyone who has fundraised to make this happen, or who has made a donation, you are truly changing lives of children by helping us to give them the best education in the best possible conditions.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Welcome back to our friends

Mama, Papa and the Happy House family were thrilled to see old friend Fiona Lockyer and her twin daughters, Hebe and Imogen, back in Watamu for Christmas. 
They brought with them lots of lovely things for our kids including sweet, stationary, cakes, story books, a badminton game along with essential like sanitary pads.
The family held a special kids club for our guests when everyone enjoyed singing and dancing.
The kids were  delighted when they were all given some sweets,
Fiona and the girls also had a chance to catch up with their sponsor kids , twins Baraka and Amani.
Later Papa took them down to school so they could see how it's progressed since their last visit and to see the ongoing constriction of our four new classrooms.
Many, many thanks to Fiona, Hebe, and Imogen for all the thinks they have brought and for raising £1140 as team Lockyer on Justgiving in donations from friends and relatives.
Our thanks to everyone who gave so generously.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Band of brothers

What a band of brothers these five boys are. 
Hassan, Musyoka, Brian, John and Samson.have so enjoyed being back together for the Christmas holiday and they have been a great help with moving materials to school
Mama, so proud of her boys, says:
Musyoka said “Parents do all they can for their children, so the children should help the parents. "
How lovely for Dave and I,  not just their help but being classed as parents to the children.  
Musyoka, Samson and Hassan were three of our earliest Happy House kids, Musyoka has recently returned after being with his grandad because his school had changed staff and was failing him, his brother and sister and understanding the importance if schooling he asked to come back.
Samson didn't want to go on a home visit this time, and no child is ever made to, while Brian has no one to go to and John would go to friends but they had travelled.
Hassan has lived with his aunt for two years and came back for Christmas. When he asked if he could stay on for a while Mama of course said yes.
All our kids know that Once a Happy House Kid, Always a Happy House Kid.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Home for the holiday

Many of our children  have been on home visits to relatives.
After being collected, they travelled to their respective villages to enjoy some time at Christmas with family members who whilst being able to take them for a few days, are not in a position to give them a long term home.
Home visits are important as these ensures a strong bond with their family members whilst also a  having good time to relax before starting school early January.
Pictured are: far left. Rukia and Said with their grandma,  top right: Husna and Hussein with their grandma and below right Stephano, Jessica and Purity with their aunt.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Classrooms in the making

All the stops pulled out to get our four new classrooms finished in time for the new year.
With costs rising escalating, every effort to minimise our spend.  Joiner Charo has made all the doors and window frames, Papa Dave has been talking to local businesses to see how they could help and has received some kind donations of nails, bags of cement, sand etc.
And the kids have worked so hard to collect stones around the Happy House grounds to be used for for ballast and transported them down the lane to school - another contribution to keeping the costs costs down.
Mama joked in her Christmas message that  her reply to Papa telling her "Rome wasn't built in a day" was "It would have been if I was clerk of works!"
And she wasn't kidding. When Mama wants a job done, no one lets the grass grow under their feet.
The building is going on rapidly and is on course to be ready for school opening in early January.
We are grateful to everyone who has fundraised or made donations to our building fund, to make a donation go to:

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Christmas message from Mama Sue

 A Christmas message from Mama Sue, filmed on Christmas Eve but thanks to the mysteries of the internet it arrived a little too late to publish on Christmas  Day.
It's a very special message to each and every one of you in which Sue gives you a glimpse into her heart and that of our family.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas

Today, as you open your presents, please take a moment to think about our Happy House and what we give to the children who come into our care.
We give them love, security, education, discipline and direction.  
Kids who have lived on the streets, suffered hardship, neglect or tragedy are lost and lonely beings  when they arrive, we turn their lives around and put hope into their hearts.
The greatest gift is not material, it's giving them a childhood where they have the freedom to grow and play and where fear, hunger and neglect are things of the past.
Our Mama Sue and Papa Dave have built a Happy House family where love is the driving force.
Your support makes their work possible and brings sunlight flooding into lives where darkness had dominated.
We hope you have a lovely day, Merry Christmas.
Tomorrow's blog will be Mama's Christmas message. Don't miss it.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Love is ...

Who needs mistletoe when you are this cute?
Two of our little ones enjoy a spontaneous Christmas clinch, without a sprig of mistletoe in sight.
Ludwin, three, and Hussein, two, are just the best of friends and when it's Christmas and all is wel; in your world what's better than giving you forever friend a great big hug.
That these two children, who come from backgrounds of despair, now have a life without a care in the world is all because of the childhood our Happy House is giving them.
You, our friends, are our forever friends. Your support makes our work possible.
We want to thank you for all you do and to ask, now and in the coming year, if you could please tell your friends about our Happy House, or maybe hold a fundraising event.
If you would like to make a donation for Christmas please go to:

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Gifts to in-Spire

Gifts galore for our Happy House family were hand-delivered by Joanne and Peter Reid.
Many of the items were donated by Jo's friends and colleagues at Spire Fylde Coast hospital, Blackpool.
Jo had put out an appeal  prior to setting off for Kenya and her colleagues responded, just as they have in previous years, by donating lots of useful items including clothes, toiletries, educational aids  and sporting  equipment.
Jo  and Pete also brought large  two parcels of new clothing very kindly given by Jackie Fineman, who sponsors Charity and Stevie.
There were also gifts donated by family friends.
Jo and Pete's son, Jacob, who flew in from Malta to join them brought a bag of gifts donated by his friends on the island.
Jo, who sponsors Florence,was delighted to see her little girl again.
During their stay Jo, a nurse, presented a practical display of first aid and life saving techniques,
Staff and children attended.
 Jo talked about reviving people, the recovery position,  How to get help and how to give emergency first aid for cuts, burns and broken bones..
Pete, as you will have seen on earlier blogs, underwent a sponsored headshave -much to the amusement of our kids - which has raised £648.
Thank you to Jo, Pete and Jacob. You are such good friends to our family, and many thanks to all those contributed to their appeal for items to bring.
Your generosity will help our family enormously. 

Friday, 22 December 2017

Thank you x 2

We have some special thank-yous today to people who go the extra mile to help our Happy House family.
Ryan, a  pupil at St Aidan's CE High School, Preesall, Lancashire,  turned up at school yesterday morning with a jar full of cash to hand over to a very surprised teacher, Joanne Rossall, head of K7.
Mrs Rossall's form sponsors Stevie Karisa. She said: "Ryan met me this morning with the news that last Christmas he made a  resolution that he was going to save money for The Happy House this year. 
"Here he is with his jar full of money collected by his family. "
Joanne is hoping he will get a Headteacher's Commendation for his effort, we hope so too.  Young people like Ryan are the future generation of supporters for our Happy House.
Thank you, Ryan.

Sew good!

Crafty friends Patricia Beechey and Anna have made a donation of £530  towards our Classrooms for Kids appeal.from Say it with Stitches UK which is all the money they have raised  at Christmas craft fairs near where they live in Surrey.
 Pat, a former headteacher, managed to call on some ex colleagues and along with  her friend Anna  they were able to produce enough items to run  four stalls over the last few weeks.
 "You can imagine we are very proud of ourselves! Our fingers hurt from stitching and knitting. 
"The selling was also pretty hard going, as everyone appears to be watching their pennies. "We did however spread the word about the Happy House and people were more than pleased to buy from us, for such a good cause.
."At one fair I calculated that I was selling an item every 6 minutes. I think I missed my vocation!
" We are now currently planning our items for  Valentines and Mother's Day."
You can buy lovely crafted items from Pat and Anna via Facebook @Say it with Stitches UK
Thank you Pat, Anna and friends for your wonderful efforts for our Happy House family and to everyone who bought your beautiful items.
Happy sewing!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Sky Blues kit out our kids

Kids at Happy House are sporting the Coventry City colours thanks to the kindness of Sky Blues in the Community.
Sky Blues football development manager, Chloe Groves, hand delivered a whole selection of shirts and shorts to the football mad youngsters at Happy House where she sponsors six-year-old Said.
 On a pre-Christmas visit to Happy House she packed her bags full soccer gear which will be used by by kids at home and in school.
Mama Sue said: “We are very grateful to Chloe and Sky Blues in the Community.”
With Said (L) and Brian.
 Based at the Ricoh Arena, Sky Blues in the Community is formerly a department of Coventry City Football Club formed in 1993 to deliver football in the community initiatives on behalf of the club.
The organisation became a registered charity in December 2008, financially independent from the football club and governed by an independent Board of Trustees. It is supported by the Football League Trust, which oversees the work of community schemes at the 72 Football League clubs.
Chloe was delighted to see the children’s excitement when she unpacked the shirts
She said: “They were all so excited and we had volunteers from every direction wanting to put on a shirt for a photo.” said Chloe “their faces lit up when they pulled on a shirt!
 “Children of Watamu is a small charity doing amazing work to change the lives of children in need and is entirely funded by fundraising, donations and it’s child sponsor team.  
 I love sponsoring Said, he’s such a lively little boy and into everything!”

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

A bond distance cannot break

Overwhelmed by a tidal wave of love, I say my goodbyes to Mama Sue, Papa Dave and our Happy House family.
In the past seven years of travelling to help at Happy House there have been more than a dozen farewells, writes Elizabeth Gomm. 
with Pendo and Morphin
It doesn't get easier.
This time, the affection of the kids, those living with us and others just back for a Christmas holiday, is almost tangible.
Loving these children is easy, they capture hearts with every breath they take. 
The kids of Kenya won my heart 10 years ago when Sue, then still living in Blackpool, showed me some film footage of the children who had motivated her mission to build her Happy House.
It was then just a seed of an idea,
Morphin and me
From that day on, I have have been doing all I can support Sue in cultivating her seed to fruition, and to providing the regular income required to sustain it and keep it growing as a flourishing entity, where broken lives are made whole again..
I have also become Auntie Libby to every  one of the children who has passed through our doors and those being educated in our schools.
It is my joy and my privilege to love these children.
But to know the love I give is returned, and to feel its warmth,  is truly wonderful. 
It's just like the words of one of our favourite Happy House songs:  
Love is something if you give it away
Give it away, give it away
Love is something if you give it away
You end up having more
It's just like a magic penny
Hold it tight and you won't have any
Lend it, spend it, and give it away

And it will come right back to you.
In the last three weeks I have had so many magical moments.
Take little  David, running towards me, with his lips puckered ready for a kiss
Esther, another child I have known since she was just a  scrap of life, rushing up, wide eyed, for a big hug
Saying goodbye
Hearing Abdulmalik, usually shy of newcomers, shouting "Auntie Libby Auntie Libby" every time he sees me.
When I take his picture, he blows me kisses!
Michelle, one of our newer arrivals, snuggling up close and Stevie slipping his little hand into mine.
There more moments like these, involving other youngsters, that will live on in my memory always.  
Now back in the cold, the thoughts of them will bring the sunshine flooding back into my life.
It will keep me warm on the chilliest day
I will think of Musyoka, now a strong and confident young man as we shared memories of when he came to Happy House as a little boy. 
And of Evans who is so kind and firm with his Happy House brothers and sisters. He shows them respect and receives it in return. He came to Happy House as a little boy and now in secondary school he wants to be a social worker. What an excellent one he will be.
My Pendo, who I have sponsored since she was three, now an absolute beauty. Strong-willed, she knows her own mind, but is gentle and kind.
And how she loves to dance.
Natasha, Pendo and Morphin
There's Morphin, a nine year old powerhouse, intelligent, active and affectionate.
I've named a few. I could go on, if there were time, tell you about each of our Happy house kids, they all hold an equal place in my heart.
No two stories would be the same. Every child is very much his or her own person. 
They may live together, but they not institutionalised.
That they can develop into such strong characters, maintaining their individuality,is down to their Mama Sue. 
She wants her kids to grow up knowing their own minds and confident to speak up for themselves.
Her flock of lambs will never be sheep.
Our Happy House is, as I have said before, what it says on the gates. A HAPPY house.
And as those gates close behind me as I leave I can hear the voices and the laughter of our children.
Those sounds, and the love of our family, will sustain me until I go back again.
Thank you my dearest friends, Mama and Papa, for creating this wonderful family and for making me a part of it.
I will love you always.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Exploring nature

You can walk the same path every day and always find something new lo look at.
So going on a nature walk is a journey of discovery for our children.
They enjoyed a morning enjoying looking, listening and touching the wonders of the natural world.
Smelling flowers, picking up stones, looking for birds and listening to their song, and seeking out insects and butterflies.
The kids, enjoying every minute, are finding out what beautiful surroundings they have on their doorstep.
They do happen across an unusual find -a model elephant. It provides a perfect opportunity for Mr Omoi to take a picture!
Despite the heat everyone has great fun, even the youngest member of our family, Emmanuel, goes along and walks for as long as his little legs will carry him!
After a morning of exploration, teachers and children make their way home. A happy band with stories to tell.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Life's a beach

The children's faces light up as soon as they hit the beach, writes Elizabeth Gomm.
The white sand warm beneath their feet, they are soon in their swimsuits and while the older ones run towards the crystal clear waters of the Indian ocean, the little people plonk themselves down to build sandcastles.
Each child does their own thing, some quite happy to dig away on their own, whilst others prefer to play together giggling as their castles get bigger.
The oldest kids stay nearer the water, where the sand is wet and more compact and better for the game of football.
The tide is just turning and starting to come in when we arrive, so the beach is still vast.  Teachers go down to water with the children who want to go into the sea.  It's a splashing time. 
Peter and David lie in the shallows, their tummies touching the sand, and pretend they are swimming. Nickson grabs a hand full of seaweed and runs around showing it off.
A beach boy brings over a puffer fish and a couple of starfish for the children to inspect.
He answers their questions before returning the fish, all puffed up, to the sea..
The fresh air and freedom of being on the beach brings absolute joy to our family.
Aspiring acrobats have a practice with the soft sand making an ideal landing surface, and the oldest kids, football game over, clamber up on the rock . From the distance they look like characters in a scene from a children's adventure story! 
At snack time they all gather to enjoy halves of mango, juicy and sweet. Elizabeth, already covered in sand, now has sand mixed with mango juice all over her face.  She's a picture of concentration and contentment!
Snacks over, they return to their play.
Look around and there are clusters of Happy House kids all over the beach -. Girls walking and talking; small kids jumping in the shallows; boys doing cartwheels . Everyone is happy and, as ever, there is never any squabbling.
Our kids are the most amazing people. They are, as there Mama has taught them, a caring and sharing family.
They love and help each other.
When it's time to get ready to leave, they change into their clothes in the beach shelter and then gather for the long walk back to Happy House. It's nearing noon and the sun is blazing.
I walk back with Rose Safari, Neema Kanze and David Hayward.  David isn't too fast so we are near the back.
The kids chat away to me as we go, Rose asking lots of questions.
On the lane leading to Happy House, David stops to talk to a goat.
We see two massive spiders, and Neema goes looking for squirrels. She's stung by nettles put knows which leaves to rub on the sting to ease it.
By now, we  have lost sight of the others as we dawdle with David but we're having such an interesting time it really doesn't matter.
When we eventually get home, the kids run off to take showers and wash off the sand, before lunch.
It's been a morning of pure pleasure and I am so happy I was there to share it.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Making things last

Everything we are given is used until it falls apart!
It's  seven years since our friend Terry Burns from Burnley, political officer for Unite in the NW, came to visit bringing with him a Unite the Union flag and t-shirts.
They are still very much in use.
For our Christmas celebrations, teacher Mr Omoi, Mr Steve and Mr Kelvin put on a comedy sketch for the family.
And  essential parts of any Christmas comedy are the props and costumes.
The flag came out for the show,  and Mr Omoi and Mr Kelvin sported Carlisle United football jackets from kits which were given to us this year, plus they and Mr Steve had headgear - a hard hat and a couple of cycle helmets which are kept in store, and the football they used was from our sports store.
The comic trio had everyone laughing as they went through their routine.
Also, brought by Terry, the Unite t-shirts have also been in use.
 They were worn for our end of term show, as were t-shirts donated by the London School in Rome in 2016.
Both sets of t-shirts have been worn and washed many times and they still have lots of life left in them.
It's important to us for you to know much we value what you send and how we take great care of it. We will make it last as long as we can!

Friday, 15 December 2017

Christmas cut above!

Peter Reid is feeling like a millionhair after losing his locks in a Christmas headshave at Happy House.
He's brought in more than £600 for our family by seeing his 'fro go!
Papa Dave brought in a local barber to do the deed as part of our festive celebrations, but first Janet, Rukia and Jedida unpicked the braids they'd done for him on Monday.
Then with kids all around, the barber got to work shearing through months of carefully nurtured curls.
As the pile of hair falling to the floor grew, the cheers got louder.
The barber carried on cutting and getting towards the end, we conceded by letting Pete keep just light covering but only if he had an HH for Happy House emblazoned to one side.
Peter, a Lytham businessman who is visiting happy House with his wife Joanne and son, Jacob, lost his hair when he had chemotherapy treatment for cancer. It took some growing back, so to put himself through losing it all again means a lot to us.
But Peter, who thankfully has been given the all-clear from cancer, feels a cut above having raised his target towards the new classrooms we need.
Thank you Pete for being such a good sport and to all your friends who supported you with sponsorship.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Santa calls in

 Smiles greeted Santa when he landed his sleigh at Happy House.
Around 150 kids jumped up and down singing Jingle Bells when, having parked his sleigh and out his reindeer out to grass,  Santa dropped in with sacks full of presents.
Our early Christmas Day started on a sweet not with a traditional treat, a sweet doughnut called mahambra, for breakfast.
They enjoyed every mouthful, and having got scrubbed up and changed they all gathered in the big banda to singing some Christmas songs, led by volunteer Rose Safari,  while they waited to hear Santa ring his bell.

Just before 10am to a rousing chorus of Jingle Bells, Santa and his elfin helper, made their entrance through gates which had been bedecked with woven palm leaves and bougainvillea flowers.
With kids rushing to greet him. Santa  made his way slowly towards the banda - a posse of excited kids in his wake.
Most have spent Christmas in our family before, some since we opened seven years ago, but for those who arrived in the last year our kind of Christmas is a totally new experience
Over the next hour and a half, Santa gave out presents to every child.
Handed their gift bag each  went back to their seat, eager to take a  peep inside their goody back and that of their friends, showing off what Santa and his helpers had packed up for them.
Once everyone had received their gifts, Santa waved goodbye to thanks and cheers from Mama Sue, Papa Dave and all our family.
With an hour or so left til lunch, our teachers put on a bit of a show with comedy, songs and more.
And while Papa Dave nipped out to the village to fetch the barber, Janet, Rukia and Jeddy go to work on Pete Reid's locks taking out the braids ready for him to undergo his headshave which has raised more than £600 in sponsorship  (pictures and story on tomorrow's blog!)
In the kitchen lunch was being prepared, and with all the family seated in the banda, along with guests Brenda, Red and Chloe Groves; Peter, Joanne and Jacob Reid, and Susana Gregorio, it was served.
Everyone tucked in to pliau rice and spiced chicken - just as requested by the children.
Afterwards, it was time to play -  each child doing exactly what they wished.
Later we all gathered in the lounge to watch a slideshow pictures old and new, with laughs and shrieks as the kids recognised themselves and their friends over the years
After half and hour of family snaps, we headed outside - leaving behind the one or two for whom the excitement and food had all been a bit too much and they'd dropped off the sleep
- to watch an impromptu performance  by our acrobats.
Earlier in the day Mama had talked about how Christmas is about much more than having gifts, and that the most important thing was that they were all together as a family -haring and caring. 
And what a truly amazing family we have. Thank you to all of you who support us and who enable us to give children, who have suffered loss, extreme hardship or neglect, a childhood they will be able to look back on with a smile.
To make a donation to help us to make lives brighter please go to