Monday, 30 April 2018

Baking cakes

There's been a whole lot of baking going on.
Mama had another tasty surprise up her sleeve when the children helped to bake butterfly cakes.
They cooked up some splendid buns, but instead of the usual buttercream iciing, Mama had bought ice-cream which made them super n-ice!
Janet, Natasha and Rukia are pictured with some of the buns.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Happy meals, by Samson

Everybody was happy when the school closed for the holidays.
In the first week we  had computer fun.  We learnt a lot of things including about sending and receiving messages through emailing.
 Then the second week we had spellings and times table competitions I was among the ones who were good in times table and in spelling I was also perfect! This week we had home visiting for the Happy House kids to go and visit their grandpas and grandmas at home.
 With Mama Sue we did pancakes for snacks for the ones who remained behind. They were sweet and delicious.
 The pancakes were finger-licking and you could have as many as you would like to eat. 
Everyone enjoyed the pancakes that were cooked by our lovely Mama. 
We also had burgers for lunch which were also delicious as well.
I LOVE EATING BURGERS, thank you Mama.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Tuning in

 With so many kids away on home visits, Kidz Club this week was not quite as noisy as it usually is.
As there were no birthdays to celebrate, it was devoted to singing contest with boys against 
The kids were in full voice and sang there hearts out, accompanied by Aunty Linda Newman  and Aunty DawnHeather White. 
Uncle Ronald had the weighty task of choosing a winning choir. After a great deal of thought he awarded this week's tip award to the girls.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Mama's burger bar!

Mama Sue always tries to make it a special time for the kids left at home at Happy House while others are visiting relatives.
And so there are lots of treats and lots of fun.
Mama has been in the kitchen helping to make and supervise some lovely surprises.
Number one was homemade burgers, with salad.
The children absolutely loved them, just as they love their Mama!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Home visits

It's quieter than usual at Happy House as quite a lot of our children have gone on home
 visits to relatives.

As this is the last week of the school holidays, those youngsters who have relatives who are able to give them a few days in their homes, are back in the community.
Not all are able to go, but where it is at all possible we encourage visits and enable them to happen.
Uncle Ronnie, our social worker, said: "Our aim is to see the bond between our kids and their people back home is maintained and strengthened.
 Sometimes we have to give them bus fares and even food tol support them for the days they will be at home.
To those who remain at Happy House, Mama normally have special treats for them for the whole week. 
This ensures they feel special and do not miss their friends being around. We always explain to them why they are not able to go.
Almost half of our kids  went home this week and they will be back Monday.  In the meantime, I check up regularly to make sure all is ok with those who are not here."
School resumes on Wednesday next week, so those who have been on visits will have a full day to prepare themselves for the new term.
Pictured top left are Natasha Thoya and grandma; top right Priscilla and grandma and bottom right, Lily and Pendo with their mum.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

A show of skills and bingo fun

The formal holidays activity programme ended on a high when our children staged a show.
The aim was to illustrate the skills they had learnt and developed over two weeks of computer lesson, times tables, science and spellings activities.
Older students in our school had assisted as student 'teachers".
The day with a computer show where four groups presented their work,
Group 1 had prepared  a slideshow on classification of computers. Jacinta explained the presentation while Douglas Tumaini and Chonya Patrick were the student teachers in this group and had several pages taking everyone through the development of computers and classification according to their physical size.
Then Group 2 followed with a talk about the Nitrogen Cycle given by Rukia and Sanita in line with their student teachers who were Evans and Michael Kombe.
Brian, Musyoka and Francis Anangwe  in Group 3 showcased a calendar they had made using Microsoft Publisher
Finally, Group 4 was a presentation on animal behaviour by Gladys and Gabriel
Then came fun times tables trial and those who could recite their tables correctly right up to x12  were the winners.
They were Husna Msagha, Samson Mweri, Fatuma Saidi, Baraka Francis, Baraka Mkutano, Suleiman Safari, Florence Nyevu, Mwende Kyambi, William Kombe and Rukia Salim.
The nursery kids had a spelling session and the following emerged winners: Lucky Safari, Faith Njeri,  Lydia Jumwa,  Brian Zia,  Priscilla Ponda,  Diana Were,  Husna Msagha, Fatuma Said and Baraka Mkutano.
The event came to an end with two great games of bingo, with Papa Dave as the caller.
Aunty Rose and Evans won the first came while Douglas Tumaini, Neema Kanze, Gladys Sidi, Mr Muramba and Md Hilda won the second game.
Throughout the morning there was much laughter and applause and everyone had a really enjoyable time, made all the better by the prizes which Mama Sue had ready for the winners.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Holiday booking!

With a growing number of children in school, all with athirst for reading, the demands on our library are ever increasing.
To ensure we have room for more books, and are able to display them properly, we need more shelf space.
So our joiner, Uncle Charo, is busy making and installing additional shelving ready for when the kids return to school after the spring break.
All the books we buy, or have donated, are kept in excellent condition to ensure they serve generations to come.
Uncle Ronnie says: Our kids like reading and make use of the library on daily basis. The new shelves will make sure there is enough space to keep the books we already have and room for more.
Kids go in the library and borrow books straight from the time they join kindergarten.
They have a culture of reading as they know reading more books, especially story books ,will help them to improve their English language and spelling. 

Monday, 23 April 2018

Smile please!

With so many little ones at Happy House, there are always some missing their milk teeth.
Our social worker Uncle Ronnie says losing a tooth can cause concern, as the kids worry they might not grow back.
"We always assure them that it won’t take long before having them back again. 
"Whenever a new tooth starts growing, the kids become excited and show everyone the growing tooth."
Pictured from left are Baraka Kaingu, Lucky and twin brothers Amani and; Baraka Kea.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Looking back, by Samson

Hello everyone,
My name is Samson, I am in STD 7 at school.
I came to live at Happy House when I was seven years old.
It is fun being at Happy House with Mama, Papa, Uncle Ronald, Aunty Rose and all the other staff. 
Recently we had a slide show whereby we were looking at pictures from the CDs in our memory boxes which are kept in Mama's office.
Iit was very funny looking at the pictures when everybody was small and how funny they looked.
 I realized that when I was small I didn’t have any teeth on the front upper jaw but now I have more than when I was seven years.
My best subjects are social, science, maths and English. I love speaking English very much and learning mathematics and other subjects in class.
 We closed school on April 6. I was the master of ceremony during the closing dayevent. 
I am glad to be at Happy House in a loving and caring family and home.
 Thank you Mama for giving me a wonderful opportunity to be at Happy House

Saturday, 21 April 2018

A privilege to teach at Happy House

Teaching at our school in Kenya is vastly different from teaching in London, but volunteer Amanda Bunbury has loved every minute and is looking forward to coming back again.

I can hardly believe that that it is almost six months since I first came to Happy House.  My initial impression was one of happy, smiley welcoming children (and staff) and this has only grown during my time here. I have felt really privileged to have been able to be a part of the school.
 It has obviously been a big change from teaching 30 children in a highly equipped school in London but no less challenging!  Whereas in England, we are well resourced with interactive whiteboards in every classroom  and lessons can be saved, adapted and used again, here I was forced to use a piece of chalk and a blackboard - quite a strain on my handwriting.  However, teaching is teaching wherever you are.  My days have been full helping children from PP1 to Standard 4 in 1:1, small groups and whole class and I have loved every minute of it.  
The children are so responsive as well as curious; they are constantly asking questions about the UK.
Teaching in Kenya is much more formal than in the UK and there is much more testing rather than teacher assessment to check the children’s progress and achievement.
The children seem perfectly okay with this which is interesting considering all the cries in the UK that testing can be detrimental.
 I have had some fascinating conversations with teachers about how we teach certain concepts in the UK.  For example, we are not meant to introduce column addition in the UK until the end of Standard 3.  Instead we teach an empty number line method and I enjoyed explaining this to Mr Mramba and helping Madame Naomi teach suffixes to Standard 3. 
When I first had to teach the empty number line, I thought it was rubbish!  However I have to admit that I am now a convert and it has definitely improved my mental maths.
In England the children are encouraged to discuss what they are doing and we talk a lot about patterns in times tables .  This can obviously lead to a pretty noisy classroom and I have to say that our children’s actual knowledge of the times table is not nearly as good as here. 
What is clear is that no one method is better than another but I hope having a few new ideas might have helped the teachers.
 I am sad to be leaving but at least I know that I will be returning in September and am already counting the days to when I will be back to see my friends and the children’s warm and smiley faces.  Thank you for a truly special experience.

Friday, 20 April 2018

The garden gang

We are always keen to encourage the interests of our children
And with so many enjoying gardening, Mama has let them take over one of our greenhouses.
Now Happy House Young Farmers Club can expand on the crops they are producing.
Previously they had planted vegetables and maize in an open area behind the kitchen, now they have a covered area they have prepared the soil and planted tomato, spinach and kale.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Welcome Auntie Dawn

 Our very good friend Dawn Heather White, Auntie Dawn to our kids, is back for a visit.
And this week she was VIP guest at Kidz Club where she received a very warm welcome from all our family.
Everyone was so happy to see her back again that the kids decided to hold a singing competition between the boys and girls and Mama Sue asked her to be the judge.
The girls and boys each sang a song and they did a surprise dance for Auntie Dawn.
At the end of the show the boys were announced as winners.
 Papa’s army of littlies was not left behind as they marched singing the Leeds fans anthem, Marching On Together.
Auntie Dawn presented the birthday gift to Michael, who is turning three this week.  The whole family sang him the birthday songs.
We would like to thank Auntie Dawn for the lovely gifts of books and necessities she brought for our children.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

A trip to the dentist

A trip to the dentist meant an early start on Saturday for Mama, Papa, Auntie Millicent and six of our children.
Janet, Edward, Musyoka, Gift and Mwede all needed extractions, Diana 's teeth were ok.
Mama said: ''The kids were just brilliant. Only Musyoka and Janet had been to a dentist before, no one cried or fussed, they just did as they were asked.
" I felt so proud of them.
 "The cost for eight baby teeth to be removed was 9,000/- , that;s the equivalent of £64 ,
"I pleaded the case that all the children were from the Happy House Children’s Home, and a discount of 3,000/- was received, brigning it down to £43. Still expensive, when we have more children who have overcrowded mouths and will need extractions..
 '' We are so grateful to everyone who has donated towards our medical costs. Thank you."

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Exam talk

Talking over their children's school reports is important for every parent.
For Mama Sue, it is no different. She just has a lot more kids than most!
So as is the Happy House way, she and Uncle Ronnie have been talking with individuals about their exam results, the challenges faced and how best we can work together to help them improve their performance.
Uncle Ronnie says: " It really motivates kids to work extra hard.
 Most important is that during these talks we encourage them and instill confidence and self-belief.
Sometimes kids fail to well in their exams because of slight mistakes or not taking care in reading the questions and answering correctly,
The most recent exams provided an additional challenge in that we have dispensed with multiple choice answers to eliminate any guesswork.
There was a slight drop generally as some sponsors may have noticed when thet have received their child's exam results.
Now the kids have a real grasp of what is expected we are hoping for an overall improvement in their results next term."

Monday, 16 April 2018

Demonstrating their skills

Looking back at what they have been learning about computers ended the week on a high for our Happy House kids.
On Friday, several youngsters put on presentations for Mama, Papa and the family to illustrate how much they had gained from holiday activities geared to increase their computer skills.
They showed how they could use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, email and the internet.
Uncle Ronald says: "It was fantastic, the kids did it very well. With the help of their fellow students and the teachers our kids had really learnt a lot just  one week.
Rukia and Musyoka did presentations on using email, Florence handled PowerPoint whilst Natasha Franco's presentation was on Word.  John showed how to sue the internet and how to download items, whilst Benedict's presentation was on Excel.
There will be more demonstrations of skill as the holiday programme is on going and the kids are enjoying every minute.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Our home, by Musyoka

I just want to tell you about how the Happy House is such a nice home for every one
I have been in this home for many years but I have come to find out that it is one of the best homes in the world, it is so brilliant
We have the help of Mama and our Papa and not forgetting our Uncle Ronnie who is so special and interactive with all the kids.
He is one of the best friends I have ever seen, he can easily talk to kids and also counsel them on how to live with others in a good way
Mama has benefited more than 200 kids who have come from difficult backgrounds and she has shown a very good example to all of the people.
May bless them and give them a long life for them to see our future 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Computer fun

 Kids love computers and we are using the school holidays to brush up on their computer skills. 
The high school scholarship students are coming in to assist the primary pupils.
This time we only have the home kids as the government is not allowing children to go into school in the holidays.
We have different groups at different stations being helped by their fellow kids under the supervision of the teachers.
Different programmes are in place for all the age groups.
 At the end of the holiday we will have presentations done by the kids to see how effective the exercise has been,
Our kids like learning computers and are really enjoying the activities they are having. Mama always tells them that computers are being used everywhere nowadays and it is very important for them to have the computer knowledge and skills because these will play a huge part in their futures,
Many schools around do not have computers. 
Being a Happy House kid is a golden opportunity for all the children as they  can access resources like the computers as early as from the KGs.
 At the moment we have only twenty five working computers to serve a growing number of children. 
Some of them have been in use for years and we are trying to keep them going for as long as we can. But we know their life is limited as we are allready experiencing challenges with some of them.
We are  thankful to everyone who has helped us to quip our school and our computer room and who make it possible for Happy House kids to have a head start in technology.
It is already making a difference to their lives.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Fun in the sun

 Our kids had a splashing time when they spent a ,morning on the beach.
With the sun so hot, trips to the beach take place early in the morning to ensure they are back home by the time the sun is at its strongest.
After a happy walk from home to the beach, they splashed or swam in the crystal clear waters of the Indian ocean, made sandcastles, played games.
When it was time to go home, the older ones helped the little ones to get ready for the walk back to Happy House ready for a shower and change of clothes before lunch.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Birthday boy Ben entertains

We had a lovely kids club this week, full of singing and laughter, writes Uncle Ronnie. 
The kids were shown some slideshows of photos taken long time ago when most of our big kids were still little ones.
Musyoka helped operating the laptop which was connected to our lounge TV. The photos include those of Rukia, Samson and Musyoka which were taken together with some other kids.
 There was a lot of laughter as some of the photos looks funny but most important is that there was a smile on each and every photo.
We also had our boys and girls competing in singing led by Benedict and Rukia respectively.
 Linda Newman, Auntie Linda to our family,  who joined us at kids club was honoured to choose the winner and for the first time the boys won.
 Teachers, uunties and our scholarship students also joined in singing.
Benedict, our very first Happy House kid, was turning 12and we celebrated his birthday, 
Mama presented his birthday present. There was a lot cheering as Mama asked him to sing. 
Benedict is not only a good singer but also a good entertainer, just seeing him on the stage makes the kids laugh.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Putting on a show for closing day

As the first term of 2018 came to an end our Happy House School put on a showcase of entertainment and talent.
They performed for a big audience made up of parents, guardians, friends and, of course, their fellow pupils from kindergarten, primary and secondary school.
Mama Sue started the morning's activities with a prayer.
Samson took over as master of ceremonies introducing each item on the programme.
This included a performance by our scout group; a dance by KG3; more dancing by Class 5; a song by Class 3 followed by a dance by Class 5.
Then there was more dance from the KGs, Casses 1 and 2 performed the Macarena dance then Class 2 boys recited a poem about the importance of education.
Classes 6 and 7 joined for a dace , followed by a Swahili poem by Class 8. 
The Kidogo dancers perfomed a great dance and Form 1 entertained with a sketch.
Brian then Johnny did their interpretation of a Fik-shun dance, Form 3 performed a traditional Giriama dance.
The entertainment finished with acrobatics led by Baraka.
A presentation of certificates followed  top performing and most improved students in each class.
And then came the big announcement of best classes for the term with trophies going to
Best class in lower school: STD 2; Best Class Upper: STD 8;  Best Class Secondary:Form 1 
The most Improved class and best class overall: Form 3.
Presentations were made by Mama Sue, Papa Dave and their friends Brian and Debbie Grimes and Rob and Maggie Wiseman.
Children can now enjoy a holiday of relaxation and activities.
Top right:
Class awards; Top row:  Class 3 with Mama;  centre: Primary Class 8 with Mama and  Secondary Form 1 with Papa.
Bottom right: Mama with STD 2.
Bottom left: Kidogo Dancers.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Special friends visit Mama and Papa

 It was with great pleasure that Mama Sue and Papa Dave introduced some very special friends to our Happy House family.
Mama and Papa have been friends with Brian and Debbie Grimes and Rob and Maggie Wiseman from way back when they had their hotel in Blackpool and have always kept in touch.
Both couples have been supportive of the work Mama and Papa are doing and are in sponsor families of our children.
But this was the first time they had visited.
During their two week holiday,  they were able to met our family and enjoy some of the spectacular attractions that Kenya has to offer including a safari and deep sea fishing,
On their fishing trip Brian and Rob both caught fish which went straight from the beach to Happy house where they were cleaned, portioned and frozen. They will provide some delicious meals for our kids
Rob and Brian are pictured with their catch. Rob top picture and Brian below..
Brian, Debbie, Rob and Maggie were delighted to meet their sponsor children and also to be at Happy House to join in the surprise party for their great friend Papa Dave.
After a busy holiday they returned home to Yorkshire at the weekend.
Brian and Debbie are pictured with their sponsor child Faith and Rob and Maggie with their sponsor children twins Baraka and Amani 

Monday, 9 April 2018

Camila leaves for home

There is no easy way to say goodbye...
After three months volunteering with our family at the Happy House, Camila Domenge has returned to her home and Family in Mexico.
She has been a huge help, assisting in school and sharing her knowledge of computer skills to show our teachers how to use Excel which will make their job so much easier at exam results time.
Camila has also worked with Mr Omoi on computer lessons for our kids and on updating our website.
Her input in school has been invaluable, and she has always been around to help when the kids get home to Happy House or have been on school holidays.
She has been popular with our staff and to our children she has become a new friend. 
So on her last day, Papa's  birthday, his party was also a farewell party for Camila.  A chance for the whole Happy House family,home and school, to say thank you and to say goodbye.
Mama Sue thanked her for all she had done on behalf of all the family.
Camila said Happy House had gained far more than she had given and that she would carry our children's faces home with her, in her heart.
One of our kids, Musyoka,sent these words to add to this blog
It has been so hard for us to see our beloved Camilla going back to Mexico.
She has been a very good visitor to the Happy House family she has also helped teachers and pupils in computer work.
We are so sad to see her going back home but as we know that it is a must for her to go back and see her family again but we hope that she will come back to the Happy House family and join the family once again. 
We shall miss her so much 

Sunday, 8 April 2018

My friend by William

Willy Mash tells us about his special friend in today's blog:
My friend is called Kamau. He is a boy.
He likes to break dance. He is as short as a hammer. He wants to be tall as a flag post. 
His best subject is maths. He likes singing.
Kamau is is one of the Congo forest people. He is alwaysfunny and an honest boy. He is the most lovely friend in my life.
He is one of the best dancers in all Africa. Sometimes helps me in my studies.  What a good friend is he is in my life.
My friend has has two brothers and three sisters. He likes playing football which helps to keep him healthy and strong.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Papa's Party - part 2

There was so much talent on show at Papa's birthday party that we thought we would bring you a second helping of video today.
The children really did Papa proud with the show they put on for him.
With so much singing, dancing and laughter in his honour, he must have been very touched by just how much he is loved.
Well done kids.