Friday, 31 May 2019

Looking to the future: Hotel business

Tourism is vital to the economy of holiday-resort Watamu, providing more jobs than any other single sector.
So it is almost certain that some of the students in Happy House school will go on to work in the hospitality industry.
We are grateful to Damian Davies, general manager of Turtle Bay Hotel, who agreed to come in for a careers session with our secondary students along with Alex, who is the food and beverage manager at the hotel.
They gave our students an in depth view of the industry and an understanding of how careers can progress to management level - for both girls and boys.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Rains find flaws

The rains in Kenya are a mixed blessing.
On one hand they bring relief from the intense heat, and quench the thirst of the arid land.
But on the other, they seep through even the tiniest crack and find every flaw!
But as plants spring to life, makuti thatching on some of our buildings at Happy House has been springing a leak and repairs are needed as Mama Sue tells us.
If you would like to make a donation towards the £400 costs of roof repairs  we would be so grateful. Please go to

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Celebration of Life: Making a mark on history

Continuing our Celebration of Life, Mr Duncan Ongwete, who teaches in upper primary. about some of his heroes.
He talks about the family members who he has loved and lost - the greatest hero of all being his mother.
Mr Duncan finishes by telling  our youngsters they should live their lives with the aim of leaving their own unique imprint on history.
He turns to Mama Sue saying that with her Happy House she has written her own place in the history books.
Afterwards,Wendy sings a song, Margaret reads an emotional poem and Savanna speaks of her own gratitude.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Celebration of Life: Parents are like gold

Happy House student, Charity, spoke movingly at our Celebration of Life.
Charity, born to a single mother, talks about when she learnt her father, who she had never known, was dead.
Her life is now full of opportunity and hope and she cherishes it and all those who make it possible.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Celebration of life: My sponsor, by Teddy.

Happy House scholarship student Teddy will never forget the kindness of his sponsor, Mike Foster.
And he shared his thoughts at the annual Celebration of Life.
Mike,  who was the partner of our own Elizabeth Gomm  "Auntie Libz" to our Happy House family, died in May 2017.
It was two years after he had started sponsoring Teddy that Mike was told he had incurable cancer.
 He had always hoped he would see Teddy grow up to make something of his life, putting to use his excellent Happy House education.
When Mike died, donations from his funeral, were towards funding Teddy's schooling.
Teddy treasures his letters from Mike and the watch he bought for him.
Teddy also spoke about his devoted grandfather and the part he played in shaping his life.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Please can you help?

Happy House School is today making an appeal to supporters who maybe traveling to Kenya in the next few weeks.
We have received donations to buy  more Amazon Kindle Fire tablets which will increase our stock and make them accessible to more young people.
But we can't get them out to Watamu, so Mama Sue and some of our students are appealing for friends who would be prepared to bring them in their luggage.
The tablets are proving a huge success as a learning resource giving, as one students says, a library at his fingertips!
They can also access past exam papers which prepare them for coming national examinations.
Please, if you could help contact Mama Sue:

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Celebration of Life: Music

You can't celebrate life without song and dance.
In Kenya, children are born with music in their hearts and start to sing and dance as soon as they can talk and walk.
So for our celebration of Life Day, pupils from Happy House School staged some wonderful entertainment for those attending.
Here is an extract.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Celebration of Life: Birthdays

Our annual Celebration of life at Happy House is on May 20 - the day that Harold Hayes, father of of our Mama Sue, died.
That date remains etched in sadness on Mama's heart.
But she also decided that it should be a day when the Happy House family celebrates life - and all that it means.
May 20th is an important day for two members of our family . It is their birthday.
Janet, the oldest of our family of kids, is now 21 and Saidi  is nine.
And what better way to celebrate than in song!

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Celebration of Life

Each May, on the anniversary of the death of our Mama Sue's beloved dad, Harold, the Happy House family gets together for a Celebration of Life.
As so many of those in our family, children and staff, have lost someone dear to them, it is a chance to share the happy memories they hold in their hearts and to enjoy entertainment to celebrate the joy of living, being with family and friends.
The emphasis is on being happy, not being sad, and it is a time to laugh and smile.
Mama spoke about her father and of his influence on her life and of how after he  died, which crippled her with overwhelming grief, that Papa brought her to Kenya for the holiday which was to change her life, and put her on the path to her Happy House.
Mama was joined at the Celebration of Life by by Evans who was in tears as her spoke about the impact on his family of the death of his dad, when he was very young, and of how it resulted in him, his sister Janet and brother, Oscar, coming into our care and how Mama and the Happy House has transformed their lives.
Over the next few days we will be sharing with you other extracts of our Celebration of Life.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Sitting up and smiling!

 Baby Victor, the youngest member of our family, has reached a developmental milestone.
He's now sitting up for himself!
Victor came into the loving care of our family on March 7 having He arrived on March 7, having been found abandoned by the roadside in Malindi.
Estimated to be a few months old, he appeared to have been cared for and well fed but efforts by Children's Services to find his mother were unsuccessful.
As Mama Sue tells us here, he's a happy and healthy little boy.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

House call for Papa Dave

It's not every day you get more than 50 visitors knocking on your door.
That's just what happen to Papa Dave when a bus load of children from the Happy House called by to say hello.
It was the day of a birthday party for our eldest girl, Janet, who has just turned 21.
The party took place at Happy House but Papa, who has sprained his ankle, was under orders to keep his feet up so the party went to him.
The kids trooped down the path singing the anthem of Papa's favourite football team - Leeds United.
The kids sang some songs and took him some cake - just the tonic he needed as Papa is not a man to sit around!
He thoroughly enjoyed the song and the cake.
We hope. Papa, that you are back on your feet very soon.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Surprise, surprise!

Springing a surprise on Janet for her birthday called for some serious secrecy.
She's the oldest in our Happy House family, and with 70+ "brothers and sisters" in the know, it seemed impossible that her birthday party would remain a surprise.
But it did, and Janet was absolutely overwhelmed when she saw all the children and staff gathered to greet her as she arrived for her 21st birthday treat.
Mama was determined that Janet's milestone birthday is not something that can go by without celebration.
She was one of the first children in our family when she arrived with her younger brothers, Evans and Oscar, in February 2010.
Now she is in her final year at school and has her sights set on becoming a social worker - having seen for herself, at Happy House, the difference they can make to lives.
For her birthday there were balloons, gifts and cake plus speeches from Mama Sue and  her brothers Evans and Oscar.
And no party is complete without entertainment, another well kept secret planned by the children.
Happy birthday Janet.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Fruity treat

Our fabulous friend Betty Hatch, Auntie Betty to our children, celebrated her birthday recently at home in Essex.
But while she was celebrating with her children and grandchildren, Betty was thinking of our family at the Happy House.
She wanted them to get some treats too, and sent a  donation to cover the cost.
So they children had both ice cream at Kidz Club one week, followed by water melon a week later.
Thank you Auntie Betty.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Auntie Velma's announcement

There was a lovely surprise for our family at Happy House this week.
Auntie Velma stood up to give them her special news, but then got just a little bit shy so Mama Sue stepped in to take over.
And the news is that Auntie Velma, who is a very much loved member of our team, is expecting another baby.
The new addition to her family will make an appearance in October and will be a welcome brother or sister for Daisy.
Much love to you all, Velma.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Birthday treat for Auntie Rose

There was a surprise for our lovely Auntie Rose on her birthday.
Rose, Mama's right hand woman and our Happy House administrator, usually knows all that goes on in the family.
Nothing escapes her eagle eye!
But staff managed to cook up a birthday cake without her having a clue and then all  trooped in to the office to present it to her.
Rose has worked with Mama since before the Happy House opened. She started as a young girl, now she is a capable and very talented career woman, and mum to two beautiful daughters.
After Rose cut the cake, Mama and all the staff tucked in to a piece.
Birthday greeting Auntie Rose.
At Kidz Club there was another birthday - Hussein who has turned 11.
He received gifts and greetings and in the Room of the week Award it was Katana's room that took the prize.
Happy birthday Hussein and well done Katana's room!

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Janet and Evans - the future

Janet, Evans and Oscar were three of the first children to join our family when we opened our Happy House in 2010.
Now Janet, the oldest, is in her final year at secondary school and has her 21st birthday on May 20,
She had missed out on schooling because of her family situation before coming to us, but has flourished in our care educationally and personally.
Her brother Evans, who will finish school next year, shares her ambition to become a social worker.
Growing up in care has given them an insight into how a children's home works and into the many family issues that result in children coming into long term or temporary care.
They are mature, capable and caring young people, and Mama is committed to helping them to achieve their goals.
Here she, and they, talk about the future, about university, and beyond.  We hope that you may wish to help them too.
We will need to raise money to support them through the next sage of life - Janet first and then Evans.
Mama and our social worker, Uncle Ronald, are now looking into what courses are available and the cost, and we will keep you in the picture.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

New term begins

 Everyone was wide awake and ready for action on the first day of the new term at Happy House school.
Mama Sue welcomed them back before handing over to Papa Dave, the school's self-appointed Radio Watamu, who broadcast the weekend's football results!
All the students, even the smallest, like football and have a team they support so Papa makes his broadcast every Monday at assembly - which brings laughter and a a bit of banter between him and Mama.
But then it was on to the serious stuff, Uncle Ronald reminding them to stay focussed and to work hard - messages that were reinforced by their head teacher Mr Isaac, and form teachers too.
Then it was into class, ready for a new term and a new challenge.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Back to school: Uniforms ready

Going back to school after a holiday is always a busy time in a any family.
Our family at Happy House just happens to be bigger than most!
Auntie Millicent has made sure that each child has uniform that fits, and any items that need replacing because they have been outgrown or worn out, has been replaced.
As we have a group of children sharing each bedroom, the uniforms are sorted  out by room and then handed over to room captains to distribute to individual kids.
It is they who then ensure that each child in their room looks smart ready for the first day of term.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Back to school: Shoe shuffle

Eleven children are walking back to school in new shoes for the new term .
As Mama says that's getting off likely, as it can sometimes be 30 or more that are needed.
Children at Happy House children's home are fortunate that we have such amazing supporters and sponsors whose donations help us to ensure that there feet have shoes that fit.
Thank you.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Back to school:Group discussions

Secondary students at Happy House have been getting together in class groups to revise.
By working together they can also help each other, with the students who have a greater understanding helping those who maybe be struggling.
The youngsters are ambitious and keen and hope that by working hard, in this way, they will go back to school and be one step ahead of their teachers!

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Back to school: In the bag

Pencils, rulers, rubbers at the ready for the start of the school term.
Auntie Millicent is here with a group of children issuing  them with writing implements for the new term.
Each child in our family has a pencil case of their own and is responsible for making sure they look after the items they are given to put in.
Every item has donated and we are grateful to all those who have made it possible for our children to have the equipment they need for school.
Education is enriching their lives, so are you.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Back to school: Hair's the way

Our children take great pride in being Happy House kids.
And that means looking neat and tidy.
And when they were getting ready to start back to school,  the girls had a session washing their hair.
Then after shampooing, conditioning and drying, the older girls did braids for the younger ones.
They then braided each others, so they looked as mart as they are!

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Back to school:Homework checks

Back to school and Papa Dave's taken on the task of making sure that every child has done their holiday homework.
Assisted by Brian, one of older boys at Happy House,  Papa looked through their books commenting on their work.
He found that we have some very diligent little ones who are back to school with everything shipshape!

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Get set for school

When our kids from Happy House go back to school it is always a busy time.
Uniforms to make ready, shoes to fit, pencils and books to be sorted, homework to be checked plus more.
Mama though it would nice to take you behind the scenes to see our family as they got ready for the new term.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Happy bakers!

Making bread is hugely popular with our Happy House kids.
They have fresh bread every day, made in our kitchen, and in the holidays Auntie Phillis has had volunteers queueing up to give her a hand.
It's just one of the many life skills the children in our care are gaining from being a part of of huge and loving family.
And the bonus of baking is that they also get to eat the final product!

Monday, 6 May 2019

Helping in the laundry

As in any large family,  our children are encouraged to help around their home.
And with so many kids in our care at Happy House there is always a mountain of washing and ironing for the aunties to do.
But in the holidays they have the added assistance of some very welling helpers.
Here Auntie Milicent is our guide.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Janet takes the lead

Our eldest girl, Janet, has her sights set on becoming a social worker.
Her childhood in our care has given her an insight into the role of the work they do and inspired her to follow that path.
On Saturday, she took the lead at our weekly Kidz Club with Mama leaving Janet to take the role she usually plays.
She conducted the gathering , announce the winners of the Room of the Week Award . This time the prize went to Husna and her room mates.
She also had the important task of judging the singing competition - with the boys as winners.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Collecting firewood

In the school holidays when our children have time on their hands, they like to help around Happy House.
It's their home and they are encouraged (not that it takes much encouragement)  to take a pride in their surroundings.
They love helping with the chores as we will be showing you in a several videos. 
Today,  a group of boys and girls is collecting firewood - with Janet supervising.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Booking in

 We are very fortunate to have a computerised library system at Happy House.
It was give to us by Micro Library Systems, a major UK supplier of library management systems.
The Junior Librarian System enables us to know exactly where every barcoded item - book, musical instrument, dvd  of CD - is at any time.
It has fingerprint recognition so users are uniquely identified,
During the holidays, there has been time to train more youngsters to operate the system as Mama explains.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Holiday helpers: Many hands...

In the school holidays our youngsters at Happy House have been helping around the house - their home.
They organise themselves into groups and chose who will help with which chores.
All those old enough love to help out and are such a cheerful little band as they wash up, clean the floors and generally help out easing the load for our busy aunties.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Internet for research and learning

Students in our Happy House secondary school have been spending part of their break brushing up on their subjects.
They have been harnessing the power of the internet and working in discussion groups to to enhance their subject knowledge.
With our year 4 students, on the verge of going on to careers or college, knowing how to research and find information will be a key skill to take with them from Happy House.
With all the excellent hi-tech facilities we have in our school, the wonderful computer suite plus the recent purchase of compact android tablets, our students have a head  start. We are extremely grateful to those whose donations and fundraising have made this possible. Thank you.