Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Sunny smiles coming your way

Happy House has many friends and supporters from around the world and we love them dearly. And we are only too aware that at this moment they are all, like we are in Kenya, worried about the spread of Coronavirus and the toll it is taking. But this week we are are looking on the bright side to bring you some sunny smiles with videos of our children doing what they do best - having fun! They start with the anthem of Papa's favourite football team,Leeds United, which is aptly titled "Marching on Together."

Monday, 30 March 2020

Keep smiling

There have been many highs and lows for for Mama and Papa in the first 10 years of the Happy House. They have weathered every storm with positivity and hope, and celebrated every high with smiles and thankfulness. That's what makes our family strong. Now with the threat of Coronavirus dominating and affecting every life, world over, at Happy House they continue to smile and to sing.. Saturday's Kidz Club was different from normal -the kids were all spaced out instead of clustered in groups as they usually are. But they were in fine voice, as always, as you will hear.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

When it rains, it pours!

It's the start of the rains in Kenya where, after months of scorching sun, the land is dry and parched.
 Everyone with a patch of land, however small, will have been planting maize and other crops ready for the rain to bring the seeds to life.
When the rain comes it's heavy, too much for the thirsty land to drink all at once, and at Happy House we are quick to pump it directly to our vegetable gardens and into our storage tanks. Kenyans call rain "God's Blessing" because of the harvest it will bring. In this video gardener, Uncle Alex, explains what he is doing.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Keeping our family safe

Protecting our Happy House children from the threat of Coronavirus is changing our family's way of life. Mama Sue has imposed strict rules, as she explains in this video, and only essential workers are allowed on the premises.
Any supplies are delivered to the gate and there is limited vehicular access.
Our usual stringent hygiene standards have also been increased. There are hand washing stations at the gate and around the house with soap and water, and an antiseptic rinse. No expense is being spared . A bottle of Dettol is costing more than £10, a huge sum for us but absolutely key. Mama has also enforced a no physical contact wherever possible - something that is causing her a great deal of heartache because she can't cuddle the children when they come to her for some Mama love. But her sacrifice is borne out of the love as is everything she does. Take care Mama and Papa, you are amazing. We hope that you and all our Happy House family, and all our friends around the world, will stay safe and well.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Bus almost ready

Just in time for our 10th birthday, our new mini-bus was ready to unveil - complete with seats fitted and resprayed in yellow as required for school transport by the Government. All it needs now is to be branded with Happy House signage in black. This will have to wait for a while as schools remain closed and Kenya is in lockdown because of Corona Virus. But our birthday was before this happened and Mama and Papa were eager to show off the bus and to thank everyone whose donations made it possible.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Ice-cream for all

There was a treat of delicious ice-cream, or everyone in the Happy House family at Kidz Club - thanks to Auntie Brenda and Uncle Red.They wanted the children, confined to home since Kenya shut all its schools last week. to have a treat.Thank you Auntie Brenda and Uncle Red, it was delicious.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

A fond farewell

There was a fond farewell to visiting friends at Kidz Club at the weekend.
And in the Happy House way, the children's choirs competed in song for our friends - Joanne and Peter Reid and Brenda and red Groves and their granddaughter, Grace Dunbar.
 They had travelled out from the UK for the Happy House 10th birthday party and were facing difficult journeys home because of the disruption to flights caused by the the Corvid_19 pandemic.
 Mama and Papa and all our family will miss them, and miss all those who planned to visit in coming weeks and can no longer to so. We hope it will not be too long before this is over and life gets easier for everyone worldwide.
There were also two birthdays to celebrate. Erick is now 10 and Joy has just turned nine.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Playing at the party

Youngsters who have been learning the recorder for the last couple of months had a chance to play at the Happy House 10th birthday party, They played Happy Birthday once the candles on the cake were lit and ready to be blown out. Our thanks to Angela Lewis and others who have so kindly donated recorders and other musical instruments.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Ten to ten!

 Ten Happy House children, all who will be ten years old this year, were chosen by Mama Sue and Papa Dave to sing happy birthday and to help blow out the candles on our 10th birthday cakes.
Mama thanked everyone for all pulling together to have a lovely party and said that it was because everyone, staff and children, all works together that we had such a strong and united family. The cakes were made and donated by Mr Habel, a good friend of Happy House, who is a chef at a local restaurant.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Party crunch

The kids at Happy House really enjoyed tucking into the crunchy apples Santa delivered at the 10th anniversary party.
All the treats that made our birthday party such a wonderful day for our children were donated or bought with donations so kindly made by our friends.
We'd like to thank everyone who helped to make this day one that the children will always remember.
It's times like these that make their childhoods, once so troubled,  very special indeed.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Secret Santa surprise

There was a big surprise for our Happy House kids when Santa arrived at our 10th anniversary party.
Peter and Joanne Reid, from Lytham, Lancashire, had travelled to Kenya especially for the party and, as they have played Santa for our children every year for the last few years, Mama Sue invited them to put on their suits to hand out a party bag to each child. The children received bags of sweets and treats and Santa also gave them all a crunchy apple.

Friday, 20 March 2020

This is the way to wash your hands

Nurse Joanne Reid was led a class teaching children and staff at Happy house the correct way to wash their hands. A strict hand-washing procedure is in place at Happy House in accordance with the advice from the World Health Organisation in the bid to curb the spread of Corona Virus.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Happy House in lockdown

Happy House is in self-imposed lockdown following the Kenyan Government's sweeping steps to try to restrict the spread of the disease. Schools closed for 30 days from Monday so all our children are at home. Our usually strict cleanliness procedures are being stepped up and every one reminded, over and over, of the importance of washing their hands. Senior nurse Joanne Reid, who w at Spire Fylde Coast Hospital in Blackpool, travelled out to Watamu last week with her husband, Peter, for our 10th birthday. Jo has been into Happy House to give the children and staff a workshop on how to wash their hands - reinforcing the message. For all those lovely freinds who travelled so to be at the party, they now have the worry of getting flights back. Travellers from any country with a single case of Coronavirus are barred from entry to Kenya for the next 30 days. This is another of the sweeping restrictions imposed by Kenya since reporting its first case on Friday - that of a 27-year-old woman who flew in from the US via London. *We will be bringing you our 10th birthday videos from Saturday.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Love is all

Whatever life has thrown at them in the first decade of the Happy House family, it has been their love for each other, and for their children, that has seen Mama and Papa through. Just like there is always room for another child at Happy House, their is always room in their hearts for one too. Whatever worries or troubles they've faced, the one thing that has never failed them or been in short supply is love. Here, in a 10th anniversary chat, Mama and Papa look back over the last decade.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Happy birthday Happy House - 10 today!

Mama and Papa. Picture:Chris Franklin

Today marks a very special milestone in the story of our Happy House for Mama, Papa, and all our family, our 10th birthday.
How far we have come and how much we have grown since the first children came home turning Mama Sue’s hopes and dreams into a reality.
Their arrival brought the land on which the Happy House stands springing to life.
Untouched since the dawn of time, it was as if it had been waiting for our Happy House and our children.
Those first kids formed the foundation of our family and have since been joined by many others.  Some have stayed, needing our continued love and care, while others, whose family fortunes have taken a turn for the better, have been able to return to relatives.
Mama Sue and her Happy House transform young lives and put hope into hearts where there once was none.
Children, who have been through unimaginable loss, neglect or abuse, learn to love and to trust.  Mama Sue and her team build their confidence, restore self-belief and fill their days with love and laughter.
Our Happy House kids thrive, growing tall and strong as flowers reaching towards the sun.
Flashback to March 17, 2010.
They bloom like flowers too, nourished by good food and flourish with good friends, respect, education and endless opportunity.  They understand that hard work and effort brings rewards, to always try their best and to be kind and considerate to others around them.
This first decade has not been easy, Mama has suffered personal hardship, emotional and physical pain, but she has never given up or wished herself to be elsewhere.
And nor has Papa. He is her constant, her counsel and her love. He has been her anchor in many a storm, just as she is his. Their love for each other, and for their Happy House kids, knows no bounds.
Mama’s vision and her total commitment is an inspiration to all those who work with her and to you, our friends, who support her work through sponsorship and donations.
Without YOUR support there would be no Happy House. YOUR kindness has made it possible and we never forget that.
Mama’s dedication and devotion is the driving force that grows the Happy House as the needs of the children demand.
She gives them the best so they can be the best.  There is no compromise where her kids are concerned.
Shortly after the Happy House opened two Government inspectors came to view for tax purposes. One said: “This must be a hotel, it cannot be a home for children. It is too good for children.”
“How”, said Mama, admonishing him in her indomitable way “can anything be too good for children?”
In 10 years our Happy House kids have always been her first thought.  We thank her for that and wish Mama, Papa and all our family a very happy birthday.

Party time

It was party time on Saturday and first on the programme was a trip to the beach.
The weather was showery, but with lovely new raincoats the kids were all set to for the long walk to sea
But when showers turned to a downpour, there was a change of plan and the trip to the sands was called off.
The rain didn't, however spoil the day, and everyone had a wonderful time with lots of surprises which we will be bringing to you on the blog over the next few days.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Happy chicks

Regular viewers to our blog will know that our Happy House kid Brian Hayward is very keen on helping to look after our chickens. Brian likes to feeds and water them and to ensure they are all shut in by nightfall. Here he gives us an update on our Happy House flock.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

And the winners are ...

It was straight into the hot seat for Brenda and Red Groves and their granddaughter , Grace, when they arrived at Happy House. After a welcome and a catch-up with their good friends Mama Sue and Papa Dave, they were taken down to school to see the children. The kids were thrilled to see them again and greeted them with lots of songs - asking them to pick a winner between the boys and he girls. On this occasion the girls were picked for first place.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Welcome back

It's just lovely that some of our wonderful friends have travelled all the way to Watamu to join in the 10th anniversary of Happy House. Brenda and Red Groves were at the opening ceremony and have visited many times since, often with one of their granddaughters. This time is Grace who with them. Grace. who volunteered with our family a few years ago, now in Victor's sponsor family and is meeting for the first time.
Brenda and Red have also brought with them lots of gifts for our family.
Whenever Brenda and red are planning a visit, Brenda sets herself a target of items to bring.
She always finds out what is most needed at time from Mama Sue, and then sets about filling a case.
This time the appeal was for lightweight rain jackets for our kids - essential when they are walking to and from school in the rainy season.
Many thanks to Brenda, her friends and family who have helped her to get together so many lovely things.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Party prep

The Happy House is all ready to host a big birthday party. It will be celebrating its landmark 10th anniversary tomorrow - a few days ahead of the official birthday on March 17. With the kids off school, Saturday is the perfect party day and Mama and Papa have lots of exciting treats planned. Uncle Ibrahim, from our maintenance department, has been making sure our building is gleaming ready to show it off at its very best.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Exam time

It's been exam time for students in Year 7 and Year 8 at Happy House School. In this video teacher, Mr Kalama, tells us a bit more.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Butterfly, flutterby

There's nothing quite like the sound of our Happy House kids singing to put a smile on your face. Especially when it is David leading leading the words and action. David has come such a long way since he came into our care as a baby. He has special needs and with our care, love and encouragement, is growing up into a confident and bright young man. That's what we call our Happy House magic.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Songs and birthdays

 Saturday is song time for our children living at Happy House, Watamu.
Not that they only sing on one day a week, they are always skipping around and singing. But on Saturdays at Kidz Club they have the audience - and what entertainer doesn't like an enthusiastic audience? This week at Kidz Club there were lots of songs, plus two birthdays to celebrate. Auntie DawnHeather was delighted to present birthday gift bags to Dulla, 11, and Baraka, 13.
Dulla is pictured left ad Baraka on the the right.