Sunday, 31 May 2020

Exam time

There have been exams for our Happy House children being home schooled during the Coronavirus lockdown. in this videos primary grades 3 and 4 are taking their kswahili paper having been taught virtually by our teachers based in our school, where they can socially distance. We moved smart TVs from school to our home so that our children would not miss out on lessons - or exams!

Saturday, 30 May 2020

On the up!

It's a result! One Papa Dave has been waiting 16 years for. So it was with great rejoicing that he announced to a special Kidz Club at Happy House that his favourite football team, Leeds United, have been promoted to the Premier League. Papa has recruited a while little army of supporters for Leeds United since he and Mama Sue made their home in Kenya 10 years ago. All the kids were as thrilled as their beloved Papa that his team are on the up!

Friday, 29 May 2020

Time for planting

With some crops harvested, it's now time to get ready to do some more planting. Uncle Julius and outdoor staff have been busy at work removing weeds, turning over the ground in preparation for seeding.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Lockdown fitness

Our Happy House children are fit and active and lovely taking part in games. During lockdown while they are being homeschooled Evans has been putting them through some exercises. Everyone enjoys themselves and even the little ones want to have go!

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

First turmeric harvest

We are just picking the first turmeric we have grown at Happy House. Turmeric, which has so many health-giving benefits, will be used in dishes prepared for our family, Here Mama Sue with Uncle Alex, our gardener, tell us more about it.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Raining in

The torrential rain of recent days in Watamu have found a few weak spots in our makuti thatched roof and in the vents at Happy House. And it's been raining in on on some of the bedrooms. We were able to use Uncle Charo, our joiner, to fix the vents but the roof really needed experts to fix it. Strict cleanliness measures are in place at Happy House and only our keyworkers are allowed on to the compound during the coronavirus lockdown so we had to do the repairs the best we could.
As with every emergency, the repairs came at a price but we have to keep our building in good repair for our big family.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Saturday sing-song

A super sing-song for our children at the weekly Happy House Kidz Club. There were two birthdays to celebrate - Elizabeth is five and Saidi has reached double figures, turning 10! Saidi received his birthday gift bag from Fahima and David did the honours of presenting Elizabeth with her gifts. Happy birthday children.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Power surge problem

A cut in electricity followed by a massive power surge has brought yet more unexpected expense to Happy House. The surge damaged our internet routers and power cables, some laptop cables, the switch for the water pump and light bulbs and caused yer more problems at our school. Fortunately, were were able to get specialists to fix the router and the pump but we still have to replace other damaged items. As Uncle Ronald explains a big fluctuation in the voltage means that for now we are using our generator, making fuel another expense, to ensure that we have constant power and that the washing machines etc can still be in use.
All this coming while we are on lockdown, makes it an ever more tough and worrying time.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Full steam ahead in the laundry

It's full steam ahead in the laundry. We now have two new washing machines working beautifully to cope with the mountain of laundry created by our family of 60 children. And we want to tank everyone who made donations to help buy the new washers after hearing our the two that we had both broke down and couldn't be repaired because all parts have to be imported and the Covid19 crisis had put a stop on bringing them in. A special mention for Red Groves, a great friend and frequent visitor, who has a birthday coming up. He very kindly asked his family for donations towards the washing machines instead of gifts. Thanks Red and Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Making decorations

 Today is a special day at Happy House.
May 20th is the day we hold our annual Celebration of Life, a ceremony to remember and celebrate those we have loved and lost. Mama Sue introduced the event to celebrate the life of her late father, Harold Heyes, and also to give the children in our care an opportunity to celebrate and remember the loved ones that they have lost. On Saturday, the children were making decorations for today and in this video we join Janet at the craft table!
The Happy House will be looking very colourful for the celebration which will be held after lessons finish.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Little people lead singing

Two of the youngest members of our family led the singing at Happy House Kids Club. Emmanuel, resplendent in a sunhat, and Victor stood at the front so that their older brothers and sisters could follow their actions. It's wonderful to see how confident they are and how they learn so quickly when they are part of such a big and loving family. There were two birthdays to celebrate. Rukia, now 15, received her presents from the family from Harry and Daudi, who is now 10, was presented with his gifts by Natasha.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Our top two!

We come to the end of our home schooling series, with the only two high school students living in our family at Happy House. Evans is in his final year and Rukia, 15, who is in Year 1. They have their own space in a converted store room with a smart TV and their own tutor in one of our teachers, Mr Paul. Mr Paul, a science teacher in our school, is ensuring that both youngsters are keeping up with their studies. For Evans, who wants to be a social worker, this is a crucial time as he is due to sit his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education later this year.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Move over Uncle Ronald

Uncle Ronald, our social worker at Happy House, is sharing his office with a group of students. Home schooling for Classes 7 and 8 is taking place in Uncle Ronald's office where a smart television , from our school, has been installed so that the youngsters can have virtual lesson conducted by their teachers who are working from our school where they can safely socially distance. This means they are not coming into Happy House which has been on lockdown since March and where essential workers only are permitted to enter. Year Eight students are due to take their national examination this year, the KCPE, so it is a vitally important time for them.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Class act

Another change round as our recreation room at Happy House has become a classroom for the Year 5 and 6 children who are unable to go school because of the Covid-19 restrictions imposed in Kenya. With all schools closed since March, we have repurposed some f our spaces at home into classroom areas to give the kids a real feel of being in school. Our computer technician, Christone, is looking after this group. Christone goes back a long with Mama who started her work in kenya 20 years ago by helping to develop a local school. Seeing the dawn of computer technology, Mama was insistent that the school have a computer room and equipped it with secondhand computers donated in the UK. Learning IT as a boy led Christone on to his current career path and a job at Happy House where he is reunited with Mama Sue.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Velma turns teacher

School secretary Auntie Velma has now turned teachers. She is taking reading, writing and numbers lessons with a very small group of some of our youngest Happy House children. This is giving their education a real boost at a time of crisis when lockdown has forced the closure of all schools in Kenya.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Home school

There's been a big change at Happy House to ensure that our lockdown home school is the best that it can be. Study tables have been brought up from school and classrooms set up in the reception area, dining room, recreation room and in Uncle Ronnie's office. Smart TVs from school are being used so that teachers, who can social distance whilst working from our school premises, can teach classes virtually. Over the next few days, Mama will be giving you a tour so you can see for yourselves exactly what we are doing and how lockdown has certainly not stopped lessons!

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Simon says ...

 The Happy House children had great fun at Kidz Club this week playing a game of Simon Says.
Testing their concentration, Mama was the caller and their were fits of laughter when anyone followed a command that didn't begin with the "Simon says". There were two birthday to celebrate, Hussein who has turned 12 received his gifts presented by Esther and David had the important job of presenting Rehema with her bag of gifts. Rehema is now 10. Happy birthday kids.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Laundry nightmare goes on

The Happy House laundry is facing a round-the-clock nightmare as the mountain of washing waiting to be done grows and grows.
And as that mountain goes up, the rain keeps coming down.
The first new washing machine to arrive last week has been working non-stop ever since but is barely making a dent in the laundry.
A second machine is on order and that too will be put into active service as soon as it comes.
They are replacements for our existing machines, both of which suffered breakdowns. We had to buy new ones because replacement parts come as imports and are held on the docks because of the coronavirus Covid-19 lockdown.
Mama, speaking from the laundry on Saturday when there was brief break in the rain, is grateful to all those who sent donations towards the £636 cost of the first machine. They make such a difference.
She is with  Auntie Janet, the tireless worker who runs our laundry, and shows you just a little of the laundry 60 children create - and that's without school uniforms!
We don't think anyone would want her job when it's raining and it is taking two days to get things dry!
It's no fun.
We will be so grateful for even the smallest donation toward this unexpected expense: You can make a donation via JustGiving or PayPal Thank you.

Monday, 11 May 2020

A second look at the garden

Today we take a second look at the gardening being done by our Happy House children. Oscar presents this video explaining how they are preparing to plant maize which they can then look forward to eating!

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Helping in the garden

We visit the Happy House garden today with John who shows us an area that the kids have been planting. They have planted and area, close to Mama's office and away from the main vegetable garden, to plant more vegetables to try to ensure that we have have have a good supply over the coming months. The youngsters, in lockdown because of coronavirus, understand how essential it is to be as self-sufficient as we can.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Playtime helpers

At weekends or when they are not busy with school work, the older Happy House children like to help at home. Between themselves they organise who will help where so everyone can pretty much turn their hands to assisting anywhere at home which is a huge help to our caring aunties. Today Husna tell us about helping to keep any eye on her small brothers and sisters.

Friday, 8 May 2020

The baobab tree

The baobab tree is native to Africa and produces a fruit which is said to have many health benefits. Rukia decided to out more about the strange-looking "upside-down" tree for her talk to the Happy House family, using one of our i-pads for her internet research.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Fruit talk by Priscilla

It was Priscilla's turn to to make a presentation to the Happy House family with her talk on bananas. And the children, who love bananas, learnt a lot about the health benefits of the fruit which is a favourite all the world over. Priscilla had researched and prepared her talk using the internet. Tomorrow it will be the turn of Rukia.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Repair job a mission impossible

It's the rainy season in Watamu and with one washing machine in for repair, the second from our Happy House laundry has broken down. Any parent will know that sinking feeling when that the washer fails, so imagine how Mama Sue feels with 60 kids to keep clean and no washing machine!. And with the Happy House on lockdown because of the Coronavirus, ensuring everyone has clean clothes, clean towels and fresh bedding is even more important than it normally is. The Coronavirus lockdown has brought another problem, parts needed for repairs are imported and as ships are standing unloaded on the docks, there are no parts available and repairs are impossible. So Mama had no option but to dip into our much needed funds to spend £636 on a new machine and she has a second one on order, provisionally, in the hope that some of our very generous friends might help us to meet the cost. We will be so grateful for even the smallest donation toward this unexpected expense: You can make a donation via JustGiving or PayPal Thank you.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Talking tables

Eager to show off how well they are doing at their times tables, our Happy House children said them aloud for Mama Sue. Thomas wanted Mama to listen to him say his two times table and his brothers and sisters joined in. Even 18-month-old Victor wanted to have a go. He doesn't like to miss out on anything!

Monday, 4 May 2020

Update from Mama

Friday was national holiday in Kenya and at Happy House there was a celebration for our family. Here Mama gives an update on how home schooling is going and how they were spending the day.
*Those of you who follow the blog every day will have seen our children enjoying their lunchtime treat yesterday so this may seem a bit back to front.
Unfortunately, this video must have been delayed in internet transit and turned up well after the later one.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Home school going a treat

Our Happy House kids have been doing so well with their home schooling that Mama and Papa decided to give them a special treat. So on Friday, they had a lunch of hotdogs, topped with onions and tomato sauce, followed by pineapple for pudding. The kids love hotdogs, the tasty sausages served in freshly baked bread rolls, so they were thrilled to bits. Mama tells us how well they are doing being home schooled during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Looking at sheep

Most of us consume dairy products that come from cows or goats but the sheep also produces milk which is highly nourishing. Diana found out some interesting facts about the nutritional value of sheep milk for the presentation she made to the rest of the Happy House family.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Harry flies the flag

Two national flags are raised at the start of the week assembly at Happy House School. Our scout group marches solemnly to raise and salute the Kenya standard a followed by the Union flag, as a mark of respect for our founders Mama Sue and Papa Dave. The national anthems of both countries are sung by the whole school. It was this ceremony that inspired Harry's talk to our family now on lockdown at home.