Monday, 31 August 2020

Lesson time

Today, we are joining classes one and two  as they prepare to start a lesson with Madam Naomi.

The children are being home schooled at Happy House so Madam Naomi, their teacher,  is in school and and is joining them via Zoom.

As Mama Sue tells us, these youngsters have come on in leaps and bounds whilst being home school, with their imaginations fired by the methods we have introduced to use the full power of the internet to enhance their classes.

Their performance and their behaviour is better than ever - so it's a win, win, all round.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Song for Sunday

Sunday is a day to relax and recharge your batteries ready for the coming week. And to help you start your day with a smile some of our children from Happy House have a song for you.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Game of rounders

Our Happy House kids are very good at getting themselves organised. They love sport and soon get teams sorted out for any game. In this video Natasha tells us about their game of rounders.

Friday, 28 August 2020

Lesson in keyboard skills

Some of our younger children are getting an introduction to keyboard skills. At Happy House we know that having good computer skills will give our children a head start. Today our video shows Michael giving them a lesson.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Busy boys

Some of our older boys have been busy giving the wicker furniture in our round banda at Happy House a new look. As you know, they enjoy helping around their home and there are always volunteers for every job. So there was no hesitation when Mama Sue asked if anyone would like to do some painting. Here John tells us what they are up to.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Update from Mama Sue

Life is so busy for our amazing Mama Sue at Happy House - she rarely has time to stop and catch her breath.
The last few months have been even more hectic than usual with all 60 children at home since lockdown started in March, Covid19 controls to keep in place, home education to organise plus the already full-time job of running the Happy House.
Today she is bringing us right up to date on news from the family and talks a little about the effect that the pandemic is having on our community in Watamu, where almost everyone depends on tourism for a living.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Sausages and lollipops!

It is such a pleasure for sponsors to see their child doing well in school . Morphin, one of Auntie Libby's sponsor children, has done so well this term he has come second in his class in the exam results. He's struggled a bit in the past but increasing the use of the internet and technology in delivering lessons seem to be just what he needed to fire his imagination. Auntie Libz made a donation and asked Mama if Morphin could, please, choose a treat to have a Kidz Club to share with all the family. He chose sausages and lollipops! So on Saturday each child had a sausage snack followed by a lollipop ... a great choice, Morphin!

Monday, 24 August 2020

Fledgling Janet's new nest

The eldest of our Happy House children, Janet, has flown the nest and has a little studio of her own not far away.

It's within a few minutes walking distance, which is ideal as she will be working for us now - helping with our younger children as a trainee teacher.

Mama and Papa were there to help her as she moved in and members of our staff ensured that any small problems, including a leaky shower, were sorted out.

Janet joined our family in 2010, along with her two younger brothers Evans and Oscar, and has grown up in our care.

So having her Happy House Mama and Papa there to support her as they always have is really special for her. For Mama it was a very emotional day.

Evans who filmed this video says: Janet's studio is nice and it looks very smart. "She is happy to have it and although she lives out of the Happy House, she is still a Happy House kid because once a Happy House kid always a Happy House kid."

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Song for Sunday

Six of our girls are joined by a trio of our boys for this week's Song for Sunday which we, at the Happy House, hope will brighten your day.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Clean sweep

We are always looking for ways to keep costs down at Happy House and even the kids in our care understand the need to be thrifty. After all, as a charity, everything we have is thanks to the kindness and support others. So in these strange times, when money is even more tight, the kids thought they'd help by making brooms for the house aunties and other members of the family when they are cleaning. Evans, who shot the video, says:"It is very nice that the kids understand how hard the situation is and they are really giving a hand where they can so that they can also save some shillings."

Friday, 21 August 2020

Garden gang

We have some real "professional" young gardeners at Happy House. Mama Sue gave them their own garden where they could grow food for our kitchen and they are showing themselves to be taking it very seriously. Evans, who made the video, says: "The kids really love gardening, after school, they all run to their small pieces of land to water their plants. This is nice for them and as you can see in this video how this boys are happy working in their little portions of land. Everyone was given the chance of choosing what they want to plant , some went for carrots, tomatoes, maize and many more other plants. "It is very nice for these kids to have this small responsibility and really it keeps them occupied because they are always working in their gardens" Here Saidi shows us the garden and and introduces Edward and Erick who are two other members of the club.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

I love Man City!

All our Happy House kids love Premier League soccer and Husna has no doubt about which team she supports. It's Manchester City, just like our Mama Sue. Here Husna tells more about her top team.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

No dust, no rust

We don't just take great care of our children at Happy House - we look after everything we have. After all, every item we own has come from the hard work of others - those who support our charity and the work of our amazing Mama Sue. We owe it to you to keep everything in top notch condition and to make it last as long as we can. Our vehicles are used on dusty roads and we try to keep them sparkling. No dust, no rust, as Uncle Saidi, one of our staff members, tells us in this video presented by his helper, Happy House kid, Morphin.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Bright spark David

When she was building her Happy House Mama Sue dreamt of a children's home like no other. She wanted to give a loving family home to kids like those she'd seen abandoned, abused or suffering from living in extreme poverty. In her care they would grow an flourish, like weak little seedlings, given the right care, they'd bloom into strong and bright flowers. Mama Sue wanted to make a difference to the lives of children. For one little boy Mama Sue and her Happy House arrived at precisely the right time - a year later and his fate would have been so very different. David, now 10, came to us towards the end of our first year. He'd been abandoned at Malindi Hospital by his mum, who was HIV positive and alcohol dependent, who later died from Aids, He was two months old when the hospital released into our care, he'd arrived two months early, was tiny, and a always floppy baby. As Mama says in this video we sought the best medical help we could find but no one could quite pinpoint what was wrong, but suggested it could be Downs Syndrome. He was 11 months when some doctors at a specialist centre told her just to take him home and love him, because we wouldn't have him long. But at Happy House we don't give up that easily.Where we know there's a spark we'll turn it into a flame. And that is the case with David, whose most recent exam results show just how far he has come and how, with extra care and attention, he really can achieve.

What could have happened to David all those years ago doesn't bear thinking about so instead we'll carry on looking ahead with the excitement of watching him grow.

Monday, 17 August 2020

A very happy Mama

How lovely to see our Mama Sue looking so happy. And why? Because she's a Mama whose kids are doing her proud. Home schooling has brought them on in leaps and bounds. As Mama Sue looked for ways of educating them safely when the pandemic closed our school, she harnessed every bit of technology and applied imagination to how it could be used. The results speak for themselves! We will carry on with this for the remainder of the year (the Kenya Government is keeping all schools shut until January) and will take the methods we have piloted at home back into school when we reopen so that other children will benefit too. We will need more Smart TVs but are hopeful that, with your help, we will be able to buy them. some of you have donated towards the ones we have, and we are so grateful to you for that. These wonderful exam achievements are a result of teaching with technology and that is thanks to you!

Sunday, 16 August 2020

A song for Sunday

Another Song on Sunday from some of our children at Happy House. Bringing you music which comes right from their hearts are: Greg,Brian, Morphin, Dulla, Khalid, Tumaini, Gift, Baraka Francis, Erick, Hussein, Baraka Kaingu and Lucky.

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Making the laundry a little easier

Rain is always welcome at Happy House - we need the water to get our garden growing. But the amount of rain we have been getting recently has been a nightmare for our aunties who do the laundry. Even when the rain stops they haven't been able to get to the washing lines because land around them becomes a quagmire. So builder Carlos is at Happy House creating a hard standing area for the laundry area, which will have a path direct from the laundry. He is also reusing materials from an old store, once a cowshed, to make a lean to where our vehicles can be parked and protected from the weather.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Flying the nest

This is a a very exciting time for Janet. The eldest in our Happy House family, Janet has been working at Happy House since she finished school last year. She and her two brothers, Evans and Oscar, were among the first children to come into our care in 2010. Since leaving school an working at Happy House she has continued to live at home with us.. These months have given her time to reflect on the future and to change her mind. She thought she would like to be a social worker, but after working so closely with our small children she has decided that she would prefer to train as a nursery class teacher. Mama Sue supports her choice and will support her training whilst she works in school. But there comes a time when the young people we have nurtured in our Happy House nest must be allowed to fly. And Janet is moving into her own rented room, just a little way from the Happy House. This will give her the independence of looking after herself, managing her own money and establishing a life beyond the Happy House where she has lived since was just 11 years old. That she is able to do that is because of the foresight of Mama Sue, our charity founder. Right from the start she decided each of our children should have their own saving accounts and encourage sponsors to add to these instead of sending gifts at Christmas and for birthdays. The accounts remain in Happy House custody until a child reaches independence - Janet is the first of these to be making use of her account. Mama and the Happy House are helping to equip her room with some essential furnishings and Janet is enjoying shopping for some others. This is down to th kindness of her sponsor family who have helped to build her nestegg. This is a wonderful time for fledging Janet and we look forward to seeing her soar in the big, wide, world!

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Planting out the new garden

The new plot of garden created in the Happy House garden has been divided into plots for our children.
The kids really want to help with the planting and growing more food and they are happy to take this responsibility. Everyone who is willing to plant has been given a portion of land where they will plant and tend their crop until harvesting time. Lucky presents our video.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

More growing space

Until building work started on the Happy House in 2008, the land on which it stands had been bush. Digging the foundations revealed that it beneath the scrubby earth was coral. With so little good soil, we have had to import tons of the stuff to create a garden which now yields vegetables and fruit. Now, Mama Sue has decided to create a bit more growing room and more soil has been imported as Uncle Alfred, one of our grounds staff, tells us.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Quiz time treat

At Happy House we have kids we have happy and healthy kids always eager to learn and to do their best. They put in lots of effort to do things well. Mama Sue inspires and encourages them and rewards them, too. So during the break in quiz time they had fresh and fruity snacks - half an orange and half an apple each.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Quiz time

our Happy House kids who are being home-schooled during lockdown are starting examinations.
It's important that the children who are in our care do not fall behind, so Mama Sue put mechanisms in place to ensure they were having lessons despite schools being closed since March and not scheduled to reopen until January. And quizzes have been introduced as a way of getting them exam ready - much more fun than traditional revision! Here teacher, Mr Khamisi tells us more.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Song on Sunday

Week two of our songs pm Sunday from our children at Happy House. Featured singing today are: Mwende, Fahima, Charity, Joyce and Rehema.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Our team at Happy House

Administrator at Happy House and Mama Sue's right-hand woman, Auntie Rose has been a part of our team since we opened in 2010. But she has known Mama much longer than that, since her early days of charity work in Kenya. Our Rose has blossomed over the years into a strong, confident and very capable woman. She has learnt a huge amount from Mama, a sharp and astute businesswoman, and is inspired by Mama's own work ethic and determination to always make the Happy House a loving and beautiful environment for the children living in it's care, whilst getting the best value for money for our charity and those who support it. Mama and Rose make a formidable pair. They are excellent role models to the girls in our care and who come to our school. Although changing slowly, this is a community where education is still considered more important for boys. In this video, Rose is talking about our team at Happy House. The staff, indoors and outdoors, who ensure it runs smoothly, is well maintained and who keep the garden growing!

Friday, 7 August 2020

Soup-er time!

Mama Sue and Papa Dave introduced soup to our family at Happy House.
It's full of hearty goodness and the children love it. They specially like pumpkin soup, made from pumpkins grown in the garden. In this video we visit the pumpkin patch with Husna and little Elizabeth.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Happy hens

Keeping happy and healthy hens to lay plenty of eggs for our family is one of our aims at Happy House! The youngsters in our care enjoy helping to look after the poultry we keep and for Brian Hayward they are a special interest. He really enjoys assisting. Here he tells us a bit more about them.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

A home with a heart for John

John found a family, with a Mama and Papa, when the came to Happy House in 2016. He came to us from a rescue centre in Mombasa, along with his younger sister Diana, and brother, Daudi. He had not been in school and was unable to read and had no grasp of maths. But being at Happy House he has discovered the importance of education and is determined, always to do his best. He understands, as Mama always says, "Education is the only road out of poverty." A natural dancer, he has taught the other children in our family to dance and he is always happy to help wherever he can and is grateful to all those, at Happy House and beyond, who help him. Here tells us more about himself.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Our joinery workshop

A joinery workshop, staffed by skilled craftsmen, ensures that at Happy House we can make and repair pretty much anything we need that can be made of wood. This means that we are employing local labour, buying materials locally, and putting as much as we can to the local economy. Mama Sue and Papa Dave have ensured that money from donations has been used wisely to equip the workshop, and the result is that all our furniture, doors, window frames and much more for Happy House home and our school is made right here. In this video, Priscilla and Jacinta take you on a tour of the workshop.

Monday, 3 August 2020

The good life

Best friends Florence and Fahima love being Happy House kids. The tragic circumstances that led to them coming into our care are behind them now, as they live their lives as happy, healthy and aspirational children. They know that it is because of the support our charity, Children of Watamu, receives and those who sponsor our children, that we can provide them with their wonderful family home and a fantastic education in our school. Throughout lockdown they have been home schooled as we have put to good use all the resources we have for virtual learning. Florence tell us of her her ambitions - high flying they are too! But we tell our kids that if they try hard enough, and work hard, anything is within their grasp. Fahima has a bit of advice for you too: "Come and live the good life at Happy House." You'd never know the sad little beings they were they arrived. That's what we call, the Happy House magic.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Sunday song

For the next few Sundays we will be bringing you, with our love, songs from our children at the Happy House. As our regular blog followers will know our children love to sing. Singers featured here are: Fahima, Diana, Vidzo, Florence, Charity, Joyce and Neema.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Thanks from Mama

You, our loyal and loving Happy House friends, are wonderfully kind to our family. You make it possible for our children to have lovely clothes and shoes, the best possible care and education, and treats to! During this long and difficult time clouded by Covid19, you have continued to send the kindest messages of encouragement and hope, donations towards unforeseen repairs and for for items we have needed to replace. Donations are also coming in for the televisions we want to add to our classrooms once school opens again, so we can continue with e-learning we have found so successful in our home schooling. And to our children's delight, some of our friends have sent donations for treats - usually something sweet and healthy, distributed at Kidz Club! By way of thanks we are bringing you, on Sundays over the next few weeks , we will bring you some songs by our children.
We hope you will look out for your sponsor child, and enjoy their happy voices.