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Christmas at Happy Life – Day 7 – Skates, Trees and School Uniforms

We made the most of our final day at Happy Life by setting the alarm early and getting up ahead of the kids. Breakfast for Steve was some freshly baked sweetbread from the on-site bakery with a some PB&J. Sharon opted for the more healthy cereal.

The older kids start their day with their chores and its great to see them all pitching in to help the Mamas. We headed over to the Shamma house where Leah lives. Mama Mary looks after the 28 girls in the house, the oldest of whom is 15. It’s incredibly calm as they all have toast and tea and Mary explains that’s because they are girls. They delight in seeing the videos we’ve taken showing Leah skating. She’s the only one that knows how having learnt over in Kasarani before transferring across. They decide they want to record a short hello to everyone.

               

 

We take some time with Leah to visit the field behind the school where they have planted a few trees and we hope to support them with a ‘plant a tree’ campaign in 2020.

On our way out of the house we find one of the staff making school uniforms. We ask him how many he has to do – he smiles and tells us ‘only fifteen more to go’. He’s making school shirts from sheets of white material and plaid skirts too on a foot pump sewing machine.

The school supports over 400 children now. 91 from Happy Life itself, and more than three hundred from the local community. The secondary school will be housed in the new building for two terms whilst they build the new secondary school 5km down the road. The new school will start off mixed but as it grows will split into two schools, boys and girls which we are told is the trend now in Kenya. Leash wanted to show us her classroom and her desk.

We grab a few minutes to record a quick video tour which is very enlightening watching it back as so much has changed since our last visit a year ago.

 

             

 

One of the kids needs to visit the hospital so we have a couple of extra passengers on the way to the airport and stop off at Kasarani to drop them off.

A quiet evening meal at the airport hotel to see the new year in as we have to check in for our flight around 8am in the morning for Rwanda and the Nairobi roads are not for navigating at that time of day.

It’s been a wonderful visit – already looking forward to the next visit.

 

Sharon and Steve

Co-founders MX Publishing and proud ambassadors for Happy Life

(more info on Happy Life……..Five Ways You Can Help Us Change Lives This Holiday Period)

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2020 in Adoption, Uncategorized

 

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Christmas at Happy Life – Day 6 – Bad Roads, Soccer and PingPong

It’s time to head over to the Happy Life location over in Juja Farm. As you can see from the map below, this is in theory a journey of less than an hour – barely 32km in distance.

However, once you reach Juja, the final  11km stretch is on the Juja Farm road which should have been tarmacked by now. When there have been rains (like now) the team don’t like to attempt the road in the small buses so today we’re traveling in the Happy Life pickup truck – which means loading up the truck with as much as possible.

               

 

In 2019 we introduced video conferencing to Happy Life through our wonderful sponsors Zoom – and its begun to transform things for the team. Firstly, pastor Peter explains that he used to have to make the three hour round trip to Juja Farm twice a week – now he has video meetings and has reduced his trips to once a week. Over the year that’s a saving of 150+ hours and thousands of dollars in fuel. The team have also begun to use Zoom for fundraising and operational calls with donors around the world – especially the USA.

 

It’s great fun to spend time with the older kids and the place has changed a lot in a year – not least the completion of the second school building (above) which was just a plan when we were here last December. The oldest kid here is Daniel at seventeen and he’s now outgrown Steve by a couple of inches. He leads the school both academically and as a big brother to the other kids. A few years ago we had a fundraiser to bring two table tennis tables to Juja Farm and Daniel explains that with the new school building they are adding a dedicated table tennis room and music room.

 

               

 

Steve spends the afternoon playing soccer with the kids. The best position for him is goalkeeper as it keeps him (mostly) out of trouble – when he can remember not to dive for the ball on the concrete surface. Sharon manages to convince Leah to dig out her skates which we brought a few years back.

 

The evening is nice and clear and the sound of the Kenyan wilderness, crickets and birds, is the perfect soundtrack to finish off the day.

 

 

Sharon and Steve

Co-founders MX Publishing and proud ambassadors for Happy Life

(more info on Happy Life……..Five Ways You Can Help Us Change Lives This Holiday Period)

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2019 in Adoption, Uncategorized

 

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