Another hot and humid day in Kasarani and a morning of meetings with the key people at Happy Life. First up is the wonderful Sarah who is the head administrator. One of the favourite tasks of the year is sitting with Sarah and handing over all the donations. This year this included proceeds from events, donations from several authors and friends and family.
We then had a great hour with Bishop Peter and his wife Faith to get an update on the latest plans for Happy Life in 2020. The main goals are surrounding the new high school. Happy Life has managed to buy a plot of land near Juja Farm (about 5km away) that will be the site of the new school. For the first year, the new school block at Juja Farm will house the high school and the team have already recruited four teachers ready to start in January.
(Right - Peter & Faith from Nairobi, Left Jim and Sharon from Delaware)
The evolution of Happy Life can partly be charted by the age of the children that have not been adopted and stayed with the home. Founded in 2002, the initial priorities were housing, health, food, and clothing. Within ten years a big focus became education and prompted the building of the school. Now the project is 17 years old (and so are the oldest children) a high school is needed.
We discussed a lot of great fundraising ideas for 2020 and we wanted to share one here – a very nice idea from one of our authors Tim Symonds. Tim has written many Sherlock Holmes books and also lived for many years in Kenya. He's been one of the most active supporters of Happy Life donating items and funds each year. He wondered if Happy Life would like to create a plant-a-tree project that the children can get involved with. The timing is perfect and Peter and Faith loved the idea. So, from January we’ll be launching a new programme where for every book bought on the mxpublishing.com site we’ll plant a tree at the new Happy Life location. More about the other ideas soon.
Lunchtime and a chance to get involved with feeding the younger kids. Sharon headed to the infants for baby feeding - Steve to the toddlers as with a head cold not allowed in with the infants.
(Pepper Pig features heavily amongst the cuddly toys this year for some reason)
The afternoon was spent with our sponsored kid, Leah. We first met Leah at the age of six when she inspired us so much we chose her to be on the front cover of The Happy Life Story Book. At that tender age she was already behaving like a big sister to the younger kids and spending much of her free time helping the mamas and feeding the babies. Now at thirteen one of the pastors describes her perfectly as ‘a future leader’ working hard at school and supporting the other children. She’s transferred over here to spend time with us and will head back home to Juja Farm with us when we visit there on the 30th.
For the last two years Leah tends to bring one of her friends with her on our days out. Today Nelly came along for milkshakes, the entertainment area of the mall and a trip around the large supermarket (popcorn and crisps a once a year treat). Leah is on the left in the picture.
Tomorrow we hope to get further afield but it will depend on the weather – thunderstorms are possible.
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)