Our second week here in Kenya (see week 1 report) included a weekend visit out to the second location for Happy Life Mission – near a small village called Juja Farm which is about an hour NorthEast of Nairobi. Several years ago the program bought five acres of land there with a view to build accommodation and a school for the fast growing children that were yet to be adopted.

There are two campuses there now – the first, where years ago we visited an empty plot of land, now has twenty four primary classrooms and accommodation for 104 children. The schools cater for over 300 additional children from local communities.

There’s also a bakery, barbers shop and a level three medical centre (which has been built to expand to a level 4 and beyond). One of the things we love about the program is that additions that get funded, like the bakery, become profit centres back into support the core program.

We then head over to the high school campus where a second building has been added since we were here last year. As the program has been going since around 2000, some of the oldest children have reached high school age and in true Happy Life fashion, when they needed high school education the program built one.

Our #bookstotrees program funded 1,000 trees in total and they are spread across both campuses. It was wonderful to sit in the garden with Leah under one of the banana trees. There are dozens of different vegetables and fruit there. Especially under COVID, having a lot of self-sufficiency for food was vital.

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The new high school building is fully operational – just some painting to be done by the end of January

The daily routine

Visiting the rescue centre in the mornings includes splitting our time between the infants and the toddlers. Not a surprise but the toddlers (which the mothers call the ‘mobiles’) are the more tiring. One of the games they play is how many of them can pile on top of Steve in one go….

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There are usually around twenty toddlers in the rescue centre – and they are all fascinated by the yellow hair…

With the infants its a mix of baby feeding and keeping them occupied so the mothers can get on with other things.

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Infant A houses around 20 babies still on bottles. Infant B are slightly older kids and have porridge.

Christmas will soon be upon us and our final post next week will cover the chaos that is the Happy Life Mission Christmas Party – with 164 children (and at least two goats) in one place it’s sure to be ass manic as ever.

The favourite picture of the week turned out to be four of the babies from Infant A

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Left to right William, Peace, Neema, and Favour

You can read more about Happy Life Mission on their website.

By day Steve Emecz works in digital transformation for Tungsten Network (a Kofax company) and in his spare time is co-founder of MX Publishing with his wife Sharon. MX Publishing is a social enterprise supporting several projects – About Us.

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