This day last year was the culmination of everything I had worked for, the reason I started the project, the motivation for the sponsored walk and fundraising I did, all the publicity I generated, all the donations I was given. After the process of getting everything to the schools, and after the wonderful celebrations (see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/09/27/a-truly-amazing-day-at-pakati-12-months-on/ ), the reason behind it all was about today. This day in 2019. Today, we introduced students at Pakati Primary and Secondary schools to computers, donated by https://www.stephensonpersonalcare.com
Thanks to my host Bothwell Riside, the two Heads Mr Chifaka (Secondary) and Mr Mahachi (Primary) plus all staff at both schools, as well as the local councillor, Alderman Israel Maliki, we set about setting up the computers in both schools.
After a brief discusssion, Bothwell (a fully qualified and experienced IT teacher bimself) did an introductory lesson at both schools, with a handful of students. Below are some pictures, first 2 from the Secondary, next 2 from the Primary.
I was delighted to be mingling with staff and students at both schools, it brought back many happy memories for me. Here are a few pictures….
Also I met some old friends, one of whom I hadnt seen for nearly 30 years, plus some new ones too…
Friends of Pakati wholly agree with VaTonatsa Foundation’s message on social media below – and hope that all staff and students take care and stay safe in all schools.
After some months, schools across Zimbabwe have re-opened on Monday, 28th September, to a limited extent. They are open for Grade 7 (Primary), Form 4 (Secondary, O level) and Form 6 (6th form, A level) classes only for now. This below is from the Zimbabwean Government:
On the same day this was tweeted, and added to a whats app group I am a member of, there were also exchanges about getting schools disinfected. This appears to have been carried out in the Ward 14, Murewa (see pics below from Pakati Secondary and Chanetsa Primary) schools:
Mr Chifaka of Pakati Secondary school sent me this picture below, with the following comment – ‘Educating form 4 learners on covid 19 and standard operating procedures on Opening day.’
Below is the guidance for standard operating procedures & protocols for Primary and Secondary schools
Below are some pictures from Pakati Secondary school, showing the implementation of the protocols – all information provided by the Headmaster, Mr Chifaka:
Above, Form 4 learners sitting in their class room, social distancing being ensured. However, we need additional 210 individual sitting places to accommodate all our learners when school fully reopens. This is the greatest challenge caused by the required social distancing. The old desks are no longer recommended. Schools are now also urged to acquire sitting places with back rests for learners.
Debbie Chadbon’s desire to help Friends if Pakati with fundraising have been hit for the second time by Covid 19. Earlier this year, the Bristol 10km run was cancelled at the height of the pandemic in the UK, forcing Debbie to look at different ways to support us. As she is still planning to do the run in 2021 all is not lost, but more recently she had smaller plans to help – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/09/22/fundraising-activities-for-friends-of-pakati/
Debbie was planning to have a stall selling some of her home grown produce from her allotment.
However, I received the following message from her a couple of days ago…. “Hi Chris. Unfortunately the sale trail has been cancelled due to COVID 😥.”
Sadly it was not unexpected, as there has been an increase in cases again here in the UK recently, leading to many restrictions being re-imposed on people. Ah well, back to the drawing board….
Once again we are looking for ideas to help raise more funds, – much needed as you can see from the pictures and comments above – so please do let us know what you think we could do. Usual contacts:
“I cannot desribe how I feel right now, but if I could bottle it and sell it I would be a very rich man. Its wonderful to be back somewhere that I have so many good memories of. The welcome has been overwhelming. Today I know will be a great occssion, as I will formally hand over the donations to the school with the blessings of the community and its representatives. I will post more pics when I can, plus on the blog when I am able to.”
Before the events, things were being prepared, some of the pictures below were taken prior to the celebrations
When summarising it all last year, I said this: “I met with the Head, Mr Cifaka, and we discussed all aspects of the day ahead. I also met with local dignatories including the local MP Hon. Mr Jonah Sewera, local councillor Alderman Israel Maliki and other councillors, Dr. Gurajane CEO of Murewa Rural District Council, Heads of local villgaes, School Development Committee members, local donors and supporters of development for women and girls organisation VaTonatsa members, along with staff from both schools.”
Below are just a small handful of pictures taken during the events:
As I was so well looked after and assisted by Bothwell, and he is an active supporter of Friends of Pakati, I feel he should also provide us with his own thoughts and memories..:
“Time is very slow whenever you are waiting for something to happen. It goes very fast when you are doing and enjoying something special. Exactly a year ago Pakati Primary and Secondary school hosted ‘Gushungo’ as Chris is affectionately known here. The mission was to handover and set up the computers before he left.
We went for a refuelling along Samora Machel Avenue in Harare, and then hit the road. Within a couple of hours we were parking and offloading an assortment of computer hardware at the secondary school with a jovial Mr Chifaka assisting too.
The rolling day, a Friday, was for me an unforgetable one. What initially looked like a small event was later graced by the local Councillor , Member of House of National Assembly, councillors from different wards around ward 14.
A presentation was done and the Guest of Honour delivered a memorable speech centred on how he had an indelible relationship with Pakati. Of course most of the people knew about him teaching at Pakati in the late 80s. But no-one had ever thought of how the ward gave him a wife and two golden boys. The MP gave the closing words and appreciated Chris for a sterling job, and the manner he handled the program. Time flew like no-one ever thought and the lunch was served with people mixing to socialised and exchange some stories.
The setting up was carried the following day. Chris showed everyone how to setup the computers and I did a demo lesson for the Primary and Secondary schools was done. Students were given soccer jerseys for sports. The next couple of days were spent moving between Pakati, Murewa and Harare, just trying to fix some logistics.
Chris said goodbye to Zimbabwe after a few more days visiting friends and former students. For me as well as Chris, a very memorable experience, and as he says, a truly amazing day at Pakati”
It was certainly a day I will treasure in my memory for many years to come.
12 months ago I arrived in Zimbabwe for a memorable visit, to bring the donated computers, equipment and football shirts to Pakati schools. I landed at RGM International Airport, Harare, to be met by my hostess for the first night, Donna.
The first day was not particularly warm in Harare, though the welcome certainly was. Donna’s two boys were very happy to see me as I had brought some gifts for everyone.
My hostess, below, Donna:
The donated goods were kept safe by Donna, securely stored away from prying eyes, until my arrival.
Next day, a Thursday, I travelled from Donna’s place in the Harare suburbs, setting off for Pakati with my good friend, Bothwell Riside. He was also my driver, host, companion, translator and guide whenever I needed. The journey to Pakati took around 2 hours with a couple of brief stops…here are some pics while travelling:
I finally made it down to the Secondary school, where they had been keenly awaiting our arrival. We set about unloading everything, before putting them in a secure room ready for the celebaration and formal presentation to the two schools and local community the next day.
We then set up some of thr equipment to make sure nothing had been damaged in transit.
Once everything was tried out and safely stored, I then joined my friend Bothwell at his family homestead very close to the Secondary school, where I was staying for the few days of my visit to Pakati. Once more I was made incredibly welcome, and could not have been better looked after at a 5* hotel.
There will be much more in the next post, as I look back at one of the most extraordinary days of my life, as I called it last year, a truly remarkable day at Pakati.
“Before I move on to my progression to A level, I want to add more about how Pakati Secondary school has helped me in my life. Firstly, there is the Headmaster, Mr Chifaka, who was also my accounts teacher. Although l got a disappointing symbol (C), I felt motivated by him because he used to say ‘the greatest disability is in the mind’. Also ‘if born in a poor family, a rich family must come out of you’. He shared with me a little of his background life before all the achievements he made academically. He also said that ‘your background does not determine your future. What you to today doesn’t mean you are going to die like that’. He emphasised on good associations and this has helped me a lot.
Indeed Pakati Secondary school molded my character, attitude, spiritual life. Mr Chizenya, History teacher and also my volleyball coach, took most of his spare time sharing good news concerning the gospel of the Trinity God . At primary level Mr Nyamahohwa, my best teacher ever, taught me more about character, attitude, purity, faithfulness, transparency, integrity, love …quoting from the book of 1 Corinthians 13. This molded me into a loyal and faithful woman like Ruth, have the bold spirit of Esther, and a submissive heart like Mary.
Mrs Pindura, the Deputy Head at Pakati Secondary school, took you to Chemhondoro?
Yes, l went with her to Murehwa Mission in Form 1 for my first time in office as a junior councillor, this was the second time. We were given a topic in advance then had to present it from memory as if you are already a councillor. The first topic was….how to eliminate harmful social practices affecting African children especially the girl child. My competitor was supposed to come from Chanetsa secondary, unfortunately but was an advantage to me as they never sent a representative.
How did you decide to become junior councillor?
It was not my choice… Mrs Pindura called me and another girl who was in Form 2 by that time, then she gave us an impromptu speech to make. At the end of the day she said ‘l will go with Portia’.
Ok, did you enjoy it? How long were you junior councillor?
Yes l enjoyed it a lot, l gained exposure and confidence from it which helps me today. I was a junior councillor for the 4 years at Pakati Secondary.
I recently returned for a visit to my home area, and passed through the school grounds.
I could not find much coverage for my phone network, but managed to do so at the fence marking the boundary to the Mapuranga homestead in Chidawaya village.
Having loved my time there, I would like to see more developments and improvements at Pakati, including to the Science education there. I feel if the lab was better equipped, they could teach individual Sciences – Physics, Chemistry, Biology – and perhaps several other subjects – up to A level there. In addition, more and better IT equipment would improve all aspects of education at both Pakati schools.
I moved to Zimre Park, in thr Harare suburbs, in February 2019, where l was going to serve as a housemaid. One Sunday in May, l had an encounter with Tanyaradzwa, a sister to Blessed Tema. He was the Headboy at Pakati Secondary, a friend and also a brother to me. l was surprised and filled with joy to meet her, since it was a long time without seeing each other.
She asked several questions without giving me any room to answer. “Do you stay here in zimre, where are you going, what about O level results l know you were that bright to make it, are going to school or working?”. It was my off-day and l was on my way from church in Ruwa. l was alarmed and astonished with her questions. I asked myself why Tanya is much concerned with my life, my future indeed. I decided to lie to her that l just visited my aunt and l gave her house number.
The following day she came to work house and l told her the whole story. She said, “Portia do you want to go to A level?” I answered her with a big “YES”.
“Portia, leave everything to me ok, it will be fine with you alright. I have a brother who works at Rose of Sharon High School, he is a chaplain there. Tanya came back after lunch hour and said she had spoken to her brother. He had said that l have to go there on my own.
l went there on a Tuesday morning to meet him. He said that you are lucky the Director of Education, Dr Fatima Maruta is here in her office we can go to her with your story, after asking me few questions like where are my parents, what drove me to be a maid whilst l have passed my O levels.
Upon meeting Dr Maruta, my eyes flooded with tears. I saw her removing her spectacles to mop up tears down her cheek after hearing my story. Without wasting much time she said,”Portia, l offer you a full scholarship till you reach your destination, so tomorrow come prepared for schooling”. She jotted down all the necessities and the following day everything was there complete school uniforms of high quality and stationery.
l moved in to Rose of Sharon on 8 May 2019. Everything happened seemed as if l was acting or dreaming, l didn’t know or believe that l deserved something better, even more than that to be offered a full scholarship at a boarding school, not least because from me being a village girl from a rural day school at Pakati Secondary.”
Wow. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but as I was compiling this, I definitely had a tear in my eye…very moving indeed. There are, apparently, more parts to come in Portia’s story – life at Rose of Sharon, social life, and her ambitions for the future. Certainly a lot to look forward to!
• I have more to come from Debbie Chadbon about her planned fundraising
• Oscar Bumhe, Chairman of the road project committee at Murewa Rural District Council, about the ongoing development in Ward 14.
• There are also other stories still being prepared for publishing in the near future
There are some relatively small fundraising activities either planned or ongoing, which together will add to our ability to help the two Pakati schools. One larger event is planned as well. At the bottom of this post is a request for more ideas…
One is from former Pakati Secondary school teacher, Debbie Chadbon. She tells me that she grows a mixture of crops on her allotment, here is part of the message she sent me earlier:
“I am planning to have a harvest stall at a local sale trail selling homemade jams and chutneys and pumpkins we have grown on our allotment, to raise funds for Pakati.”
Later she sent this message: “I will take a picture of my allotment although it’s not looking it’s best as everything is beginning to die off now. I’ll also take some pictures of the stall on the day of the fayre. Every so often in our area they have a sale trail, where people can set up a stall outside their house and sell stuff – like a car boot fayre without the car. They produce a map on social media highlighting where all the stalls are. This time because it is harvest time they are also having tables in the local church grounds which you can hire and sell produce. Because we live in a cul de sac I didn’t think we would get much footfall so I have decided to hire a table in the church grounds. Hopefully the weather will be kind and fingers crossed it isn’t cancelled due to COVID (otherwise I’ll be giving lots of jam and chutney for Christmas presents!). I am planning on doing the Bristol 10K run next May. I have been going for a short run once a week but wouldn’t be up for 10K anytime soon! Best wishes Debbie”
The second is by a fellow Scunthorpe United fan Gary Lundie, who is based in Glasgow, Scotland. He has odered some unique badges for sale, and is publicising them on his twitter feed and facebook page.
Gary says he is willing to given a portion of his sales to Friends of Pakati (as well as local charities in Scunthorpe), and it is great of him to consider doing that for us – a big THANK YOU from Friends of Pakati👏👏. He has had a delivery of them and says they are selling well🤞
The question is, what should I, or we at Friends of Pakati, do to raise funds in the next 12 months? Could be something large or small, we will consider all thoughts before chosing. We are therefore asking for suggestions please…
We spent £2700 of that on items such as support for a sponsored walk, additional IT and ancilliary equipment to supplement the donations, plus storage and transportation of the various goods from here in the UK all the way to Pakati.
September 2019 was a very memorable time for all of us connected to Friends of Pakati, as we delivered the IT & sports goods to the schools with great celebration from the community and local dignitories.
In the year since then things have changed dramatically. We planned a number of fundraising events and discussed other ideas, most of which then became put on the back burner thanks to Corona Virus globally.
Some of the things we had planned were temporarily abandoned, postponed, as the events we were relying on – a 10km run and a football match – were called off.
However, one thing has been ongoing, is the Author’s challenge – to lose weight and ask people to donate for Friends of Pakati. Here is how it is going…
From a starting point of 113.4kg in mid-January to mid-September with a weight of 98.8kg means I have lost 14.6kg overall…this has lead to some if the donations in recent weeks
Firstly, Schools re-opening in Zimbabwe – Exam classes are re-starting at both Pakati Prinary and Secondary schools soon. There will be protocols in place to protect staff and students alike, see below:
A recent exchange of messages between myself and the Heads of the two Pakati schools is shown below:
“Good morning. Regarding the Questions you asked: Schools will open for exam classes, Cambridge (A levels) – 14 September and ZIMSEC (O levels and Grade 7) – 28 September. All teachers will be at school. There is a Covid 19 guide lines module prescribed by Education ministry in partnership with Health ministry (see image above). Other groups will subsequently come but there is no date yet. I think government and UNICEF will provide majority of PPEs, as yet we are still to know what exactly they will provide.
At the Secondary we are doing markings for individual desks (for social distancing). We are doing this as we wait for ministry’s assistance. We don’t know what we will get, but the schools are doing their best to meet the requirements.”
Secondly, there are some road improvements underway within Ward 14, into the area which includes the catchment area for Pakati schools:
First of all, let me thank the following people for their help in providing information, pictures, advice and/or contacts:
Alderman Israel Maliki (Councillor for Ward 14, Murewa), Mai Mapanga (Road Project Treasurer) and in particular, Oscar Bumhe (Chairman).
Full list of Committee members to be found withinthe following message I received from the Chairman, Oscar:
There are 2 areas of the road requiring special attention as identified by the Engineer. We require cement over 700bags of cement to fix these dilapidated areas. Our capacity to mobilize resources to this extent is now stretched to the limit. We have a fully fledged committee constituted as follows :
Oscar Bumhe – Chairman Eileen Chinyuku – vice chairlady Chris Gutsa- Treasurer Petros Majonga-Secretary Wiriranai Karimbika-logistics Other comittee members: Roderick Matemadombo (UK) Succeed Chikuvire(UK) Misheck Masango Enock Matemadombo Mrs Mapanga Maxmos Bosha Charles Jaji
We welcome any form of contribution that anyone can mobilize towards this communal initiative designed to improve the lives of the people of this community. Sky is the limit. We aim to further the development of our area resources permitting.
We are creating others too, including everything about the Schools – classrooms, equipment, IT, lessons, etc., also local area developments – roads, joint ventures etc. If other things appear appropriate, we will create more pages.
Forthly and finally for this post, part 2’s. There are a number of Part 2’s being prepared for the blog, including Portia Nemaruru, Mr Mutyavaviri, and Pastor Aggie Fombo. In addition, our storyteller Pauline Machengo will bring us more about her tale of life as a foreigner in South Africa. The next chapter is about Capetown life she tells me, particularly for tourists.
First let us hear ftom Mrs Pindura, Deputy Head of Pakati Secondary school:
“The blog is very insightful and refreshing. I like your vision of bringing the Pakati community and its alumni together through sharing stories on the blog. I have seen many people moved by your efforts on the blog enough to see your vision as it is and want to step ahead with you, e.g. donors who have given us computers, sports uniforms among many other things. Your efforts in facilitating all this and personal expenses incurred is very much appreciated. I like the fact that you have managed to mobilise local leaders to rally behind you because they have seen that you dont just talk but act well. Your word is to be trusted and for that we thank you. I hope more people chip in, more alliances continue to be forged, and I hope the blog continues to be interactive and flourish.”
Jim Coulson, freelance content writer, radio presenter and video maker, plus former Stadium Announcer at Scunthorpe United: “It’s amazing to see the great work going on through this project and everyone should be so proud of what they have achieved and are continuing to do. Also, I’m a big fan of spreading the word of Scunthorpe United far and wide too!”
Neal Campbell, Chair of the Scunthorpe United Official Supporters Club (SUOSC) told me recently that…: “I think the blog looks good. Hearing about other people’s perspective and how the blog works has been educational, how sending a message has truly enabled people to be empowered. You are truly inspirational to those who most need it.”
Recent follower of Friends of Pakati, Hoora Hajee, had this to say: ” Absolutely inspiring stories! The set up of the website is fantastic and easy to use too.”
Lervena Mkudu, another regular follower, messaged me not long ago: “You are doing a great job at Pakati”
Emmanuel sent us a lovely message a couple of weeks ago: “Very interesting and inspiring stories! I enjoyed reading them. Please continue with your efforts to uplift and make a positive change to the lives of the school children, and ultimately, community of the area. The impact will be felt for many many years to come.”
I am delighted to (re)introduce Mr Mutyavaviri, a recent former teacher at Pakati Secondary school. He is popular among former colleagues and students alike.. Firstly, I will repeat the brief profile he have us back in 2019, before adding much more information recently. Read & enjoy…
Staff Profile – Mr Mutyavaviri, Head of Humanities, teacher of Maths
Born: Kadoma, Mashonaland West
Trained: Belvedere Technical Teachers College (2008)
Specialist in Economics & Accounts, can teach Maths, Commerce & Business Studies
Teacher at Pakati: since 2011
Life at Pakati – It is OK, but would like a more reliable & perennial indoor water supply.
If I wasn’t a teacher….I would be a book-keeper, accounts clerk, data capture clerk or any other business/accounting related job
Hobbies/interests: watching movies, reading, and writing articles
Fact no-one knows about me: nobody knows or can believe that I used to be a vibrant gospel preacher
“Hi everyone, I hope I find you well. Here is a narrative story of my life at Pakati which comes in two parts. The first part focuses on how I joined Pakati and became a well known part of the Pakati Secondary school staff community.
In May 2011 I was deployed to Pakati Secondary as an Accounts and Commerce teacher, moving from Nyamashato Secondary in the same district of Murewa in Mashonaland East. I had been at Nyamashato for two years and wanted to move either to a school in Harare, or closer to Harare as I had just registered for my ACCA studies.
Nyamashato was too far from the city for me to do studies. I couldn’t find an immediate school in Harare to move to, instead I found a swap transfer to Pakati Secondary, which was a good move. When I got to Pakati, there was no Accounts at the school at that time, I was told that the teacher I had swapped with taught Commerce and Geography so I had to take those subjects.
I indicated to Mr Chingoriwo, the then Headmaster, that I couldn’t teach Geography so I was going back to the district, to tell them that they had sent me for a wrong deployment. Instead of letting me just go, he asked me the other subjects I could teach besides Accounts which wasn’t being offered.
Being a Commercials person, Maths was the only other subject at the school I could teach but there was already a teacher for Maths. Mr Chingoriwo made some internal arrangements to change the allocation for the then Maths teacher so that I could have a Maths and Commerce teaching load, and it worked out well.
A few days after joining the school, the Head tasked me to take up the responsibility of coaching the school senior boys soccer team. I’m generally good at most sporting activities undertaken in schools, but my passion is in baseball and volleyball. I tried to avoid the responsibility but after he indicated some technicalities, I accepted the role accordingly.
On meeting the soccer team, I enquired how the school team had been performing against other schools, and was told that it had been long since the team managed to get through to finals at zonal competitions as there were bigger High schools in the zone (Musami High and Chemhondoro High) which always dominated. I set a target that we would reach finals at the zonal competitions that year (2011) as I needed time to get to know the students, and that the following year (2012), we would reach finals at district competitions.
My target seemed outrageous as there where 9 schools in our zone that time, Pakati secondary being one of the small ones and beating Chemhondoro and Musami was something the students didn’t envisage. I had to work extra hard to achieve the target. I focused much on training physical fitness and building a team spirit. On the zonal competitions day, we beat Chemhondoro in the semi finals and were beaten by Musami in the finals. Wow, thank God for answering my prayers, my first target at the school was just a success.
The local community noticed the achievement. Next was to focus on how I would manage to get the school team to reach district competitions the following year. My players needed to be motivated, so I pleaded with the head for the school to procure a new soccer uniform for the boys. Seeing the passion I had and the performance of the team at the ended zonal competitions, the head promised to work on my request.
In 2012, I started training the team during the last weeks of first term. During the same period, the school gave us funds for a new soccer uniform, I chose a Barcelona uniform and the team was nicknamed Baca. This was motivational to the players. I would take the boys to a steep dwala (small hill) in Chinhoyi village near Mr Baye’s home.
My thrust was to have a physically invincible team because it wasn’t going to be easy for a small school like Pakati. To beat all the other 8 schools in our zone and proceed to district competitions was something I believed was possible. God started working to our favour before zonal athletics competition of 2012, as our zone was divided into two (Musami A and Musami B). Pakati was placed in Musami A, where Chemhondoro High was also placed. This meant that one huge task (Musami High) had been removed.
Mr Magabaza, the then sports director at Pakati, went on leave during that term and I was asked to act on his behalf. I was voted to be the sports zonal representative. On the athletics zonal competitions days, we realised that the manner in which the zone had been divided was unfair. The two high schools were each put in a seperate zone, meaning each would still remain the power house in its zone.
Being the zonal sports rep gave me the capacity to push for reshuffling of the zone, which I managed to accomplish before the soccer competitions. My aim was creating a way for Pakati to reach district competitions. The 2012 senior team zonal competitions were held at Pakati, a positive thing for the team. Our local community had been witnessing how hard I was training the team, so they thronged the school grounds to support the team on the day of the competitions. The team won the zonal competitions, thank God. Morale became high within the team but the target of reaching finals at the district was still a hard one to achieve.
This lead to Pakati soccer team getting a new nickname – as we talked about the game someone said ‘we bulldozed them!’, hence we called ourselves the Bulldozers ever since.
Nyahuni high, which had gone to semi finals as second position team in our pool won the other semi finals so we had to meet them for the second time in the finals, after beating them in the pools stage. The match officials for the finals connived with Nyahuni to work against our team which saw our scores being denied leading to our students giving up and abandoning the match. However, we just encouraged them to finish the game, which due to obedience they did, but without any more heart hence we were beaten in penalty shoot outs of the district competitions.
I still maintain vivid memories of my 2012 Pakati soccer team which was captained by Gilbert Mhishi (now based in South Africa). It was a well behaved and committed team. This made the then new teacher (me – Mr Mutyavaviri) at Pakati Secondary well known in the local community. In 2013 I told the headmaster that I had accomplished my targets for the soccer team and was moving to the sport of my passion, thus I moved to volleyball.
Part 2 of my story (which will be with you soon) will focus on the academic circle and social interactions of my stay at Pakati as well as comments on development, achievements and general overview of the school during my time there.