Pakati Trip Diary – part 4 (quite a lot in this one!)

Welcome to this week’s blog, It’s all about the lead up to my visit to Zimbabwe next week. There are several important developments this week….

The previous 3 diaries can be found here:

Here is what has been happening during the week!

Monday 12th September – Following on from last week’s blog, Quantum Solar are at Pakati Secondary school today, repairing the solar power system & replacing the damaged parts. Here is a brief summary & some photos from our representative, Lorraine Mapuranga who was in the area this week:

“This is a brief report of my school visit yesterday when you asked me to go and assess the work that the solar guys were doing. I arrived to the reception of Mr Chizenya (Deputy Head) who was also expecting the solar maintenance team to arrive. They arrived around 1415hrs. Above are the pictures taken with the old system while they were removing the non functional batteries and other accessories.”

Tuesday 13th September – A small number of Huddersfield University Business School students who are on their MBA course have been assisting us with support & advice.

The Consultancy Project is an important part of their coursework. Today were given a presentation, and thanked them for their efforts. Their ideas & comments will lead to changes, but not until after the trip to Zimbabwe. See pictures below:

The four students about to begin their presentation are (l. to r.) Mayowa Boluru-Ajayi, Adeyosola Davies, Folasade Olagoke, and Chinedu Adolphus Ezike

Afterwards, we had photos taken, including with their Supervising lecturer, Matt Snell.

I also heard from COEDMA FREIGHT INTERNATIONAL LTD about likely delivery of our goods to Harare on Wednseday;

It appears we are one of the deliveries still delayed..

The great news is that solar power has now been restored to the Secondary school. It was completed late on Monday 12th. Here are some pictures, and a brief comment from Lorraine:

“The pictures above were taken after they had completed the job. I had left the school so by then so they sent me the pictures. Maybe you will hear more from the school staff who were on the ground how everything went.”

Wednesday 14th September – great news today! Our goods have arrived & been delivered to an address in Harare, ready for me to collect when I arrive next week.

More great news! With thanks to Mr Chifaka, Head of Pakati Secondary school, who sent the following images of him taking a Form 2 clas – the first IT lessons for some time.

It is so good to see Friends of Pakati being able to meet its Vision of supporting the education of students at Pakati. Let’s help the Primary get to the same position by raising the necessary funds (£600) to restore/replace their solar power & re-start IT lessons for their younger students! So far he have received £168 towards the total.

Donate here please: or

Thursday 15th September – Update on the solar power system at Pakati Secondary, from Lorraine:

“Dear Chris

Mr Musara called me this morning, he has been trying to reach me without success. He says they did the job well, however upon their first inspection they only picked one panel that was struck by lightning when in fact they were 2. So he says they did not put the new panel that they bought because they had to be paired. They rewired the rest of them and they are oky to be used like that . I asked if they did anything to protect the panels from future lightning strucks, he says they innovated a way of putting earth wires to the panels since the original installers had not protected the panels. So he says when he goes to fix the Primary School he will need another panel which he quoted 80$. He says he left everything functioning well and the staff who had their laptops and phones were happy with the job.

They are okay to be used like that for now but will still need to add the 2 which will make it sustainable during cloudy days.

Regards Lorraine

Friday 16th September – Last day at work before my trip, can’t hide my excitement!

Saturday 17th September – It seems we are lucky, because not all of the consignment of good which included ours have got to Harare yet. Thankfully, ours are sat waiting for me to arrive next week!

Also today, I began some parts of my packing, deciding exactly what I am bringing with me

Sunday 18th September – Due to personal circumstances, I have not had much chance to do much today, but suffice to say everything will be in place during the day tomorrow in oreparation for my flight early on Tuesday morning.


In the coming weeks… I will be posting at irregular intervals, mostly on social media but with the occasional random blog. Mostly it will depwnd on access to networks & the internet. All being well, I will find myself back in my other home area of Pakati😁


Pakati Trip Diary – part 3

Here is the latest about all matters relating to the Author’s forthcoming trip to Zimbabwe. Please share among your contacts across your social media platforns

Read parts 1 & 2 here for earlier updates: and

The Author arrives in Harare, September 2019

Monday 5th September – Great news as our shipping company, COEDMA FREIGHT INTERNATIONAL LTD, gave the latest update on our goods:

Tuesday 6th September – A slight delay but the Solar repairs at Pakati Secondary school is to begin  this weekend, and be finished during the early part of next week. Thanks to Vari Mayez for the update

Solar power supply batteries at Pakati Secondary school seen in 2019

Wednesday 7th September – Intention to Donate letters are being prepared, with items to be donated to all 5 schools in Ward 14. These will include a laptop & some clothes for each school

Thursday 8th September – We have had another update from COEDMA FREIGHT INTERNATIONAL LTD – another delay in getting the goods from Nairobi to Harare, but not entirely unexpected

Friday 9th September – Vari Mayez of VaTonatsa Foundation – our partner organisation – has now confirmed she will be around in Ward 14 during my visit there, so it will be good to get her together with Friends of Pakati, especially since our representative Lorraine has already been working alongside Vari and will also be around.

Lorraine Mapuranga from Friends of Pakati with Vari Mayez from VaTonatsa Foundation

Saturday 10th September – A nice surprise this morning – an unexptected donation of £20 showing in the account! This brings the total donated towards our total of £600 up to £188.

Sunday 11th September – Just this morning I have received confirmation from Vari Mayez, that the company doing the work on the solar supply at Pakati Secondary school – Quantum Solar – are sourcing the materials, then will to go to the school tomorrow. Mr Chifaka, Head of Pakati Secondary, will be around to see the progress & take photos for us. I am told the work will be completed on one day.

Second from the right is Evans Musara of Quantum Solar during his recent inspection at Pakati

Next week – We hope to have confirmation of the solar repairs, along with a report & photos of the work being done.

Also we hope to be able to report on the arrival of our goods into Harare, and to thr address where they will be kept until my arrival.

Would be great to announce more donations so here are the two main ways people can donate to us – and

Have a great week!

Pakati Trip Diary – part 2 – includes new podcast!

Welcome! Here is the second part of our diary in the lead up to my visit to Zimbabwe in September.

Read the first part here:

The Author arriving in Zimbabwe, September 2018

Plans for all aspects of my trip are progressing nicely, so here is what has been going on all this week, including a new podcast:

Monday 29th August – Our promised donation of £100 materialised today! Brings our running total up to £154 so far. Two main ways to donate exist – and

Power needs to be restored so the schools can use the IT already donated, currently gathering dust

Tuesday 30th August – We have received notification that our goods were still at Heathrow Airport awaiting screening up to yesterday.

Wednesday 31st August – Update frim COEDMA FREIGHT INTERNATIONAL LTD states that today, the shipment arrived at Nairobi Airport in Kenya. It is waiting fir a suitable connecting flight to Harare.

Thursday 1st September – Today I received notification from Vari Mayez of VaTonatsa Foundation that the Solar Power repairs at Pakati Secondary school will begin next Tuesday 7th September. All being well I will have some photos and a report on the next blog!

We received another £10 donation today, bringing the total up to £164 out of £600 needed to complete the repairs at both Pakati schools. See here for more info:

Friday 2nd September – Podcast latest recording arrived – episode 11 – Host Bradley Mell talks to Chris about his forthcoming trip & what Friends of Pakati are up to…

Saturday 3rd September – A donation of £4 (for sale of a badge) was made, bringing our total up to £168 so far…if you want a badge or other merchandise the contact us via email or DM us at Find out more on our page

Sunday 4th September – Discussions are underway about putting on another event in conjunction with the Iron Bru podcast lads, to help us raise more funds in the near future.

Finally, we have a new facebook page:

Back next week with more updates!


Pakati Trip Diary – part 1

Welcome to this first diary of preparation for the trip to Zimbabwe!

The Author at Pakati, September 2019

With only a few short weeks to go, I will keep you all updated of our progress regarding all aspect of the trip, including the donated goods, the funds raised for the solar power repairs, how the money is being spent, how the first repairs are going, plus what our partners and other interested parties are doing. Catch up with our recent posts here: and

So, to begin with, here is what has happened this week:

Monday 22nd August – The donated laptops, t-shirts & polo shirts were boxed up, taped up & labelled ready to be collected the next day.

Donated goods being packed into boxes

Also, I was called and interviewed by my local newspaper, the Telegraph & Argus in Bradford – see here – – and the article was published that day. It was also syndicated in at least two Zimbabwean news organisations, and word spread quickly on several network groups I am a member of.

Tuesday 23rd August– The couriers came to take the 3 boxes around lunch time, to take them to the shipping agents COEDMA FREIGHT INTERNATIONAL LTD of Leicester – link to their website here:

The 3 boxes about to be taken by the couriers

I got a donation of £19 via paypal. I received a promise of a donation of £100 at month end.

Wednesday 24th August – COEDMA notified me of the goods arrival at their offices in Leicester. They also told me we will be billed once the goods are ready to move to the airport for scanning & clearance.


I got a call early afternoon from BCB – Bradford Community Broadcasting – a local radio station I have been on before. They wanted me to come onto their early evening programme to talk about Friends of Pakati having seen the T&A article earlier this week. I went on at 17.45 to 18.00, a very good interview with host Maureen.

Thursday 25th August – COEDMA confirmed the goods are ready to go to the airport, and sent me the bill. I paid it straight away out of Friends of Pakati funds, ensuring they go on the next stage of their journey. I logged into their tracking app to check on updates, which confirms they are due to depart for screening at Heathrow on Thursday 25th.

I got a donation of £5 via paypal. A colleague at work offered me a laptop to bring in next day.

Friday 26th August – I received two donations in cash from colleagues at work, a total of £20. Donations transferred from paypal & from cash into Friends of Pakati’s bank account. Total towards the £600 needed now at £44 with the promise of £100 still to come on 1st Sept.

One of the items in need of repair at Pakati Secondary school is a broken panel, seen here being inspected recently

The promised laptop is still being ‘cleaned up’ so I am told I will receive it next week.

Saturday 27th August – Donation of £10 via Gofundme received. Donations thus far at £54

Following discussions, Friends of Pakati has decided it will repair the Secondary school solar power systen first, leaving us to raise more funds to complete at the Primary school

Sunday 28th August – We are currently discussing how best to distribute our donated goods, and will update once all is agreed with interested parties. Appropriate ‘Letters of Intention to Donate’ will be prepared to meet the required protocols.

Having discussed with the person who is having the goods delivered to them in Harare, I will collect them on my way from the airport.

Pakati Primary school, 2022


More details on progress of our goods, our fundraising and plans for the trip. Hoping to record a new podcast with our regular host, Bradley Mell.

We are also planning to use any photos and videos taken, to create a visual diary of the visit, which will go out on our youtube channel. Some short videos are lijely to go out on our Instagram & Twitter feeds

Lastly, it looks increasingly like I will have to start afresh with Facebook, & create a new personal account and newcpage for Friends of Pakati. As soon as they are done, I will spread the word.

Help us to raise £600 please !!

Welcome to Friends of Pakati!

This blog is a one-off special, explaining what we need & why….if you, or someone you know can help us, please pass the word around on your social media platforms.

There are 2 main things we need help with, the repairs to the solar power system at both schools, and the transport of donated items out to Zimbabwe.

1. The Solar Power Repairs

Read about our recent interim report here:

Pictured above are Friends of Pakati’s very own representative, Lorraine Mapuranga, and Vari Mayez, founder & CEO of VaTonatsa Fiundation, our partner organisation. They were getting confirmation of the agreement between ourselves and Murewa Rural District Council about procedures & protocols which now allow us to progress with our plans.

Further, we had a full quote for the work to be done at both schools, a total.of US$2470.00 which was $670 more than anticipated.

Solar panels at Pakati Secondary school, part of which needs replacing.

We had budgeted for US$1800.00 but the lack of power is a real problem for both schools, particularly the Secondary.

2. Transport of donated goods

We have been very fortunate to have received a number of donations of goods, and we want to transport them to Zimbabwe as soon as we can.

Firstly there are laptops (Chromebooks), as seen here – – and secondly various t-shirts, poli shirts & football shirts – all donated by Scunthorpe United – accepted with thanks👏👏👏 on behalf of Friends of Pakati by the Author

Only this weekend we received more – not least these 14 polo shirts:

The cost of transporting the Laptops is £360, and of the variety of clothing, is £160, plus pick up in the UK £20 & Delivery to an address in Harare £10 – making a total of £550.00 – then when I get to Zimbabwe in a few weeks time.


3. In the bank.

Sat in our bank account is the current total of £558.00

We need to add another £600.00 (at least…) to ensure we can get both things mentioned above.


Can you help? Know anyone else who can? Please share across your platforms for us! Here are the ways you can donate:

Please contact me if you have any questions…but avoid facebook at present, as I am currently suspended for no apparent reason.

Solar Power Progress Report!

Greetings everyone, welcome to the blog once more!

Today we bring news around the Solar power issues at both Pakati schools, first reported by our representative Lorraine Mapuranga after a recent visit to Pakati – find out more here:

Once again, Friends of Pakati & VaTonatsa Foundation are working together, as our intrepid reporter Lorraine joined with VaTonatsa’s very own Vari Mayez, seen above by the Primary school signboard. They were accompanied by another VaTonatsa staff member, Chido Manhera seen below).

Vari sent me the pictures from the visit, and I will quote from her comments to me & from Lorraine too, to give a flavour of the trip which took place yesterday, Sat 13th August. First, Vari sets the scene:

“Lorraine Mapuranga (FoP), Lainah Chido Manhera (Vatonatsa) and myself Vari Mayez (Vatonatsa) left Harare at 830 and got to the Two Pakati schools around 1030. Both Heads Mr Chifaka and Mr Mahachi were expecting us, so when we got there they were already at Pakati Secondary school Administration waiting for us. We were met by the two Heads in the company of two Gentlemen from Quantum Solartech, Mr Munashe who is a Technician there who gave us the quotation last time, and Mr Evans Musara .We went in to the fenced area that houses the Pakati Secondary school to assess the current solar system.”

Left to right Mr Chifaka; Mr Evans Musara, Mr Munashe, Mr Mahachi, Vari, Chido, Mr Mu – picture by Lorraine

Lorraine’s first impression was quite stark – “So we arrived and the Heads and the team were already there. Sadly the school still looks ghostly in terms of lack of energy.” Which is precisely WHY they we all there – to assess the solar situation in order to restore some power to both Pakati schools. Without that power, they can’t use the computers they do have, and they sit idle for now, gathering dust…

At the Primary school, Lorraine sees the computers needing covers as they are not currently in use

The inspection of the facilities went ahead at both schools, so we can get a realistic quote for both sets of repairs. Friends of Pakati are looking to fund the repairs, and will make suitable arrangements in accordance with local protocols – which we are currently consulting on with help from VaTonatsa.

Below are some of the pictures, first from the Secondary school;

On the way to the Primary…

And then inspecting the Solar set up at the Primary:

There is a budget available, and hopefully we can get it all done within that budget. We should hear from the installers very soon, then the work can begin. I understsand it will not take long to complete the repairs, & we should see the computers back in use very soon – as when we first set them up in 2019:

Assuming all goes well, we intend to celebrate this when I visit Pakati in September. We are currently trying to arrange it, along with a positive meeting to discuss how to improve things for staff & students at both schools. Much more to follow on that soon!


Lorraine & Vari also took the opportunity to see what state the booklets we produced for exam classes were in – they were first distributed to the schools in Ward 14 back in Juoy 2020 – good to see they are still in good conditiion to be used as revision material:

And finally…

Good to see both Pakati schools, even though it is looking a bit dry there…


New donations!!

Welcome to the blog! Today it is about donations…

First up, IT

This week sees Friends of Pakati being donated some new IT equipment for both Pakati schools, as mentioned last week here:

Friend of Pakati & regular podcast host Bradley Mell told me recently that his Mum works in a school in Scunthorpe (my home town) and they have some Chromebook laptops to give to a worthy cause. Naturally, when I was offered, I said YES PLEASE!

Bradley Mell presents the Chromebooks to Friends of Pakati on behalf of the Oasis Academy Parkwood school in Scunthorpe

Ready to bring the Chromebooks home….

…now I can get them set up

On behalf of Pakati schools, I would like to thank Oasis Academy Parkwood very much for the donation of the equipment. They will be put to good use! Once they are delivered to the schools, we will post photos of students learning how to use them.

Next, football shirts…

I recently emailed the club I support – Scunthorpe United – to see if they might have some shirts to.donate, as they did so.generously back in 2019. Remember this video?

We hope to repeat this after I visit Pakati in September, will.get plenty of photos & short videos so we can compile another entertaining film!

Here below is what the club have donated to us this weekend – 11 football shirts!

Thank you Scunthorpe United!!! Special mention to COO Lee Turnbull, Fan Elected Director Neil Wright & Glynn Sparks a.k.a. mascot Scunny Bunny for the handover before the match yesterday – see below:

Spreading the word of the Iron – Pakati branch of the Iron Supporters will continue to grow!


Donation of ideas! News from the Consultancy with students at Huddersfield University Business School, studying for an MBA.

Following a second meeting with the group, several things have been suggested to help Friends of Pakati develop including the following:

  • Redesigning the website
  • Logo redesign, part of developing a ‘Brand’
  • Social media accounts to have ‘branding’
  • Develop a content calendar
  • Targeted ads on social media
  • Looking at colour schemes
  • Photos & videos during the visit

There are other things we discussed too, including getting us registered as a charity – something I am very keen to do!

Much of what we covered will take some time to introduce, and I am.thinking of taking time off from blogging during November, then relaunching it all in December.

And finally….

Let me say on behalf of Friends of Pakati, a huge THANK YOU!!! to all those who donate money, time, goods, ideas or anything else – it is all very much appreciated👏👏 I am very much looking forward to getting the Chromebooks & football shirts out to Pakati this September.



Podcast 10 – featuring Vari Mayez – plus a teaser…

Welcome to this week’s blog!

Today we release our 10th podcast, with thanks once again to our host & editor, Bradley Mell.

Vari Mayez with our very own Lorraine Mapuranga at VaTonatsa Foundation offices in Harare

Our featured guest is none other than Vari Mayez, CEO & Founder of our partner organisation, VaTonatsa Foundation. We featured them in last week’s blog – catch up here:

Having read that, here is the podcast to listen to & enjoy!

Please do have a listen to our previous podcssts here:

Discussions are currently ongoing about what we plan to do, including around my visit to Pakati in Seotember, but we are waiting to hear about a potential development which might affect our plans again! More to follow as soon as we find out.


Just been advised of a new donation…coming from a school in my home town of Scunthorpe, via a family member of a Friend of Pakati….hoping to have much more to report next week!


Friends of Pakati & VaTonatsa Foundation Working Together Again

This week here on the blog we are delighted to confirm both Friends of Pakati and VaTonatsa Foundation are once again working closely together to benefit the 2 Pakati schools in Ward 14, Murewa District.

Just recently, we posted about our intention to help both Pakati schools restore their solar power supplies (see for more details). In conjunction with the two Heads – Mr Chifaka (Sec) & Mr Mahachi (Pri) – we are gathering relevant quotes, deciding on the best option, and then will create a ‘Letter of Intention to Donate’.

The Letter is part of the local protocols we need to follow in order to allow us to operate in the area, with Murewa RDC, DSI, and the Heads of both schools made aware of what is being done.

Friends of Pakati, as we have said before, exists to help both schools in the ways the 2 Heads deem relevant, and this is a prime example. We have sufficient funds to pay for the replacement of key parts of the solar power systems, so we will send the amount of the chosen quote to VaTonatsa, they can then get the work ordered. Some of the procedures may change if necessary.

This co-operation between the two of us has been going on for some time now, and it is something we both really appreciate. The result is getting support to an area where there are many underprivileged students.

VaTonatsa Foundation

Here are some photos of our partner organisation in action, some of it as part if recent events by the Consorteum of Zimbabwe Charities:

If that wasn’t enough, next weekend should see the next in our series of Podcasts – no.10 – featuring the Founder and CEO of VaTonatsa Foundation, Vari Mayez!

Exciting times ahead!

Learn about our Podcast host (and more about the Author)

Today I am releasing 2 audio files…here is why!

Not long ago, we recorded our first vlog, available here – – and we have now recorded a second Vlog! Unfortunately…the file is quite large, so when Bradley Mell – our host – sent it to me, it came as just an audio file.

In the vlog, we learn more about Brad, the newest member of the Friends of Pakati team. Have a listen, before moving on to Podcast 9, which is what Brad had intended to discuss on the vlog! You will see what I mean…

Officially, below is our 9th podcast, and it covers more about my time as Acting Head of Pakati Secondary school in 1991, and some of what I did after leaving. Listening back, perhaps I should have said something about how I felt about leaving…no doubt Brad will pick up on it in a future podcast.

Here are the pictures I took as slides mentioned it the audio above:

Pictures show the school celebrating the official opening of the water project (ZBC & British High Commission vehicles trying to shade from the sun), and students helping staff to put up the fencing, all under the watchful eye of the Head, Mr Samakomva.

Good news!

Just this week I met with the MBA students at Hudderfiled University Business School who are doing their consultancy project with Friends of Pakati. Updates soon!