New Lockdown affecting Pakati schools and Pakati people

In spite of the covid limitations (see below), we at Friends of Pakati are continuing to raise funds in the hope of delivering more computers later this year – see – for more details. This is enhanced by sales of our merchandise – which is going well so far. See how well we are doing here – – good to report we are on the way!

Scenes like this at Pakati Secondary school back in March 2020 are now being repeated across Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, like many other countries around the world, is being ravaged by Covid. Also like others, a near-full lockdown is now in place across the country.

I personally hope that the lockdown works, and people follow the 3 principal rules of Hand hygene, Social Distancing, and Mask wearing. These are what most helps prevent transmission of the increasingly virulent form of Covid now evident across Southern Africa and beyond.

Local shops are also once more deserted

Both Pakati schools are closed, though I did hear from both Heads recently, Mr Mahachi from the Primary and Mr Chifaka from the Secondary.

Mr Mahachi: “I’m fine Mr Chris. Right now Primary schools are closed due to covid lockdown restrictions. We did not open on the fourth of January as expected, so I’m at my rural home. I am currently busy taking care of my crops, not at the work station. Hope you are taking all safety precautions that side. We still need each other…”

Mr Mahachi

Mr Chifaka: “Hi Chris. We are now under lock down. Only form 4 candidates are coming to write their outstanding subjects. To date, four exams are still to be written and the last exam is on 27 January. After that we don’t know how things will go. Stay safe.”

Pre-exam layout for Pakati Secondary students who are following Covid protocols

I have also heard from others who have strong Pakati connections….including Debbie Chadbon, my fellow-former Maths Teacher at the Secondary school, currently living in Bristol, UK: “Hi Chris, we’re all fine thanks. I’m still going to work, but everyone else is at home. I’m getting my first vaccination on Monday which is great. How about you?.” (Author – I am now working from home myself for at least 6 weeks)

A contributor to this blog, former student Portia Nemaruru had quite a bit to say on how it has affected her recently:

“How Covid 19 has affected both me, school children and even parents.

As it was and it is declared a global pandemic, each and every day new statistics are being recorded. Unfortunately every statistic is a human being. Covid 19 has affected many people and economies at large. In trying to curb the rampant spreading of the deadly Covid 19, the government has put various measures which included the new lockdown. This has affected everyone though it has resulted I some inventions that would, in normal circumstances take our economy at another level

School children have been affected by the lockdown. They almost spend the whole of 2020 staying at home. Only a few had the chance to have access to digital platforms where they continued learning, whilst the majority of them did not have access to those platforms, so remained lagging behind. Some of their parents live hand to mouth on a daily basis, so they could not fund their children in accessing those digital platform to learn.

Personally as the writer, lockdown has affected me lately. As a sitting candidate, I might say I was not that prepared to sit for my A level exams. I only spent approximately 3 months out of 10 (if am not mistaken) having face to face lessons with the teachers, and the rest alone. This was a big challenge since I did not have the required tools to access the digital platforms for my education.

Many parents rely on buying and selling which has became a survival strategy for them. Some are cross boarders all for surviving. Only a relatively small portion are working in the formal economy, the majority are in informal trading which has been hindered severely by the lockdown. This has affected their survival and their ability to pay for their children at school.”

Empty market areas can be seen across Zimbabwe

Below we hear from another regular contributor, and keen supporter of Friends of Pakati, Lorraine Mapuranga:

Lorraine visiting her former school back in January 2020

“Good morning Mr Walker. I hope I find you well.
Yes 2020 has been a difficult year since March when covid 19 was reported in Africa, specifically in SA where I’m currently based. The year had started on very well for me as I had set up my resolutions and was working on making them a success.

But little did I know that only 3 months into the new year, there was different language, lifestyle and a lot more changes which caused the whole world into something that was not easily imaginable. We were in lockdown since March and this meant that we spent 3 months inside our homes…the streets were deserted.

For me, Lockdown had a negative impact on my life. I usually go home to Zimbabwe at least twice during the year, to visit my family and children. Sadly it was not so this time around as the border was forced to close, and also Zim was also put in an indefinite lockdown. The only possible way to communicate was through Whatsapp and video calling my family.

Life became difficult and expensive. I had to join the online shopping community in order to send food to my family up until now. It’s a difficult choice of shopping since it is expensive, and you dont get to find the things that you would require. There is no choice of particular brands, but it’s better that my family was sustained through online shopping.

Worse still jobs were not spared. I ended up joining a dufferent area of the organisationI work for, as my role was affected, even up until now. Salary cuts even worsened the situation.

As we approached year end the lockdown regulations were easing giving hope to visit my family in Zim. But there were still fears and insecurities as the infection rates picked up. However, I could not stay where I was living in Jo’burg that time.

Going towards the Christmas holiday, border closure forced me to change the route from home to local family visits and a holiday in SA. I decided I should visit Western Cape Province, where I also have close relatives. So I think, at least this holiday turned into a rare benefit to covid – a brief stay in Cape Town, my first time there.”

Lorraine at the top of Table Mountain, Cape Town

Thank you to those who contributed…

Want to tell your story on here? Do you know someone with a tale to tell? Let us know please.

Happy customers of Friends of Pakati Merchandise!

Eager buyers have started receiving their chosen items from our current Merchandise – see – and the first funds have come in to increase our bank balance.

Max Bell, a fellow supporter of the Iron (Scunthorpe United FC), was the first to buy. He kindly posted the above pic on social media (Monday 18th Jan) for me:

“I’m delighted that my @friendsofpakati badge and coaster have arrived in the post from @guiuan03. Grab some great merchandise of your own and help a great cause along the way! #FriendsOfPakati

Our second sale (see above) has successfully been received by our very own Debbie Chadbon:

“Hi Chris. We’re fine thanks. The goods arrived yesterday – they’re great!”

Want some of our goods? Please get in touch by the usual means – email, twitter DM, Facebook IM, comment on here – please include your full name & postal address.

Thank you

Newest posts & pages on Friends of Pakati…

Admin block at Pakati Secondary school

Several new things are in place or being prepared right now, including the following:

• New page showing finances – income & expenses totals at the end of each month

• Recent post showing this year’s Fundraising Challenge

• New page showing our progress towards the goal of getting PC’s to PAKATI💻

• New lockdowns & how they are affecting Pakati schools and its people wherever they are

• New post from a regular – former Pakati student during the Author’s time, Lorraine Mapuranga – a recent trip to Capetown

• Merchandise on sale

Author’s report – first walk, first donation to PC’s to PAKATI💻

After a great interview on BBC Radio Humberside with Phil White this morning, talking about how Friends of Pakati came about, I finally took my first steps in support of PC’s to PAKATI

Ready to go…

I set off just after 12 noon, intending to do 3 miles/5km in less than 1 hour, but conditions on the paths were not good today. Melting snow, icy paths made it treacherous, slippery & very wet out.

However, I was determined to get walking again today, of all days. 16th January 1989 was the day I first set foot in a classroom at Pakati Secondary school, and two years later – 30 years ago – I had been promoted to Acting Head at the school.

Highest point on the walk

I managed 2.72 miles, in just over 1 hour. I was not able to go at my usual pace of over 3 miles per hour, but I have decided to donate £30 anyway to get the ball rolling – I hope we can get many more donations from those who are able to travel at least 1 mile under their own steam, over the next 178 days. We hope to average £30 per day, to help get the PC’s to Pakati later this year.

Almost home…

Can any of you, dear readers, go an extra mile? Then maybe do it again? More than once? Then please let us know who, when & where you do it, how you do it, who if anyone you do it with – then please tell us, send us some pictures, and let us know how much you are donating👍👍

The donation of £30 gets us 30 miles on the way from Bradford, towards our first target – London

  1. Bradford
  2. London
  3. Paris
  4. Cannes (South of France)
  5. Cagliari (Sardinia)
  6. Tunis (Tunisia)
  7. Tripoli (Lybia)
  8. Sabha (Southern Lybia)
  9. Abeche (Chad)
  10. Yalinga (Central African Republic)
  11. Kisangani (Democratic Republic of Congo)
  12. Lubumbashi (DRC)
  13. Ndola (Zambia)
  14. Harare (Zimbabwe)
  15. Pakati

To donate – choose from or

Also please take a look at our merchandise

Every penny raised from the challenge and merchandise sales go towards the total target of £5340 – £1 for every mile between Bradford and Pakati👍Thank you

Friends of Pakati Merchandise For Sale

This post will become a new page here on this website for future reference – . It is part of our new fundraising activities, which will help us in our mission to develop educational facitlities and access at the 2 Pakati schools, and if funds permit, 3 other schools in the same Ward.

Below, you will see all the various items we have for sale, and at the bottom of the page, the full details of prices of all possible combinations. This will soon include the cost of postage and packing where necessary, including internationally. How to pay is at the foot of the page.

First, Lapel Badges. £5.00 each

Second, Mugs. 3 designs. £7.00 each

Pakati school students using computers
Pakati schools signboard
Pakati school classroom block

On the rear of each mug, our most important links

Thirdly, Coasters. 3 designs £3.00 each

Fourthly, Key rings. 3 designs. £3.00 each

B (badge) £5, M (mug) £7, KR (key ring) £3 & C (coaster) £3 each

B+M+KR+C = £18.00, Sell at £16.00

B+M+KR = £15.00 Sell at £13.00

B+M+C = £15.00 Sell at £13.00

B+KR+C = £11.00, Sell at £10.00

B+M = £12.00 Sell at £11.00

B+KR = £8.00 Sell at £7.00

B+C = £8.00 Sell at £7.00

M+KR+C = £13.00 Sell at £11.00

M+KR = £10.00 Sell at £9.00

M+C = £10.00 Sell at £9.00

KR+C = £6.00 Sell at £5.00

Multiples of each item:

Mugs – 1=£7, 2=£13, 3=£19, 4=£25, 5=£30

Badges – 1=£5, 2=£9, 3=£13, 4=£17, 5=£20

Coasters and Key rings- 1=£3, 2=££5.50, 3=£8, 4=£10.50, 5=£12.50


Postage & packing – within the UK – tbc

Postage & packing – internationally – tbc


Any one of the 2 methods below:

If you need an alternative method, please say so when you order (see below)


Please make sure you give us your name & full postal address

  1. Send us a comment on here
  2. DM to twitter account
  3. DM to twitter account
  4. IM to Chris Walker at Facebook Messenger
  5. Email to

We will reply with when & how much to pay. Once full payment is received, we will notify you when your items are posted to you.

Former Pakati student Rev Aggie Fombo: Part 3 – working with the disadvantaged

Here we welcome back someone who has had 2 previous posts – and with the latest on her community work. At the foot of this is a brief exchange of messages between us, which took me back to my time at Pakati 30+ years ago…also our links for donations are there too.

Former student of Pakati Primary up to Grade 6, Agatha Fombo, has come a long way in life. However, her strong faith has lead her to do some truly amazing work.

Recently ordained as a Reverend, Aggie has in fact been involved in her local community in the Province of Manicaland, Zimbabwe. She graduated with Bachelor’s degree in Theology– Biblical Studies, and was ordained soon afterwards

I chatted with her this week, and found out what she hss been doing. She spoke about her Foundation, links with other organisations, and also about the recent Christmas celebrations she had with disadvnataged community members. A very inspiring story I think you will agree!

Hi Aggie! It has been a while since we last heard from you. Congratulations on your Ordination and your Graduation! How does it feel, and how have your acheivements affected your work?

Thank you so much Chris.. Hey it’s still like a dream to me. I have always wanted to be ordained, and had always told my daughters that one day I want to be a minister. About the degree, yes yes I am so excited and humbled by finishing my degree in the year of Coronavirus. This was a great challenge, as I had to do many online lectures at my old age(!) but thank God I sailed through. This is going to open more doors for me to be a marriage officer, a chaplain and more responsibilities in my new office. It is a great achievement for me which comes with great opportunities as the Chairperson of Vanopaishe, my Foundation too.

That is wonderful to hear Aggie, could you tell us a bit more about your Foundation please?

Vanopaishe Foundation is registered with the Social Development Department here in Mutare, and has 7 board members, with myself as the Chairperson. I had it in my heart that I must help and reach out to the less privileged, starting in Manicaland Province where I am staying. I have a more than 250 people with albinism on my database for Manicaland only, more than 100 people with different disabilities, more than 30 orphans and 20 older people that I am reaching out to through the Foundation. My preschool too is the inspiration behind the Foundation’s vision of helping and reaching out to the less privileged children and adults.

The foundation’s objectives:

• To provide services and create programs that reduce the number of children outside families and on the streets

• To create a conducive environment and realization of rights for the people with different disabilities.

• To create equal opportunities in education for all the people from different walks of life.

• To create income generating projects for the vulnerable people to help with food, shelter and self sustainability.

In addition to this, and the preschool I run, we also give clothes to our vulnerable friends through a faithful donor – Beryl Josephine Davies – in the UK, and her organization.

I can see how much your work means to you, but how have you dealt with Christmas during this difficult time?

After the schools in Zimbabwe reopened on 9 November 2020, I got busy with the children from my preschool and the church. We were teaching the Christmas play, all in preparation for our 1st Annual Christmas party and kids graduation 🎓 which was to happen on December 13.

The children on the stage doing the Christmas play

We held the CHRISTMAS party at Lamour Farm in Old Mutare. My daughter Claris (popularly known as Mai Kudzi) worked tirelessly with me at the preschool and at church to make this day a very successful one. I hosted the less privileged people that I reach out to as Vanopaishe Foundation. With the Covid-19 restrictions, I had invited a few people with albinism, orphaned children, people with different disabilities and the few old people from our community. I am so grateful to have sourced some grocery hampers from an anonymous friend, and this went a long way in putting great smiles on the faces of our dear less privileged guests. We also managed to transport the everyone to and from the venue on the day. We had some people coming from Watsomba in Inyanga, Dangamvura location and Chikanga 2 and Westlea surbubs of Mutare. As Vanopaishe Foundation, we are so happy to have ended 2020 with a great sigh of relief even in the pandemic.

On the day with the people with albinism

Sadly this year has started on a very bad note again with a total shutdown being announced by our government. This new Covid 19 blow has put our lives on a stand still again, especially as many people in our community will be without food on the table once more. We are still praying for provision in some projects to help in their self sustainability. As the Chairperson of Vanopaishe Foundation, I am looking forward to a great year, and I am optimistic despite the global pandemic.

What an amazing story from Reverend Aggie!

Let me, on behalf of Friends of Pakati, thank Aggie for all the hard work she does in her community, also for spending time supporting us with her stories and by sharing our posts among her international contacts👏👏


Just as a short aside, we were discussing the time when I was at Pakati (1989-91)…it turns out if she had stayed on at Pakati Primary beyond Grade 6, then move to the Secondary school, I would have taught her! I asked her if she knew me…

Yaaa but I only did up to grade 6 at Pakati. But every holiday I would come home to Chigwada and would see and hear people talking about you…it was a new thing in our life to have a murungu (white person) teaching at a rural school….lol so it was Mr Walker all over

What were they saying…?

It was the talk of the time that there is a murungu at Pakati school, and when you visited our shops hey we could sneak to truly see a murungu teacher in our community….

🤣🤣🤣 did you see me then?

Oh yes I knew you..

Wow really? Did you speak to me?

Oh no, we could just gazed at you from a distance! hahaha so funny at the time, we were just children


To donate:

What is coming soon on Friends of Pakati…

A number of items are currently being prepared that I am delighted about, including the following:

• Release of full details of our Merchandise for sale including full price details & how to order/pay

• Part 3 of Rev Aggie Fombo’s story – her Foundation to help disadvantaged people in Manicland Province

• Former Pakati student on holiday in Cape Town – Lorraine Mapuranga adds another chapter to her story

• Stuart Pine tells us about his & his employers plans to support Friends of Pakati – more comouters for us are not the only things being lined up…

• Latest news on Lockdown in Zimbabwe and how it affects Pakati schools – looks like similar things are happening in the UK and South Africa among others

Almost here…Friends of Pakati merchandise

The very good news is that our various products are almost with us! Soon after, they will be available for sale. Full details will be in a forthcoming blog, which will also become a new page.

Our producer of 3 of our items – mugs, coasters & key rings – is MJB, based in my home town of Scunthorpe.

This week he delivered the finished items to my Dad’s home nearby. This weekend I will go to collect them. Here is the box containing our items at his home.

Also, here is a sneak peak of the new badges being prepared….we are expecting them early in the New Year.