**Saturday Star** A friend of Pakati, and of Zimbabwe….

This week, on Thursday morning 14th March 2019 at 6:25 am, my Mother passed away in Scunthorpe General Hospital after a long illness. I think it is fitting I remember the time my parents visited Zimbabwe while I was working at Pakati.

A’Zambezi River Lodge Hotel, 1990

My Mum, Pat as she liked to be called, had quite a sense of adventure, a bit more than my Dad to be honest….some of this only came out when they visited Zimbabwe.

My Dad also found something recently that she had written in 1990 & 91. I will quote directly from those notes in here, as it tells us a lot about my mum. Enjoy reading it, enjoy the photos and at the same time, I will enjoy the memories…

“What a year 1990 turned out to be…Each of my 3 sons had surprises for me. One got married, one got engaged, and one was teaching in Zimbabwe. I shared in the joys of the wedding, and of the engagement too, but the most unexpected thing for me was my chance to visit ZIMBABWE.

I cruised down the River Zambezi, saw crocodiles on the shore, hippos bathing and elephants galore. I excitedly left London on a 10 hour overnight flight, & Chris greeted me in Harare at 6am, as did the African sun.

Mum with Chris & two friends from St Pauls, Musami, Great Zimbabwe 1990

I went on safari drives & saw zebras, more elephants, buffalo herds, giraffes, baboons and colourful birds. I also went to the Great Zimbabwe ruins, an old fortress with thick high walls.

With Derick, Statue of David Livingstone, 1990

I visited Victoria Falls, gazing in awe…looking down on the beautiful scene from the ‘Flight of Angels’

Boarding the Flight of Angels, Victoria Falls, 1990
Flight of Angels

High sprays caused a rainforest, leaving trees & leaves glistening and those stood too close get wet through…

With Chris getting wet at Victoria Falls, 1990
With Derick, at Victoria Falls, Zambia, 1990

At Pakati School, where Chris was teaching, life was very different…no electricity or running water, but a very warm & sincere welcome from people there. They might not have much material things, but they laugh & dance & sing. Being happy inspite of a hard life, they could surely teach us something.

Pakati Secondary School, 1990

I had such fun, enjoyed the sun, and went again in 1991.”

There is very little I can add to this, other than to say I feel as proud of my mum as she clearly was of me…


My name is Chris Walker, and between January 1989 and September 1991 I worked, through VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas), at Pakati Secondary School in Murehwa South district in Zimbabwe. I was a Maths teacher for 2 years, the Acting Head for the last 8 months there. I have also taught in Botswana & the UK, had 4 years working for VSO, and have been a Civil Servant in Bradford since 2005.

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