Friends of Pakati…looking ahead

The Author at Pakati Secondary school, September 2018

I have a few things to discuss on here, so bear with me please, this may be quite a long one…

This website/blog came about following my return to Pakati after an absence of some 27 years, in September 2018. I saw some changes and developments, and saw some things were as before. Mr Mugove Chifaka, current Head of Pakati Secondary school was instrumental in the setting up of the project to bring IT to both Pakati schools, and we have consulted regularly ever since. I also often chat to several teachers there, plus the Head of the Primary school, Mr Mahachi, and a number of his staff. They have provided me with a lot of material which has helped me show the need for assistance, and guided me through local customs and protocols. I started out with a simple goal of getting some computers to Pakati, but the vision has widened this year – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020-vision-friends-of-pakati-the-project-continues/

Donated computers – the purpose of this project originally – being set up at Pakati in September 2019

I continue to try and raise funds for the project – see http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati although larger events I was relying on have been at least postponed to some unknown future date. I have therefore adapted one – ‘Get TIED UP for Pakati’ – to an online event which can gather funds slowly if necessary, but can go quicker with a relaunch when some sort of normality returns…the second one involving my fellow former VSO teacher Debbie Chadbon, is waiting for a suitable opportunity to come up for her to run 10km on our behalf. Fingers crossed!🤞Other planned smaller events are postponed for now.

We cannot predict the future with any certainty right now, but I believe the coming months will see a gradual return and recovery from the current situation globally, which will enable Friends of Pakati to re-emerge, and will see our efforts rewarded once we relaunch our cause. There is genuine support for Friends of Pakati both here in the UK, and among people with close links to Pakati past and present, wherever they may be.

The Author with Mr Chifaka, past and present Heads of Pakati Secondary school
in September 2019

The reality is that this will slow us down, for some months, maybe longer. Who knows? At present, therefore, I am only making tentative plans. Here is where things stand right now:

The blog – this will continue for the forseeable future, though it is likely to become a weekly event rather than the almost daily posts I am currently doing. As I need some help to keep it going, I intend to gather new stories from other former students and staff of both Pakati schools, and will re-blog some of the older stories occasionally, sometimes with relevant updates. I want to invite all readers to have their say on here – please can you message me on any of these contacts if you have a story to tell, an article to publish, a question to ask, a suggestion to make, or any comments good or bad : http://facebook.com/Friends-of-pakati or http://twitter.com/friendsofpakati or by email friendsofpakati@gmail.com or even here on http://friendsofpakati.com using the comments section. I look forward to many more contributions, wherever you are, whatever your connection to us as a donor, a supporter, a sponsor, a follower, a reader, a contributor, or just a good friend of Pakati.

The fundraising – although it will necessarily slow down, you can be sure I will be trying to find ways of getting more donations for the project once things pick up again. I am encouraged by the fact that occasional donations are still coming in, so that eventually I hope to be able to meet our priorities, even if it carries on into 2021.

The visit – my next visit was planned for September 2020, but I have to be realistic and say that is unlikely to happen this year. Plan B is to visit late January/early February 2021, although it could easily be later, maybe April/May. We dont know. I do know that once it becomes clearer, I will fix a date to come to Pakati, and hope to see as many of you as I can.

The end of my visit to Zimbabwe in September 2018

The future – following a number of conversations with several people, I am seriously looking at some sort of collaboration with locally based organisations and others interested in small-scale development in the area, widening to more of Ward 14 of Murewa District. There is also a suggestion I apply to have Friends of Pakati recognised in Zimbabwe as either a Trust, or a PVO (Private Voluntary Organisation), I am considering this too. It may be that some sort of umbrella organisation is set up, perhaps just a website, which will include Friends of Pakati and others, with funds raised being shared to benefit the Ward. This is pure speculation at present, but if any of you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact us on those contacts mentioned above.

The schools – I hope very much the two Pakati schools emerge from this situation with little or no long term effects, and that I can continue to support them for some time to come. I will remain in touch with both schools, and as many of you – supporters of Friends of Pakati in your own ways – as I can, through the various channels available in order to keep people updated.

Take care of yourselves, look after your families and communities, do what you need to do to keep from getting the virus, stay in touch, stay safe.

Author:

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 spent the last 14 years as a Civil Servant in Bradford. I married a Zimbabwean woman & we have 2 sons.

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