Life in the area still goes on…at a slower pace

Schools across Zimbabwe closed by 9am this Tuesday under Government orders, with many teachers leaving by 10am. We don’t know when schools will re-open or what will happen when they do.

Pakati Primary school students being dismissed this week

In the rural area I am familiar with, it seems strange to see the schools so empty, even though it happens every term. The uncertainty around the date of return seems to make it feel very different this time.

Pakati Secondary school after the closure

Mapanga Primary school, based in the same Ward 14 of Murewa District as Pakati, is also looking strangely quiet…

Mapanga Primary school similarly deserted

Many schools have had to cancel forthcoming events, Mapanga among them.

Students at Mapanga rehearsing for the now-cancelled event on 28th March

I understand from Vatonatsa Foundation they will run the event at the first opportunity once schools return.

The various school Heads have told me about what goes on during such times. In many cases, some staff will chose to remain – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/03/24/schools-closed-today-pakati-now-deserted/ – and there will also be guards patrolling to keep an eye on the school premises.

Head of Pakati Secondary school relaxing at his home there with his two sons

Mapanga has had to delay some building work, Mrs Maenzanise tell us “We intend to do the concrete slab as soon as we open schools. Builders cannot continue during this time as there is no-one to account for the cement” Pictures below show the current unfinished buìlding.

However, it seems there is an opportunity to do some work on the school buildings at Pakati. One prority for Pakati has been additional security for the Admin block, where the current staffroom doubles as a computer room. Mr Chifaka has been able to get local workmen to start putting new burglar bars around the block, which should be complete within a week.

Here is what they should look like on completion, all around the staff/computer ròom in the Admin block.

The first of several windows being made more secure

The schools now closed will, I am sure, be very keen to get started again but only as soon as it is safe to do so.

It is clear that although things are going to be quiet over the coming weeks and months, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be any progress. I will report on any news as I get it from the schools, and on any other goings on from the community themselves.

Take care everyone, 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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