First in our New Featured Photo series!

Welcome to our new feature! In this new series, I will take a photo from our archives, and try to tell much more of the story behind it. After this story today, I will also let you know about some new profiles being planned…as well as other items to come here at Friends of Pakati.

Just rrecently, I posted the following picture in our Instagram page – @friendsofpakati

Here is what I put: Today’s random photo from friendsofpakati.com – the one legacy I am most proud of leaving for the community – still in use over 30 years later”

This is how it came about (if I remember rightly)…

After I had been at Pakati for a year, I came across some fellow VSO volunteers, who had a variety of small-scale development projects at their schools/placements. They were able to raise funds, mostly via either NGO’s or the network of Embassies & High Commissions.

What they were doing were things such as developing bee keeping, raising chickens for sale and as egg producers, but some were looking to develop Agruculture lessons by adding a water supply, and in some cases, fencing to protect the school crops.

I wanted to try & do something for my school, Pakati Secondary. So I talked to some of the other volunteers, and made notes of their successful applications for funds, and spoke to the Head, Mr Samakomva, who approved of the ideas.

We decided on a number of things, depending on the funds available to us, including 1) a new borehole, 2) a water tank, 3) piping & taps from the tank to near the school, and 4) fencing for a new dedicated Agriculture plot.

Putting up the fencing, including teacher Mr Tsuro in the hat & Head Mr Samakomva in the suit – 1991

The Biritish High Commission had funds they set aside for what they referred to as ‘Small Scale development’, and I applied successfully for enough to cover all 4 items we wanted. (Later that year I wrote a guide for volunteers wanting to raise funds, and gave a talk to the next group who came that August, including Debbie Chadbon who folloeed me at Pakati).

We got the DDF (District Development Fund) on board to help with the borehole, and they continue to maintain it to this day.

We had the High Commissioner visit the school to officially ‘open’ the project, and thank them for the donation of funds. We had ZTV present, and were very briefly on the ZBC News that day. We had of course students to entertain the guests with singing & a play or two.

It was a memorable day, attended by the local councillor at the time, Mr Chepaguta, along with the school staff, students and several family members from the villages too.

What happened since? Well the borehole had a hand pump as normal, plus we had a a two-way valve so we could either pump water through the piping to the tank or to the school where there was a tap for students & staff to get a drink from. The fencing then enclosed the Agricultire plot.

Sadly, we hadn’t taken into account the tenacity of goats….who managed to get under the lowest part of the fence & ate all the vegetables we had grown! Also, over time, the tank & piping ‘disappeared’ leaving just the borehole – but I am delighted this most important part of the project is still widely used by the community, not just the schools, to this day.

What to look forward to here at Friends of Pakati in the coming weeks…

  • I have at least 2 profiles of people of interest to the readers here – one from someone who helps us to raise money, one from someone new to us but part of a supporting organisation… others are still to commit to being on here

 

  • End of June – next weekend – will see our 6-month review. Find out what our highlights of the year so far have been!

 

  • The slightly delayed event at which I am due to speak, and hopefully spread the word of Friends of Pakati to around 200 people – and sell our merchandise too!

 

  • Potential new items for sale – we are looking at expanding our merchandise to other items, not least as our original is sadly no longer operating. It provides us wuth the chance to develop our rsnge of goods

 

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 have been a Civil Servant in Bradford since 2005. I married a Zimbabwean woman & we have 2 sons.

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