From Pakati to South East England…

Written by Chris Walker.

Welcome to this week’s blog! I do enjoy telling the stories of former students of Pakati schools & what they have done since they left. For me it is an important message to those currently studying at both Pakati schools – and so many others like them – of what can be achieved regardless of your background.

Lorraine with her school friend Chido in Form 3 at Pakati in 1991.

Today I am continuing the story of one of my own former students, who will already be known to readers of Friends of Pakati, as she has contributed a number of times already – Lorraine Mapuranga. A couple of her previous posts can be found here and here

I also mentioned here that Lorraine was now in the UK, living & working in the South East of England. So how did that come about? What has her experience been like? I spoke to her recently & asked about it all. Here is what came out of that conversation… 

Departure from Harare, arrival in Birmingham in  24 hours. 

So I began by asking her what she had been doing before coming to England: “I arrived in South Africa in Nov 2017, and I was working as a domestic worker when I first got there. The family I worked for also had a company, and when they were looking for an administrative position, I presented my qualifications and they offered me a job. I worked there until 2020 when Covid 19 hit, and then I was left with no choice except to go back to domestic work.” 

Lorraine far left with her 2 children, myself, & her friends in 2019.

Next, I wanted to know why she chose to come to England: “There are a lot of push factors that made me leave South Africa and pull factors of course to the UK. I was undocumented in SA, and the means to be documented remained a nightmare. This meant I had no means of securing a job of my choice. There are a lot of other factors, one among them most is violence against foreigners. Myself, family and friends were insecure when they heard about foreigners being targeted for violence.  The UK was attractive then, as they were inviting skilled personnel from health and social care and I found myself drawn to it. Good remuneration, steady economy, good health sector and of course being in a first world country was always my dream.

Lorraine relaxing in South Africa in late 2020.

I had found an article in the newspaper that the UK was recruiting. I researched it, and got information from the UK Government website. I met the requirements after some additional training and applied. I went through various companies when applying, and got booked for interviews. One company in particular were offering sponsorship, and following their processes & interviews I was successful. It was not a simple process, but with their help that’s how I got here. My family and friends were also very supportive right through from the beginning till now.”

I wanted to know about her journey, and her first impressions: “My journey was emotional and exciting at the same time as this was the longest flight I been on. It was also exciting to be on a train for the first time and I’m amazed how I travelled from the central region (where my employer was based) down to the South East where I am currently deployed. Nervous and anxious at the same time but above all I was excited I was going properly overseas for the 1st time! About the weather, it was as I expected it, though it was not that pleasant, but I was geared up with my warm clothes. People are very friendly and welcoming.

Everything is new, there is all sorts of food but sadly I haven’t easily found my favourite yet, but I have since adjusted to the English food. I did expect a change in everything as I had done research and also training about life in the UK. I am happy with my work. Very happy. Simply adjusting to long hours of work. I did experience my first my Christmas here which was lovely.”

So I said tell me more about life here, I said, any plans yet? “I have so many plans but what I have noticed here is time is precious, I came for work so my social time is very limited as I only have a couple of days away from work. Here you work for survival. If you don’t work you won’t live. There are bills to pay, taxman is also watching and life is a bit more expensive. Otherwise I have no solid plans yet, give me about 6 months to settle then I can think of any plans. Of course I do plan to visit my former teachers and their families in the near future. They both can’t wait to meet with me in UK. They both assisted me with a lot of ideas & advice when I was doing my job application process, when I got my visa and even when I arrived.”

“Keeping warm is essential here in winter!”

Finally I asked about her first impressions: “UK is a lovely place to work but it values straightforward ways of living. Time is very important here. For example, trains & busses move on a strict timetable just like flights. You got be there before time otherwise you miss it. Respect of law is very important in the UK especially with driving. And everyone here works. No job is looked down upon and there is no room for errors in any form. The consequences are regrettable. Rule of law is highly respected. That’s my lesson so far.”

Day one sees Lorraine relaxing in a pub near her employers offices.

A huge thank you to our very own representative here at Friends of Pakati, Lorraine continues to be an essential supporter of ours!

Leave a Reply