The author is coming home to Pakati…

Pakati Secondary school staff in 1989

I have been planning this forthcoming trip to Zimbabwe almost from the day I got home in Septemer last year…

As widely mentioned on this blog, last years’ visit to Pakati however brief it was, rekindled so many memories for me, and made me realise how much at home I really felt there all those years ago.

There are a number of factors in play here: the warm welcome I got on arrival both in 1989 and again in 2018; the reception I had from students back then and the real heartbreak I felt when I left in 1991; the truly extraordinary privilege and experience of being Acting Head for 8 months – a real honour; the support I received from staff, Ministry officials and above all the local community; the remarkable response I have had from many former students of Pakati, several of whom I had the pleasure of teaching all those years ago; plus of course, the family who gave me my totem…see a much earlier blog post on here.

I am going to have a number of days re-acquainting myself with the area and its people, and look forward immensely to getting on with helping both schools with their new equipment. I am sure several friends old and new will be around so I may greet them warmly. Full details of the visit will emerge in the coming weeks as I take the chance to post new stories during and after my visit. I may get a radio interview back in the UK during the visit if all goes to plan.

I am sure things will happen unexpectedly during the trip, but if I have learned anything from having been in Zimbabwe many times before, it is that adaptability is essential…. Pakati awaits in 10 days time…

Some of Pakati Secondary school staff with the Author, 2018

On the Scunthorpe United website this week….

As promised in The Iron matchday programme recently..

Tweet from Scunthorpe United ( @SUFCofficial ) earlier this week – 💰 12th Man member Chris Walker ( @guiuan03 ) has been fundraising for http://Twitter.com/friendsofpakati since he launched the project in January. Last week he received a donation from the club after chairman, Peter Swann, pledged to match the £1,380 raised so far – https://www.scunthorpe-united.co.uk/news/2019/september/iron-match-friends-of-pakati-fundraising-total/

See below….from https://www.scunthorpe-united.co.uk

Iron match Friends of Pakati fundraising total

11 September 2019

by SUFC Media

@SUFCOfficial

12th Man member Chris Walker has been fundraising for Friends Of Pakati since he launched the project in January, and last week he received a donation from the club after chairman, Peter Swann, pledged to match the £1,380 raised by the project so far.

Iron fan Chris Walker has been fundraising for the last eight months in order to raise money for the Friends of Pakati project, 30 years on from when he started work as a teacher at Pakati Secondary School in Zimbabwe. The donations accumulated through the fundraising project will help primary and secondary schools in Zimbabwe to buy IT equipment.

Chris’ fundraising project has so far included a three-day sponsored walk from Valley Parade in Bradford, all the way to the Sands Venue Stadium, in the lead up to the Iron’s home fixture against the Bantams on April 27th. Chris was joined on the walk by his son Daniel, Daniel’s girlfriend Alice and Chris’ friends Karen and Brian.

Over the past eight months, the Friends of Pakati project has received support from a number of people including Iron fans, who have donated computers, monitors, football shirts and sportswear among other well received goods. The project is an ongoing one though and Chris is looking for further donations to go towards buying more items for the schools.

As part of the appeal the club also donated a number of junior and adult replica shirts to be taken out to Zimbabwe and Iron CEO, James Rodwell is pictured with Chris before the Carlisle game on August 31st.

We would like to wish Chris well for when he travels to back to Zimbabwe on September 24th.

Any fans wishing to make a donation and help Chris can do so through the Friends of Pakati fundraising page; gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati.


Some of the replica shirts donated by the club on their way to Pakati schools.

Some of the shirts donated by generous Iron fans also on their way to Pakati schools

Some of the many football shirts donated by Iron fans to sell to raise funds for friendsofpakati.com

Many many thanks to all associated with the club – Management, all staff, fans and assorted supporters groups, especially Iron Trust and Iron Bru.

September 10: Schools return across Zimbabwe

Students at Pakati Secondary school

Today schools all across Zimbabwe have returned following their winter break. This 3rd term is the most important one for many students in both Primary and Secondary schools – Grade 7 (Primary), ZJC (Form 2, Secondary) and GCSE/O level (Form 4, Secondary) – as exams are held in October & November.

Students at Pakati Primary school

At Pakati, the Secondary school also hosts exams for its sister school, Chanetsa. They dont yet have the facilities there as Chanetsa has not been open very long.

Conditions are not ideal at Pakati…

It is a testament to both the dedication of staff and hard work of the students that those students can succeed under the most difficult of conditions. What could they achieve with better facilities?

Some good news…!

I have recently heard from the shipping company here in the UK that the goods have now arrived in Harare!

They have arrived safely, and have been cleared through customs as charitable donations.

Further to this, it has been confirmed to me that they have now been safely delivered to a secure address in Harare.

Goods safely delivered

On Thursdsy 26th September, I will be collected along with the goods and taken to Pakati sometime that day.

On Friday 27th, all being well, Pakati schools will be having a welcome event to give formal thanks for the donations to both schools.

Well done and thank you to Coedma Freight International!

Updates: donations, goods, Author’s visit to Pakati

My hometown football club

Following the very generous donation this week by Scunthorpe United F. C. chairman Peter Swann, the total has moved on significantly. This will allow friendsofpakati.com the chance to provide and deliver more IT equipment in the coming months, and/or other items the Heads of both schools feel are most needed to benefit their students.

Goods wrapped ready for transport

According to the shipping company, the goods we have acquired, boxed and wrapped, are now well on their way from the UK to Zimbabwe. This is earlier than originally planned, but I have given them a safe address in Harare to deliver to. When I arrive at Harare International Airport in just over two weeks, I will collect the goods and take them to Pakati soon afterwards.

September 2018 – arrival!

I have very generously been offered accommodation by a number of people in Zimbabwe, including relatives, but most notably by some former students of Pakati. They are kindly allowing me to stay with them and their families in Harare, Marondera, and close to Pakati Secondary school.

September 2018

A significant part of my visit to Zimbabwe will be spent at Pakati. I understand a welcome event is being planned to celebrate the arrival of the goods, but in addition to this, I hope to be involved in the setting up of the equipment at both the Primary and Secondary schools. I am keen to help the staff and students at this important time for them. Full details will be added to this blog whenever I can during the visit. I hope to see a number of friends old and new…

Mr and Mrs Masawi, September 2018

I can hardly wait…..!

THANK YOU for the Donation to friendsofpakati.com

Pesentation -Saturday 31st August 2019
Photo by Damon Campion

Above is the picture of Mr Jim Rodwell, CEO of Scunthorpe United, presenting the author with one of the extra shirts being donated by the club. Following on from the blog posted on 31st August, I have further updates regarding donations.

Scunthorpe United Chairman Peter Swann is about to live up to his promise to match what has been raised through the http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati fundraising page. As of Friday, 30th August the total stood at £1380.00 and later this week, that same sum is to be donated by Mr Swann. On behalf of both Pakati schools and the local community, I would like to say a huge THANK YOU!!

The donation will go to buy further IT equipment (some of it in-country in the coming weeks), and pay for further goods plus the shipping and transport from here to Pakati. There are still ongoing sales of football shirts which are still going to add to the total, some of which I will collect before my forthcoming trip to Zimbabwe. The visit will include transporting of the items recently shipped, from Harare to Pakati, a distance of about 50 miles. It will be a working visit for several days, including a welcome event, unpacking, sharing between the Primary and Secondary schools, helping to set up at both schools, discussions/interviews with staff and pupils, plus an assembly at both schools. I am hoping to be involved in a lesson or two as well, not limited to IT. I will post stories, videos and photos when I can, and promote it all on http://twitter..com/friendsofpakati and on http://facebook.com/Friends-of-pakati

Presentation

Scunthorpe United FC CEO Mr Jim Rodwell meetin the author earlier today
Photo by Steve Hope

At 2.45pm today, just before kick off for the game between Scunthorpe United and Carlisle United, I was presented with some more football shirts for Pakati, along with notification that the club will be giving a donation to friendsofpakati.com this coming week.

The presentaion was done by Mr Jim Rodwell, the club’s CEO, in the absence of Chairman Peter Swann. The donation (amount to be confirmed) will go towards the cost of more items of IT equipment, and their transport to the schools. We have some items still to buy for this first shipment, notably routers & printers.

Teams are out prior to kick-off today

Further updates on this and other issues in the next few days.