The Author’s planned visit to Zimbabwe

Next month, September 2019, sees the author’s first planned return visit to Zimbabwe for 12 months . A number of things will be on my itiinerary, particularly the time to be spent at Pakati schools.

Following my trip to the shipping company (see the previous blog posted on 25th August) the goods are being delivered to Harare shortly before I arrive. Then, on Thursday 26th September I am to be collected along with the goods, and taken from Harare to Pakati.

Next Day, Friday 27th September, an event is being planned principally by the Head of the Secondary school, Mr Mugove Chifaka (seen above with the author, September 2018), to celebrate the arrival of the goods. Local dignitories are being invited such as the local MP Mr Jonah Sewera, and the Ward Councillor Mr Israel Maliki, among other invited guests. Staff from both Pakati schools will also be present.

Over the weekend, I will be around to help set up the IT equipment at both schools. Later, in the following week, I hope to address both schools at assemblies to encourage them to make best use of it all. The aim is to continue to support Pakati schools develop their use of computers, and hopefully will be able to provide more equipment in the future.

Goods are now with the shipping company….

Yesterday (Saturday) Dan & I travelled to the shipping company, a 3 hour drive from home.

Up at 6.30 to start loading….

First, the PCs went in, then the monitors…

…..then the cables and the laptops…

All loaded by 7.45am

….with a full boot, the remaing items – keyboards, additional cables & sports kits/football shirts went on the back seat….

Arrived at the shipping company in good time.

As the first customer that day we got well looked after

Within a couple of hours, everything was boxed up…..

…..then wrapped and weighed, ready for shipment, all done by the very helpful and friendly staff….

….everything we brought now securely wrapped and stored in 7 boxes bound for Zimbabwe in the next few weeks!

Well done to Coedma Freight International Ltd – A great day for!

First stage of the computers travels start soon…

We have 8 PCs and 2 Laptops with cables, including ethernet cables.

We have 8 monitors with cables

We have some sports kits and football shirts

We have 8 keyboards and mouses/mice, 4 webcams, and multi-socket plug boards

I am taking all of the equipment to the shipping company in the morning, aiming for delivery around the time I am due to be in Zimbabwe.

Computers update: help to set them up, and additional items

Today I am getting more help from my youngest son Daniel. He is trying out each individual machine, linking to our home internet, and adding free internt security plus a Microsoft-compatible set of free office software.

Testing every cable, mouse, monitior and keyboard.

Dan is hard at work on the Pakati IT equipment

Using some of the funds raised, I have been to local PC and laptop repair shops to search out suitable items to add to the collection. I found another PC at a decent price, plus a laptop too.

I have a neighbour who is also willing to donate a laptop which I hope to pick up tomorrow, and he may have 2 more by this weekend when I intend to take everything to the shipping company.

We will take a look at the laptops before definitely adding them to the list of goods.

A slight delay but still on track…the story of yesterday

Here is what happened….

Car loaded with ITequipment destined for Pakati

I had stayed at my Dad’s place in Scunthorpe Friday night, where I had stored the IT equipment for safe keeping as he had room to spare. Saturday – yesterday – I loaded it all up into the back of my car, ready to bring it home after the football match.

Before the game, I was hoping to meet the club chairman of Scunthorpe United, Mr Peter Swann, to discuss and receive his promised donation. Current fundraising total sits at £1380.00 after another donation yesterday.

Inside the matchday programme yesterday

Unfortunately, circumcstances meant he was called away at short notice, so wasn’t able to do the presentation yesterday. This is being re-arranged, hopefully for Saturday 31st August.

The Iron drew 2-2 with Crawley Town

Having got home in the evening, I unloaded everything from the car and took it to the back room, cleared out to have the goods safely stored.

With help from my son Daniel, we have started to check out every item. Every PC, every keyboard, every mouse, every monitor, every cable and the webcam. I have used some of the funds raised to buy other important cables, and plan to get other accessories as required, such as mouse mats and routers.

Setting up the first PC

I am using our home internet to add useful software, like free internet security and free (Microsoft-compatible) office programmes. Will be looking at other items I might buy if needed too. I will install the same things on each PC, and will be discussing various related issues with the schools concerned, such as power supply, physical safety and computer security, internet access, teacher development and lesson planning for various levels of learners abilities.

The webcam works….

Very soon I will be taking all of this equipment, plus the sports kits donated, to the shipping company to box up, then get them all flown out to arrive In Zimbabwe around the same time as I do in late September. The plan is to bring it all to Pakati & have various important guests to witness these imoortant developments for the two schools. I intend to stay at the school for a few days to help in setting things up, plus talking to staff, students, guests and the community. I will produce a full report after my trip but intend to post blogs whenever I am able to.

More updates on the project…

Following recent discussions, it appears there are still several football shirts to be sold for so more money will be added to the total. The donation by the Chairman of Scunthorpe United, Peter Swann, is due to be made this coming sarurday. The shirts already donated by the club are smaller in size so will go to the primary school.

Any additional funds which come in will be spent on the schools in some way. That raised will be spent on shipping & transport within the UK and Zimbabwe, and additional items as deemed necessary by the schools.

At the school the intention is to have some kind of formal presentation of the goods with local dignatories such as the MP for Murewa, the local councillor for the ward as well as staff from both schools & invited guests/supporters.

I am currently getting the shipping and transport arranged. I intend to deliver the goods to the shippers in the next few weeks to arrive into Zimbabwe around the same time as I do.

As the donation of 7 PCs did not all have monitors/screens I have been sourcing others, and will have enough by the time we do the shipping. Looking at other possible donations or second hand items to add into the delivery.

All starting to come together…..

A couple of things….holidays and Breaking News

School looks a little deserted right now….as it is the end of the winter term. All students have gone home to return on 9th September.

During the break the teachers usually have a rota for staying at the school over the holidays, for a mixture of reasons: one being security, the other particularly relevant – additional lessons specifically for the students sitting exams next term – Form 2 for ZJC (Zimbabwe Junior Certificate) and Form 4 for GCSE/O Levels.

I can remember enjoying that time at the school, very quiet and relaxed, with students attending by choice and keen to benefit from extra revision. We covered topics which the students chose, ones they struggled with. We covered past papers too, helping with exam techniques. The informal atmosphere made it a pleasure to be doing something to help them.

Also offers a chance to have a look around the area…


I have just this evening seen an email from my home town football club and supporter of this project, Scunthorpe United….

Next Saturday, shortly before kick-off of the game between us -the Iron – and Crawley Town, the Chairman Mr Peter Swann is going to make a superb donation to living up to the promise he made in April, after several of us walked from Bradford to Scunthorpe (around 57 miles/75km), to match whatever we had raised. I expect it to be around £1400 – 1500 by next saturday. Full story and pictures soon afterwards!