Pakati Primary school – still under lock-down

As schools in Zimbabwe are still closed, and we don’t yet know when they will re-open. I have been sent the following pictures and information by the Head, Mr Mahachi – thanks to him for that!

School premises during lockdown

Adminstration offices and computer room.

ECD (Early Childhood Development) block vacated

Mrs Mandingaisa, one of the teachers staying at the school during lockdown

Some of the teachers are maintaining their vegetable beds during the lockdown period.

Mr Maunje our caretaker is maintaining the school wire, garden, and ECD play centre during lockdown.

Mr and Mrs Chakanyuka going for washing during lockdown. They say they have just completed harvesting their crops and are just assisting their children with holiday work during this lockdown period.

Mrs Mahachi is one of teachers at the school and during lockdown is taking this time to help her children, especially Percy who is in grade 7, to prepare for his exams. She is hoping the lockdown ends soon to meet and socialise with colleagues, and because prices of basic goods has shot up during this period.

Some children at the school who are waiting for their peanut butter being worked on by one of the teachers, Mr Kupara.

Mr Kupara, one of the Grade 7 teachers, milling peanut during the lockdown period. He is worried about the future of his learners if the lockdown continues and learners continue not coming to school. In the meantime he has created a whatsaapp group where he is posting learning materials for his learners and interfacing with parents of the children being assisted. However the challenge is that not all parents have got smart phones or even phones at all.

Some children of the teachers punching a sand bag as a pastime during the lockdown period.

Other children of teachers are seen around the school compound.

Mr Madziva and his son. He is the OSA (Old Students Association) secretary and neighbour to the school. He says he enjoys being with his family during this locksown as they are usually apart. He wishes the government can deal with the price distortions during this lockdown if it has to continue.

Infant classes have been vacated during lock down

Mr Mahachi, Pakati Primary school Head, has this to say about lockdown and its possible lifting, including what he would like to see in place to provide a safe place for learners and teachers alike:

“I am using the lockdown to harvest my maize, groundnuts, cowpeas etc. The crops did not do well due to rainfall shortage. I am also taking time to see that the school is well kept and all materials are safe. I wish the government can only open schools when it is safe to do so or when adequate measures have been put in place. The suggested measures are as follows: 1. Availability of running water as the school is using a community borehole 500m away and doesn’t have a perennial source of water of its own. 2. Appropriate teacher-pupil ratio.3. Adequate furbishment for social distancing. 4. Adequate and appropriate personal protective equipment for teachers and learners.”

I am encouraged to hear about people in the area following the guidance regarding lockdown, as I want to know the community is safe and well.

Friends of Pakati have been very lucky to have been able to continue publishing stories. This has been due entirely to the material being sent in – so please do keep sending more pics and information for us to edit wherever you are – UK, Zimbabwe, Australia, NZ, Canada, USA, rest of Africa, rest of Europe, Asia – please tell us your stories. If you aren’t connected to Pakati directly don’t worry – if you read this blog then we want to hear from you!

Locked down in Harare suburbs – student Mitchell Karasa

Friends of Pakati are a real mixture of people, African, European, Asian; they live in many different countries; they are male and female, old and young, rural and urban; students, workers, farmers: donors, supporters, casual readers; many have a strong connection to Pakati and its surrounding communities, others may have slightly more tenuous links. Here is one such story…

Meet Mitchell – pronounced as Michelle – she is a 19 year old student in Harare, capital city of Zimbabwe. She lives in Hatcliffe, one of many high-density suburbs on the outer edges of the city. As the colleges schools and universities are all currently closed, like all other students, Mitchell is having to stay home. Not the most interesting times for someone normally so active and with a wide circle of friends….

Some of her time is taken up with continuing her studies at home, though this is sometimes limited as internet/wi-fi is not always as regular as she would like, so online lessons are not always possible. She is studying an advanced Office Administration course at Trust Academy in Harare.

Mitchell with Jabu

Thankfully she is not alone, as she has two cousins staying with her, Jabu and Noku, both aged 19, both are at University. Jabu is in the second year of an IT course, while Noku is doing Motor Mechanics and is hoping soon to go on attachment (placement).

Mitchell with Noku

Mitchell and her cousins have to entertain themselves some of the time, so out come the cards, especially if the electricity supply is off as it can be sometimes, though more recently this has improved.

Sometimes they will watch movies in TV in an afternoon and evening time too, hence the popcorn

So her typical day will involve house chores, bathing, studying, listening to music and dancing, cooking….

The view from her front gate

…taking a walk outside the house and seeing a friend if she can do it safely….

…she misses college and being with her friends though.

At college, early March before Lockdown

So you might ask how I came to know Mitchell? Well her mother is a good friend of Pakati, as well as being my former student, Lorraine Mapuranga. I visited the family last year, and with friends we went to Domboshawa caves, just a few kilometers from Hatcliffe.

Lorraine, Keith, Mitchell, the Author, Esther, Admire, Pamela, October 2019

It was a pleasure for me to see my student grown up, with her own family, and to meet them at their Hatcliffe home.

Outside the family home in Hatcliffe, December 2019

Keep following the blog…still so much more to come!

Lockdown Laughs 3

Thanks again to those who contributed…👍🏽

Any more you want to share? please forward via usual channels or DM or IM or for those who have my mobile, whatsapp is fine to use.

Much more to come on including Pauline Machengo – part 3, lockdown in Harare suburbs, plus around the two Pakati schools at this time.

Day 3….Arrived!

Made it! One year to the day…

Friends Of Pakati

Karen, Chris, Alice and Daniel

Karen and Brian (plus Daniel)

Daniel and Alice completed the whole distance – FANTASTIC BOTH OF YOU

I completed day 1 and day 2, plus the last couple of miles on day 3 (due to injury)

Karen and Brian completed day 3 – THANK YOU!

Great reception from Scunthorpe United FC and fans!! Thanks to Rob Noble, James Moody for the ‘behind the scenes’ work, plus those who edit & publish The Iron matchday programme. Thanks to those who presented me with the shirts and applauded us in the restaurant, and thanks to the club Chairman, Peter Swann for his kind words and even kinder ofer to double whatever we have raised. THANK YOU ALL

Please donate

In the club restaurant

The roads seem endless…but arriving in North Lincolnshire means ‘almost there’

A well earned break brought a donation from people in the pub…

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Walking…the plan for Day 3 – Saturday 27th April

Plan for the final day one year ago

Friends Of Pakati

View from St Enochs Road, Bradford, 11th April 2019

Day 3 – Saturday 27th April

At the end of Horse Fair Green turn left onto South Parade, then next right onto Ellison Street, this becomes South End, then Clay Bank Road.

At the end of Clay Bank Road, turn right onto Green Bank Road, then left onto High Levels Bank (A18). Follow the A18 through Althorpe, over Keadby Bridge & through Gunnness.

At the roundabout where the A18 meets the end of the M181 there is a footbridge over the M181, coming out on Doncaster Road (A18), turn right at the next roundabout down Jack Brownsword Way to Glanford Park, Scunthorpe.

14 miles/22.5km

Glanford Park, Scunthorpe

Due to arrive around noon, 27th April in time for lunch at the club restaurant, before the 3pm kick-off for the League 1 game between Sunthorpe United and Bradford City.

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Day 2… struggling on…but made it to Thorne

Here is a snapshot or two of Day 2 – I still remember the difficulties, but also the support from Daniel and Alice

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Left Ackworth this morning….

A lot of countryside is like this between Ackworth and Stainforth

Still a fair way to go here…

Crossing the canal near Stainforth

Going the right way…

Over the railway line before going under the M18 motorway…

Almost there…..!

Finally made it! Arrived around 4.30pm

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Walking…the plan for Day 2 – Friday 26th April

One year on – this is what was planned for Day 2 of the walk

Friends Of Pakati

View down Beldon Lane, Bradford

Day 2 – Friday 26th April

From Moor Top Lane, turn right onto Bell Lane, turn left onto the Doncaster Road (A638), until 2nd roundabout at North Elmsall, then turn left onto Wrangbrook Road (A6201).

Follow this road until crossing the A1 using the A639, & then on to Woodfield Road, which becomes New Road as it enters Campsall. Turn right onto Park Drive, turn right onto Church Field Road out of Campsall towards Askern.

Turn right onto A19, in Askern turn left onto Station Road which becomes Moss Road through Askern. Follow Moss Road which becomes Kirkhouse Green Road/Lodge Lane/Jack Row Lane/Woodhouse Green Road/Plumtree Hill Road into Hatfield then becomes Thorne Road & then Kirton Lane.

At the end of Kirton Lane turn left onto South Parade in Thorne, then left onto Horse Fair Green for the Fair Green Hotel.

20 miles/32km

Bradford University…

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**Saturday Star** Vari Mayez, a Friend of Pakati, under lockdown in Harare

Vari is the founder of VaTonatsa Foundation, an organisation dedicated to helping poorer children with access to education, currently concentrating on Ward 14, Murewa. I came across her last year when she visited Pakati during our presentation of IT and other equipment to the two Pakati schools. Since then we have become supporters of each others projects, and are currently looking into some kind of collaboration in the future. Here is what she had to say about life under lockdown at her home in Harare..

“For me the lockdown period has kept my hands full. I am mostly occupied with work as an accountant, work at VaTonatsa Foundation, motherhood, being a student and personal care. In other words I am trying to maintain a grip on my usual life but in a different environment – my home.

L to R: my new friends Holly from VaTonatsa, Bothwell, Councillor Maliki, myself, and Vari from VaTonatsa, at Pakati, September 2019

A typical day for me starts with household chores, then I workout. In the past I would go for a 5km jog 3 days a week, but due to the lockdown I now improvise some workouts at home. I am fortunate to work with a professional trainer and friend Kim Vee who assists via her WhatsApp group. After breakfast I start work. When I am not working formal work, I study. Its good that my studies at UNISA have always been distance /online learning, so they are only slightly affected. Assignment submission deadlines were moved and exam dates are yet to be announced.

The flip side of lockdown is that our fundraiser and calendar events at VaTonatsa Foundation have been negatively impacted. We postponed our event initially slated for 28 March “My Dreams of the future” to a date to be announced in the future.

Some of our fundraiser projects are in Murewa, for example the Moringa projects, so we cannot travel during this time for hands on supervision. We however believe it’s for the greater good that we postponed these events. At this stage it’s important to preserve human life. Also in our culture – we are finding it hard to social distance because in the past it was a sign of kudada or kusema, so some think if I demand distance it means ndasema next person (Kusema= to despise/ndasema= I despise/Kudada=to be full of yourself or to be pompous).

The lockdown has given me some flexibility so I can schedule things in my own way, unlike when I have to be in the office at 8 when it’s normal days. I am grateful to have more time with my sons Taye and Zuva.

I am able to spend more time with them both, including planting some Moringa at our home. We are making a small Moringa nursery in the front yard. We intend to plant the seeds in Murewa when we can travel after the lockdown. The boys help with seed sowing, watering and weeding.

When I am not working we play board games such as Chess (Taye has taught me a lot) and Snakes and Ladders.

Zimbabweans seem to have ebraced the need for social distancing, but some do find it difficult to follow it strictly, particularly where funerals are concerned. I believe we shall overcome these tough times, especially if we can adhere to the measures put in place. I put this paper on my fridge for the boys to stay aware.

I am a believer that life has various seasons but with time all this shall pass. It is important to stay positive and I encourage people to follow information from verified sources so that they have correct knowledge about COVID19.”

In happier times earlier in 2020, Vari at Victoria Falls displaying the Zimbabwe national flag.

Day 1… survived!

One year ago today I set off with my son Daniel and his girlfriend Alice on a 3 day journey…quite an experience for us all

Friends Of Pakati


Started outside Bradford City football ground

crossed the M62 in Birkenshaw

Left Batley via Soothill

went through Wakefield past the rugby league ground

…past Nostell Priory…

.and ended at Ackworth 24 miles/38km later

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Walking….the plan for Day 1 – 25th April

One year ago today I was setting off on the walk…

Friends Of Pakati

The view from Queensbury near Bradford, 7th April 2019

DAY 1 – Bradford to Ackworth -Thursday 25th April 2019

Starting point: Valley Parade, Bradford – outside Bradford City FC.

Prospective Route
Up Valley Parade, turn left onto Manningham Lane then onto Manor Row, North Parade, Darley Sreet, Tyrell Street, Bridge Street.

Then onto and up Wakefield Road, through Tong until just before Tong Academy School, turn onto Bradford Road (A651). Follow until crossing over M62, then turn onto Bradford Road (A652) towards Batley.

In Batley, fork left onto Rouse Mill Lane (B6124), this road turns left as Soothill Lane until it becomes Batley Road & goes all the way into Wakefield, where it turns into Alvethorpe Road.

This goes onto the A642, before turning onto Ings Road (A638). This then becomes the Doncaster Road. Folllow this road until reaching Ackworth, passing Nostell Priory along the way. Turn left onto Bell…

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