Books needed!

Friends of Pakati are looking to support an initiative by one of our partner organisations – VaTonatsa Foundation – who are looking for book doantions.

Back in 2020 during the early part of the pandemic, we at Friends of Pakati entered a joint venture with VaTonatsa, to provide study materials for exam-class students in 5 schools in Ward 14, Murewa district – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/07/11/joint-venture-back-story-and-responses/

Now we want to help this latest appeal. On facebook this week VaTonatsa have been asking for books for children ages 3 to 18, including textbooks and novels. Already they have begun to receive gifts within Zimbabwe for their campaign, and hope for many more.

Do you have any suitable books you can give? Do you know any friends or family who might have books or stationery items spare they are willing to donate? Are there any schools who might have spare materials? Please get in touch with us a friendsofpakati@gmail.com if anyone can help.

It is always good for organisations like Friends of Pakati and VaTonatsa Foundation to collaborate when their interests overlap, something I can see happening again in the future.

‘Wherever you have friends, its the best place’

This was quote from a TV travel programme, one of Micheal Palin’s journeys – Around the World in 80 Days. The Saudi captain of a Saudi sea-going vessel was asked why he liked Liverpool. He said it was the first port he had been to, and he had many friends there. Then the quote – ‘Wherever you have friends, its the best place’ – was something I immediately understood.

The Njenje family greeting the author on arrival at the Pakati school signboard, September 2019

I find it is most true when I am talking about my two greatest passions – Scunthorpe United and Pakati. Yesterday I was back watching football at Scunthorpe with my son Daniel, seeing friends again & enjoying a live game for the first time since February 2020. This is a team I first watched in August 1969! It was such a pleasure to reconnect with fellow Iron fans👍

Pic courtesy of Luke Broughton Photography

I am still some months away from revisiting Pakati, probably a year away if I am honest barring a miracle. However, I continue to be in touch with both schools, members of the staff & community, former students and teachers, plus many friends old & new.

The author greeting old friend Thomas Gombera, September 2019

Friends of Pakati are still actively trying to help both Pakati schools, particularly in getting IT equipment to them for a second time, and hopefully can arrange a satellite-based Internet connection. Here are some of the promised computers from the Stephenson Group based in Leeds:

If you can help us do this, please donate to http://Paypal.me/friendsofpakati if it asks, then please use our email address friendsofpakati@gmail.com to find our page. Also please use that email if you wish to orfer an of our merchandise – see https://friendsofpakati.com/merchandise/ for details, particularly our newest addition – t-shirts in 5 sizes from S to 2XL!

Photo courtesy of Deborah Jay Kelly & Andre Holland

Ome of the things I most look forward to when I visit either Scunthorpe (my home town) or Pakati (my home area when in Zimbabwe) is meeting up with friends for a chat, a match, a meal, a drink, a walk, or whatever comes up at the time. Definitely, that is the best place to be!

 

**Pakati Primary school updates**

This post is a brief follow-up to https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/08/06/pakati-primary-school-improvements/

My friend Mr Mahachi, Headmaster of Pakati Primary school, has just sent me further pictures of the developmenst of the ECD (Early Childhood Development) block.

Pakati Primary school, September 2019

Mr Mahachi has told me that they are still waiting for confirmation of the date for re-opening folliowing further Covid restrictions being put in place a few weeks ago. During this period they have taken the opportunity to work on the ECD block.

The schools at Pakati, like so many other rural schools in Zimbabwe, use local trades people whenever thay can, not least because they serve the communities in which they are based.

Below are the pictures I received earlier today, showing the interior of the ECD block being painted with the first coat of paint this week.

I look forward to seeing any further developments at either Pakati school in the coming months!

**An Amazing Evening for Friends of Pakati!**

Wow! That really was an amazing evening last Saturday (7th August)…here is my report on the event – see here https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/07/31/promoting-friends-of-pakati/ – which I attended to try and get more attention for Friends of Pakati. It had been postponed from July due to Covid restrictions – that turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I suffered minor heart problems on 3rd of July…thankfully I was well enough to be there in the end

Photo courtesy of Gray’s Photo Plus

The event – Appreciating Positive Change Makers – was arranged by Dr MamboKadzi Tsitsi, founder of the Women of Purpose organisation. It was held at the Brooklands Hotel, in Weybridge, Surrey, on the outskirts of London, not far from Heathrow Airport.

The Brooklands Hotel

My invitation came from Dr Tsitsi via Caroline Zimano, who was the MC of the event. She also happens to be the founder of TheTeamCaro Foundation, recent sponsors of Friends of Pakati – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/06/13/great-new-support-welcome-to-the-teamcaro-foundation/ for more details. These lovely ladies very kindly ‘adopted’ me as an honourary member of the team for the evening!

Left to right – Caroline Zimano, Chris Walker, Sharon Chihota Paul, and Lynn Kanyowa-Ndlovu. Photo taken by TeamCaro supporter Maria Dumba.

Friends of Pakati showed off our latest merchandise, and were able to sell several t-shirts and other items on the night, such as mugs and badges. If you are interested in any of our items, please visit https://friendsofpakati.com/merchandise/ then email us with your order & details to friendsofpakati@gmail.com

Both photos courtesy of Deborah Jay Kelly & Andre Holland

We shared a stand by the entrance, where we were met by the Red Carpet Hostess Deborah Jay Kelly, and photographer Andre Holland – see their photo below.

Photo courtesy of Deborah Jay Kelly & Andre Holland

All who were due to receive awards were photographed and many interviwed on the way in on the way in – here is the Author, and the TeamCaro ladies – on the Red Carpet….

Both photos courtesy of Deborah Jay Kelly & Andre Holland

…along with the organiser Dr MamboKadzi Tsitsi

Photo courtesy of Deborah Jay Kelly & Andre Holland

Once inside the room where the event was being held, things moved pretty quickly. MC Caroline (see pic below) kept a tight reign on proceedings, allowing only 2-3 minutes for each award recipient to introduce themselves & their work.

Photo courtesy of Deborah Jay Kelly & Andre Holland

Myself, I was sat near the back of the room on a table with the remaining Team Caro members…

Lynn, Sharon & Chris, photo taken by Maria Dumba

….and gradually, it was my turn to speak (I kept it short & sweet).  As it was my first event of this kind, I have to say I was a little nervous. Thankfully, everyone there made me feel welcome, and I had lots of encouragement from TeamCaro! I thus collected an award…

Photo courtesy of Deborah Jay Kelly & Andre Holland

…followed not long after by the TeamCaro Foundation themselves!

Photo courtesy of Deborah Jay Kelly & Andre Holland

Our awards!

There was the opportunity to network with others, and swap ideas and contact details – something which will hopefully bear fruit in the coming months.

All in all, I believe it was a successful event, well worth attending, and will hopefully lead to greater things for us and our developing partnership with TeamCaro (They looked after me very well!).

A huge THANK YOU!!! to Dr Tsitsi & the Women of Purpose organisation, the TeamCaro Foundation, sponsors, all other award winners and attendees, Red Carpet Hostess, photographers, video operator, and to the Brooklands Hotel staff! Back next year? Hope so…

**Pakati Sports Star** Profile of Juliana Chiroodza

Recently I posted the story of a former students of mine now working in London – https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/07/24/from-pakati-to-london-weekend-star-epiphania-chiroodza/ but here I have a different story to tell…

Juliana competing at St Pauls Mission school sports ground, Musami, in 1992. Thanks to Debbie Chadbon for the photo

Today I am delighted to tell the story of her sister Juliana Chiroodza, a genuine sports star during the time I was at Pakati Secondary.school – a student who had a personality to match!

I first came across her in 1989, when she was in Form 2, in a class of around 35 students. In all honesty, and she admits this, Juliana was not academically gifted, but she really shone when it came to sports…here, in her own words, is her story.

Juliana, on the right of the picture, in 1989

“I was born in 1974 and I started my grade 1 up to grade 4 at Rukudzo Primary school in Harare . I started doing sports (100m) at grade 3 when I was 9 years old, and I won a small book called At the Farm.

In 1985 I was transferred to learn in a rural area, and I still remember that the headmaster at Rukudzo Primary refused to give me a transfer letter because of sports, but fortunately I went at Pakati Primary school without the letter.

Juliana (centre, circled in red) seen at her Form 4 Leavers Party, also two of her friends mentioned here are on the far left, Irene Njenje, and Sopia Chiweshe is next to Juliana, partly obscured by the circle

At Pakati Primary I continued with sports, all short events from grade 5 up to grade 7. Grades 5 and 6 I was tauught by Mr K .Mushangwe, then in grade 7 I was taught by Mr Marambakuyana.

In 1988 I did my Form 1, and that’s when I started all sporting activities, including field events such as high jump and long jump. l competed from district level, then up to Provincial level. 1st year at the provincial competition I took 2nd position in 100m, then at National Sports high jump I also took 2nd position. The following year I took 1st position.

Juliana involved in one of her favourite sports – high jump – at Pakati Secondary in 1989

My sports teacher was Mr Mutatapasi. 3rd and 4th year l went to University of Zimbabwe sports grounds, I competed there and came first, and all those years I was given some gold medals and certificates, but my teachers didn’t collect them at Murehwa centre.

Juliana competed in High Jump at the National Sports Stadium in Harare – this is the only picture she has of the occasion

My secondary school teachers were Mr Choga, Chifamba, Kashangura, Chadbon, Walker, Murwira, Mrs Masendo and Mushamba. I was made a Prefect from Form 2 up to Form 4. (Some of those teachers are pictured below)

left to right – back row – Mr Kashangura, Mr Choga and Mr Gororo – front row – Mr Walker,      Mr Nyamauya, Mr Mutatapasi, Mr Murwira & Mr Chirape

My friends at Secondary school were Febbie (she doesn’t remember the surname), Irene Njenje and Sophia Chiweshe. Unfortunately we seperated after school and sadly we are no longer in touch.

Juliana with her daughter Tafadzwa

After Pakati I didn’t pass very well so I went back to Harare and stayed with my sister Eppie, doing some piece-work jobs. Later on I got married to Lovemore Mukahanana and now I have 3 Children and we are living in Stoneridge Park, Harare”

With her son, Simbarashe

First, let me thank Juliana for telling me her story, it is for me a delight to be back in touch after so long. I want to thank her daughter Tafadzwa too for providing the means to contact her, as Juliana does not have a smart phone.

Lastly, I cannot go without saying something about my own memories of Juliana.

I have many very happy memories of my time at Pakati, and many students who I remember. However, a small handful have always stood out for me, and Juliana was always in that small group.

Like so many, she found the funny side in almost everything, but had a laugh louder than anyone else, and I dont remember seeing her other than with a huge smile on her face, just seemingly glad to be alive.

We, the teachers, made her a prefect at the school, as she definitely had the respect of her peers due to her sporting prowess. She had been an exceptional athlete, and I remember veey well watching her compete at Murewa High school during District level sports events.

Coming soon…

I hope to have more stories of former students ready to publish soon, and of course the IT video we have almost completed.

The biggest post to come, this weekend,. is about the event I attended on 7th August on behalf of Friends of Pakati. Here is one sample photo….

Photo courtesy of Deborah Jay Kelly & Andre Holland

Pakati Primary School Improvements

I recently had some photos sent to me by Mr Mahachi, Head of Pakati Primary. He had been telling me about some work being done at the school, in particular to the Early Childhood Development (EDC) block.

Mr Mahachi & the Author, September 2019

This was the message he sent to me, in response to a query I had regarding the re-opening of schools:

“We have completed plastering the new ECD block and we are planning to paint it before schools open using Beam funds (a local initiatuve). No official dates yet for reopening. We were just asked to prepare for reopening.”

The work is being done by tradesmen from the local community. Below are the pictures he sent.

He is promising me more when the painting is finished. So far so good though!

 

 

Promoting Friends of Pakati!

What is this for? Find out below…

Well….Next Saturday, 7th August, I will be going to an event on the outskirts of London, where I am representing and promoting Friends of Pakati.

The event is called ‘Appreciating Positive Change Makers’, and I have been invited to speak briefly about Friends of Pakati. I hope to raise our profile, and also hope to raise some funds for us.

How did we come to be invited? Well, it’s all about connections….First, I have a connection to a lady called Magdalene Lafontant. She owns the business called Nakai Skin Care – one of our sponsors – see here https://www.nakaiskincarecosmetics.com

Maggie knows the next connection – Auntiey Mimiey, who invited me onto her live facebook event a few weeks ago to talk about Friends of Pakati.

Well, one of the (many) connections I made from this was to the Team Caro Foundation who have also become a sposnor – read all about them here https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/06/13/great-new-support-welcome-to-the-teamcaro-foundation/ – and were instrumental in getting us invited. Team Caro’s Caroline Zimano will be the MC of the event. I will report on it all next weekend & post further updates & photos afterwards.

With the event now imminent, I have been busy getting merchandise ready to sell, and also organised the new banner in the photo at the top of this post. The newest merchandise for Friends of Pakati I can now reveal – is T-shirts!

Here is what they look like! This one below is 2XL size, the largest of the 5 sizes available. On sale now for £15 + p&p. We will have some to sell at the event, as well as some of our mugs, coasters, key rings and badges.

The 2XL fits the author well…..

If you would like to order, please email friendsofpakati@gmail.com with your name, contact phone number & full postal address. Sizes available are S, M, L, XL & 2XL. Also looking at Polo shirts if there is demand for them.

Looking forward to Promoting Friends of Pakati!

From Pakati to London! **Weekend Star** Epiphania Chiroodza

Wow. It is just amazing how things are a bit quiet for a while, then Bang! One thing leads to another….First, I hear from a man called John Tsinya, living here in the UK. I taught two of his siblings, and I hope to tell both of their stories soon. Next, I find he has passed a photo from our Instagram page (@friendsofpakati) of one of my former students, on to her sister who also lives in the UK – and I taught her too! This then, is the first of at least four new profiles being published.

It is therefore literally just in these last few days that I have been re-united with Epiphania Chiroodza online, only to discover she has been living, studying and working here in the UK for the last 19 years! So this is the story of how she came from Pakati to London…

Epiphania in a recent photo near where she now lives, on the outskirts of London, UK

I am absolutely delighted to introduce Epiphania, someone I remember from my first days at Pakati Secondary school, not least because she was in my first Form 4 (O level/GCSE) Maths class in 1989. I remember her as a bright, inquisitive girl, and someone who was easy to speak with. She was not as shy to talk in class as some were, having a good measure of self confidence about her…this is what she has told me recently…

“I did my primary school grade 1-6 in Harare, at Rukudzo Primary school in Kambuzuma, where I lived with my family. My father took early retirement, and I then spent five years living in Chiremba village with my parents and siblings. My parents were then peasant farmers.

As a result, I attended Pakati Primary school in 1985 where I completed my grade 7, then I attended Form 1 to Form 4 at Pakati Secondary school until the end of 1989. That was the year Mr Walker had joined the staff at Pakati Sec.

The school was totally different, as I was coming from the city to a rural area. It was also an environment shock! The distance I used to walk going to school to Pakati it was ten times more than in the city. I had to learn to adjust and adapt to the new environment I was living in. I did enjoy growing up there though, and had lots of cousins and relatives around. I have learnt the hard ways of life, and this has built resilience in me. Any challenges and situations right now I can confront them with no fear.

Staying in the countryside has made me a stronger person, and I learned to appreciate what I have. I left for the city after my O-level, and worked for a couple of years. I also had a family, with 2 children. I then left Zimbabwe in September 2002 when I had an opportunity that came my way to come to England.

I grabbed that opportunity straightaway.

Epiphania by the River Thames

In England life was not that easy, with culture shock it meant once again learning to adjust. Weather wise – British weather was another issue – when it’s cold it’s very cold, snowing and raining. Everything in England is very fast, and you have to learn to adapt quickly. There were times I felt home sick and missing my mum’s cooking and my siblings…and the Zimbabwean weather!

Fortunately, I found work in the health and social care sector, and I later went to college. I gained a Diploma in Health and Social Care, which then led me to further my education. I went to London South Bank University and studied BSC (Hons) in Mental Health Nursing. I am currently working as a Registered Mental Health Nurse in a psychiatric hospital (NHS) in London.

Therefore, I say never stop dreaming because one day your dream will come true, and always follow your dreams. The sky is the limit. I never knew, when I was at Pakati, that I will end up here in the UK, but fate took me here, and I have achieved a lot in my life which for which I am very grateful”.

Epiphania on a recent visit to Edinburgh

It has been a real pleasure for me, chatting to Epi for the first time in over 30 years! It has taken us back down memory lane, and there is much more to come I am sure…one of those things to come is the profile of her younger sister, Juliana, who I also taught. It was her photo on Instagram that was the catalyst for me being in touch with so many others from Pakati… this picture below, of Juliana competing in high jump, which had been taken by, and sent to me, by Debbie Chadbon.

Juliana Chiroodza, competing at St Pauls Mission Sports Stadium, Musami, in 1992

My thanks go to John Tsinya for getting the ball rolling, and to Epiphania for reminding me of good times…

 

 

 

 

 

Great news – More IT for Pakati schools!

I have just heard from Stuart Pine, IT Manager at The Stephenson Group Ltd of Horsforth, Leeds – our principal donors of computers – about what they now have available for us

I had just completed an interview with my local newspaper here in Bradford – the Telegraph & Argus – about my recent heart problems. They gave me an opportunity to talk about Friends of Pakati, and we will get some great publicity from it very soon.

Stuart with the Author, donating the first set of IT to Friends of Pakati in 2019 at the premises of the Stephenson Group

Soon after the interview I heard from Stuart. Here is the message he sent me: “Just for Info Chris, I have 18 computers of varying sizes for the schools but all good enough to run Windows 10 and some form of Office software, a few more than I originally thought.”

First time for the IT equipment at Pakati to be used from The Stephenson Group’s donation in 2019

A little later on I took a phone call from Stuart. He was able to give me a bit more information about things, including the fact that he thought it may as many as 20 computers available quite soon. He is going to send some photos of them next week, along with the short piece to camera we need to complete our second video, so all of that will be out soon!

Stuart seen relaxing on a family holiday

We had the pleasure to talk with Stuart earlier this year – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/02/06/interview-with-stuart-from-the-stephenson-group-ltd-our-it-donors/ for more information.

For us here at Friends of Pakati, this is fantastic news – it is really what we are all about – getting computers to both Pakati schools!! Also this will give us a real lift, an impetus to raise more funds to help ship them out to Pakati schools. The forthcoming publicity I mentioned, coupled with the event I am due to attend on 7th August – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/06/16/appreciating-positive-change-makers/ for more details, although the original date & venue was moved. It is now on 07/08/21 at the Brooklands Hotel.

There is much to look forward to for us  including those things mentioned here recently – https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/07/11/want-to-know-what-is-coming-up/ What we really need now is to raise more money to help pay to ship the equipment out to Zimbabwe, and if we have enough left over, try to meet our other objectives found here https://friendsofpakati.com/2020-vision-friends-of-pakati-the-project-continues/

So, if you can, please donate via http://Paypal.me/friendsofpakati or http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati THANK YOU!!

Want to know what is coming up?

Friends of Pakati is now into its 31st month online, and still going strong! In spite of everything – including the Author’s recent health scare (see https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/07/08/from-the-author-thank-you-to-the-nhs/ ) we continue to find new people to introduce, new stories to tell.

We have some new material to post soon, and a number of new stories promised. We have some new publicity on the way. We have new merchandise being produced. We have an event to attend to spread the word. Briefly, therefore, below is a summary of what is coming up in the next few weeks:

▪︎Firstly, I have heard from a sibling of one of my former students, Hatipedzi Tsinya (pictured below), whose brother John is currently living in the UK. I am waiting for the chance to tell her story, and that of her family. I taught her & her brother Lawrence, and was Acting Head for their younger sister Dadirai, who was in Form 1 in 1991.

▪︎I am absolutely assured that our second video will be completed very soon & released/published soon after

▪︎Just this last few days I have done a wide-ranging interview with a journalist from the local newspaper from my home town of Scunthorpe. We discussed my health scare, my support for Scunthorpe United, and of course, Friends of Pakati. Likely to be published in next week’s Scunthorpe Telegraph.

▪︎I am also waiting for one of The Team Caro Foundation – Lynne – to write her story for us. Find out more about Team Caro here https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/06/13/great-new-support-welcome-to-the-teamcaro-foundation/

▪︎New merchandise has been ordered through a new provider, and we are adding t-shirts to our range. More badges have also been ordered.

▪︎Lastly, there is the event I hope to attend on 7th August at Brooklands Hotel, not far from Heathrow Airport. I will be giving a brief speech about who we are & what help we need. Hoping to be well enough by then to attend, even if its not the full event. Dr MamboKadzi Tsitsi, organiser, said this:

“I figure, if you want to be who you want to be, you should go ahead and be one. We need people who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be…As a positive change maker – I have no country, I want no country. As a humanitarian/positive change maker my country is the whole world, I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my Humanity. And I want to be respected in all of it. See you Brooklands Hotel & Spa WOPI – Appreciating Positive Change Makers 7 August 21 http://www.womenofpurpose.me.uk/tickets

I am sure there will be a lot of things to say after this event! I will report in full on my return home.

Half way through this 3rd year I feel there is still much we can do to help Pakati schools, nit just in terms of our original aim of getting some computers to them. If you can help us, please do by contacting friendsofpakati@gmail.com or donate to http://paypal.me/friendsofpakati Thank you!