Covid-19…updates

With things moving quickly, I thought I would update the information from earlier today – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/03/18/corona-virus-impact-on-friends-of-pakati/ – of what is happening, both in Zimbabwe and the UK, as both have an impact on the project potentially.

Debbie in training…but for which event?

I received an email from Debbie Chadbon today informing me that her planned 10km run in Bristol, due to have happened in early May, has been cancelled. This means one of the key fundraising events will be delayed. Debbie’s intention is still to run a 10km for us, we just do not know when or where yet. Obviously we will update on here once we know more.

As I mentioned earlier today, I am now intending to visit Zimbabwe in January/February 2021 instead of this September. The fundrasing will slow down for a while, but all will relaunch as soon as possible, although online fundraising will continue, see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/03/16/important-changes-to-fundraising-activities so again, I will update on here when things look like they are returning to normal.

Students in class at Pakati Primary school

In the UK, all schools will have closed from Friday this week. In Zimbabwe border crossings are being affected, and schools are due to close from 2nd April to 5th May. I am told the two Pakati schools are going through information and instructions on dealing with the virus, as are all other local schools such as Mapanga Primary where they are having lessons at assemblies, with teachers demonstrating ways of washing hands under running water. They can use 5-litre containers or use buckets. I am hoping to have photos and/or short videos showing whst these schools are doing, and will publish them when I get them.

Assembly at Pakati Secondary school

There are unconfirmed reports of deaths from the virus in Zimbabwe, only a small number so far reported unofficially. In the UK it has moved to 104. Please stay safe and look after youselves, your families and communities.

Corona Virus – impact on Friends of Pakati

We are waiting to see if the football tournaments will go ahead in the Pakati area/District…

It would be foolish not to admit that things will continue as normal as Corona Virus has affected how the world works for the time being. It is clear that it will be months rather than weeks before things return to anything like normal. As a results, Friends of Pakati will be affected in terms of being able to fundraise as much or as quickly as planned, and will therefore be delayed in delivering on its priorities for 2020 – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020-vision-friends-of-pakati-the-project-continues/ for full details.

As previously mentioned https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/03/16/important-changes-to-fundraising-activities/ already fundraising events here in the UK are being postponed or changed to online fundraising via social media – the best way to remain in touch. The fundraising remains ongoing!

To allow for this, and obviously this may itself change depending on how long it takes for things to get back to near normal, I am now looking at early 2021 for such a visit to happen, and therefore to have goods arrive shortly before I do, as last year. I am now aiming for late January/early February 2021, and until then, I wil keep the blog going in the meantime.

If you have any Pakati/Ward 14 Murewa stories to tell, or would like to hear about, then please use the contacts here; similarly if you have any questions about friendsofpakati.com or want to suggest or say something about the content of the blog, please use these contacts too. If you have anything you could donate to help the schools, or money to help the fundraising, then also use the contacts – See below…

http://facebook.com/Friends-of-pakati – follow us on facebook

http://twitter.com/friendsofpakati – follow us on twitter

friendsofpakati@gmail.com – email us

http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati – please donate

In Harare yesterday a person has tested positive for Covid-19

As it stands, schools in Zimbabwe remain open, so Friends of Pakati will continue to report on life at Pakati with the help of the staff at both schools, und update you on any changes that may happen. There were reports of someone in Harare being taken to hospital having been found wandering the streets feeling ill, and confirmed as having Corona virus.

What Friends of Pakati is all about – IT in both schools

Stay safe everyone.

Important changes to fundraising activities…

Due to the suspension of sporting events in the UK, it seems at least one of our fundraising events will be unable to take place any time soon….so the Author has made some changes to the ‘Get TIED UP for Pakati idea…please see the new version, designed to try and get more football fans on board.

Latest version of ‘Get TIED UP for Pakati’

I am also waiting to hear if Debbie Chadbon’s 10km run in Bristol on 3rd May will also be affected.

Further to all this, there may yet be a delay to when the Author can come to Zimbabwe in person, only time will tell.

More details will be provided as and when I know more about what is happening. in the meantime the blog continues, with promises of more stories from Pakati people past and present, reports from both schools on sports activities and ongoing lessons.

Mrs Agatha Joramu Fombo – former Pakati student, now a Pastor in Mutare, Zimbabwe

Thanks to my joining the Chigwada Patrons facebook group, I received this story from one of its members. It is a wonderful story, well told. I have edited only a very little, the vast majority is in Agatha’s own words, and she provided the pictures. Read on….

“Hello sir. My name is Agatha Joramu Fombo. I am from Chigwada Village and am 46 years old. I did my primary education at Pakati Primary School. I started in 1980 and it was not easy for a young girl like me walking more than 5km every morning and the same after school.

I remember very much the way I cried every morning as I tried to run and catch up with the likes of Davy Chigwada, Petty Sapprinyu, Betty Mutanga etc. These were far older than me but they had been delayed by the second chimurenga (liberation war in Zimbabwe) and they re enrolled in 1980 back to school.

My grade 1 and 2 teacher was Ms Zonke, my grade 3 and 4 teacher was Ms Mwenye and my grade 5 and 6 teacher was Mr Maenzanise. Our headmaster was formerly Mr Chihaka senior then we had Mr Chirapa when I was in grade 6. I remember very well how good Ms Zonke was, she had a great passion and affectionate for pupils. Ms Mwenye was also good but she used to punish us hard for any wrong that we did.

Then Mr Maenzanise (his wife is last week’s Saturday Star – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/03/07/saturday-star-mrs-maenzanise-former-teacher-at-pakati-primary-school/ ) was a very quiet and humble man. He loved music and playing his guitar for us and one song he taught us was” AS I WAS WALKING ONE MORNING FOR PLEASURE.. I SAW A CHIMPANZEE COME RIDING ALONG”. Also to remember was headmaster Chirapa and his enforcement on singing the then national anthem” Nkosi Sikeleli Africa” (in the local Shona language “Ishe Komborerai Africa” to the same tune one of the Authors abiding memories is the beautiful singing of this every week at school assemblies)

I used to do athletics so much and was a fan of soccer and netball and used to go with the school teams to sing and support. I moved to Harare where I did all my later part of education.

Now I am a married woman with 2 daughters and 3 grandchildren. I became a pastor when I was in South Africa (SA) in 2016.

I moved back to Zimbabwe last year in December and am staying in Mutare where I and my husband are pastoring. We also started a preschool in February to the underprivilledged children at a farm in Old Mutare.”

I am very grateful to the Pastor for her story, another tale to inspire students at both Pakati schools, by showing what can be achieved with dedication regardless of your origins.

Mrs Maenzanise – a follow-up, and an event at her school coming up

Just recently I was informed of an act of kindness by the Head of Mapanga Primary school, a recent contributor to this blog, Mrs Maenzanise – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/03/07/saturday-star-mrs-maenzanise-former-teacher-at-pakati-primary-school/

Mrs Maenzanise is seen here on her way to donate vital supplies to an elderly lady who is disabled, and lives not far from Mapanga school.

The lady is clapping her hands together – a traditional way of gratefully accepting gifts in Shona culture.

Pictured above is the lady’s grandson who is deaf and dumb. He is a Grade 4 student at Mapanga Primary school. Below is one of many responses to this story, which was posted on a whats app group for Ward 14, Murewa:

“To the Headmistress and all those behind you in this noble cause, we say thank you very much for the heart that gives and a hand that’s extended to the needy” (posted by F Madziwa)

Such kindness appears to run in the family….her neice, Vari Marez set up VaTonatsa Foundation in honour of her late mother, an active charitable foundation in Murewa Ward 14.

Bothwell, Holly, Vari & the Author, October 2019

I got this message recently from Vatonatsa Foundation, an organisation which has supported friendsofpakati.com and given us stories to tell on the blog about other small scale developments in Ward 14 of Murewa District:

“There is hunger in Zim and with inflation poverty is worse now so we are going to Mapanga to donate food and footwear for the kids 28 March 2020 as VaTonatsa Foundation in order to just ease and help the kids learn with full tummies.
We have a paynow platform which gets funds into our bank account so people can go to the donate link and donate whatever they can.
The kids will also share poetry and prose to voice their future goals and ambitions so that after we hear we can galvanize more support.

If you feel able to, please help👍🏽

https://VaTonatsa.org.zw/donate/

Thank you.”

Here is an added comment from Vari – the story should be about the recipients, not the donors:

“We don’t want the trip to be about us going there to donate – it is about the children so we want them to present poetry, essays & hear their stories on their future goals and ambitions – this will help us to know how best we can support them along the way.”

Pakati Primary AGM – full report

Full report of the Annual General Meeting provided by Mr Mahachi, Head of Pakati Primary school. It shows why we need help to provide basic education to the students of both schools. Please donate http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati

Mr Mahachi with the Author, September 2019

“Hi Chris, I hope I find you well. Just brief points about Pakati Pimary AGM held on the 3rd of March, at Pakati Primary ECD (Early Childhood Develooment) block.
Agenda
1. Prayer- volunteer
2. Introductions house keeping issues- Head

  1. Minutes and arisings
  2. SDC (School Development Committee) Chair’s report
  3. Head’s report
  4. Financial report.
  5. Resolutions and elections- councillor.
  6. Announcements, Prayer and dismissal.
  7. Meeting started around 1130 hrs with over 120 parents, whilst others came during proceedings.
    Major talking points were
    SDC chair’s report. Achievements during the year
  8. Roofing the new ECD 2 classroom block
  9. Glazing of 88 window panes the ECD block
  10. Purchase and installation of 6 doors on the ECD block
  11. Procurement of 40 single desks and chairs for grade 7 students.
  12. Payment of ancillery staff (guard and clerk)
    Heads report:
  13. Enrolment and Staffing situation – drop of enrolment from 775 end of year 2019 to 701 – probable reasons are dropouts and transfers due to new levy i.e. from $20 to $300 Zim Dollars
  14. Shortage of teachers – authorised teacher establishment is 24, but teachers in post 15, with 9 vacancies due to current freezing of posts. School doesn’t have even 1 trained ECD teacher at the moment except for the deputy head who must not have a class but a teaching load of 16 lessons per week.
    Slight improvement of pass rate from 43.75% to 48.95% but we aim to surpass 50% despite the challenges we face, e.g. shortage of teachers and teaching and learning materials like textbooks.
    Classrooms available are 12 out of the required 24. Toilets available 14 for boys are adequate using the 1 as to 25 boys but girls have 10 out of the required 15 using the 1 as to 20 girls ratio.
    Received 4 desktops and 1 laptop from Friends of Pakati, received 1114 new curriculum textbooks from Government and its partners. Received stationery items from an old student and he paid levies for 15 orphans and vulnerable learners. Many thanks to the friends and our partners.
Alderman Israel Maliki addressing the packed parents meeting

The head touched on admission requirements for new entrants, be it ECD learners of transferred which are birth certificate, stationery items, uniforms, levies and transfers for those incoming transfers. He touched on this years expectation, for example vacation school for grade 7 to improve passrate and Zimsec registration for 2020 and 2021 candidates and the Zimsec levy of $44 suspended until further notice. The Head talked about the issue of connecting Zesa to the computer room that ZETDC hasn’t quoted the school the prices yet though we had submitted the request. The system can get overloaded and is always being repaired hence the need for Zesa connection, though these days electricity only comes during the night. There is need to upgrade the solar power system. There is need also to install a tank and pipes from the borehole to provide running water at the school. These are the immediate tasks at hand if funds permit.
The financial report was given by the treasurer highlighting amount of income and how it was used.
Resolutions mainly highlighted the need to fill the vacant teaching posts.
Elections were done and all 2019 SDC members were voted back due to the good work they were doing according to the audience. The meeting ended around 16:20.

Alderman Israel Maliki discussing issues with the parents of Pakati Primary school

OK, I can add some more. The incoming and re-elected SDC members are Chair – Mr Chikowe, Vice – Mrs Chinyama, Treasurer – Mrs Chiman, Secretary – Mrs Dhliwayo, Committee Member – Mr Mutsigwa, together with the four ex-offico members, the Councillor, the Head, Deputy Head and Senior Teacher – they become the 9 SDC members to drive the source and use resources sought for the development of the school as provided by the statutes.”

Support from parents for the SDC for its efforts to improve the school

Many thanks to Mr Mahachi for the report and the pictures.

Updates on fundraising activities…

The main reason for the project – computers for Pakati schools

We are raising money to help send computers & associated equipment, sports kits and other useful items for Pakati Primary and Secondary schools, as well as to try and fund things like installation of internet access, additional security and improvements to the learning environments.

Formal handover of samples of donated sports gear in September 2019

If you can give money then please go to http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati to donate online.

If you can give any help, goods for sale or goods to go direct to the schools, please email to friendsofpakati@gmail.com with details. See below some of the things now in place to raise funds for http://friendsofpakati.com

Todays weigh-in – no change on last week

This week’s weigh in – week 8 – has proved difficult, but at least I have’t added any lbs though not lost any either. Been difficult to get as much walking done as I would have liked. Still 1st 3lb/8.9 kg less than when I started. To encourage me to do more, please donate at http://gofundme.com/friends-of-pakati

Debbie Chadbon, March 2020

Fellow former VSO Maths teacher at Pakati Secondary school Debbie Chadbon is now in training for her 10km Run to help us raise funds, in the city where she lives, Bristol, in May. Here is some of what she recently told me:

“My running is going OK – I’m gradually increasing the distance I run but I’ve still got a long way to go.  I have registered for the local parkrun and am planning to do my first 5k run with them next week.  The limiting factor is my knees!  If I over do it they ache for a couple days so I’m trying to go carefully.  I have attached a couple of photos of me before a run that I thought you might want to include in a blog entry.”

At the Authors work we are having a coffee morning/cake/buns/savouries sale with colleagues baking or buying suitable goodies to sell & hopefully raise a bit more money for us. This will be on Wednesday March 25th.

Easter Monday will be a football-related event as myself & fellow Scunthorpe United fans travel to an away game at Carlisle…

Football shirts and memorabilia are still being collected and sold so we know more is coming our way soon.

So with these events on the way and underway, we hope for more funds to come our way, so to see our priorities in more detail, please see https://friendsofpakati.com/2020-vision-friends-of-pakati-the-project-continues/

Many thanks go to all those helping, promoting, donating or participating….not least Debbie who has appeared in a number of blog posts recently.

Debbie in training for her forthcoming 10km run in Bristol in May