Patricia Alker

Location: Norfolk, Norwich
About me...

Born in Norfolk and now retired. I was a secretary and also worked in Insurance for many years. For the past 12 years I have given talks to raise funds for our charity “Project Dukem” Ethiopia, helping disadvantaged people in Lalibela and funding the feeding programme for a small school for hiv/aids orphans in Dukem, 35 km south of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Since retiring we have travelled extensively and my talks are on some of the places visited.
I also enjoy gardening, knitting and reading and I am a member of the local WI and U3A.
I live in Brundall, near Norwich.

About my Talks...

There are 12 main talks (listed below – please scroll down) covering Africa, Central Asia, Central America. All talks start with details of Project Dukem. I bring a laptop and projector (also a screen if needed). Talks last 45 to 60 minutes and I am happy to take questions and chat after the presentation. I have given talks to WI’s and other womens’ groups, Probus and various mens’ clubs plus U3a’s, RAFA and Church groups and have had many return bookings.


I ask for £50, all of which goes to Project Dukem (plus an extra 25p a mile of I travel further than 25 miles)

My Contact Details:

01603 957214

Project Dukem

Learn about our charity and the support we give a school for hiv/aids orphans in the small town of Dukem, 35km south of Addis Ababa, the capitol of Ethiopia. A land locked country and one of the poorest in the world. Since 2008 we have supported Mekonen through college, bought a sewing machine and set him up in his own Ladies Garment Business, have paid for electricity for Kebebush, a widow living in Lalibela so that she can bake bread to sell to support herself. Mekonen supported his sister Serkalem while she went to High School in Lalibela then we funded her for three years at college in Bahar Dar. She now has a job in a local clinic. Our funding for the school in Dukem pays for the “feeding programme” as without lunch attendance of these 4 to 9 years olds would go down and as Almaz who runs the school tells us, “YOU CAN’T TEACH HUNGRY CHILDREN”

Ethiopia the Historic Route

Travel from Axum in Tigrey Province which is famous for the Ark of the Covenant, to Lalibela in the Amhara Region 654 km from Addis Ababa, and see the Monolithic Rock Hewn Churches carved out in the 12th century by King Lalibela. The boat men of Lake Tana, in their papyrus boats, have been selling their wood at the weekly market for hundreds of years. Lake Tana is the largest body of water in Ethiopia at 3000 square meters and these people are believed to have travelled from, Egypt or Sudan centuries ago. The Simien Mountains are home to Gelada Baboons and Walia Ibex. Learn about the history of the area, the people and the flora and fauna found in this amazing country. Lovely people, fantastic scenery and abject poverty still to be seen.

Kenya Unseen

Following two visits to Kenya we experienced the slums of Nairobi and animals in the national parks. Visit a Massi village and see how they live in loaf shaped dwellings made of course by the women. See some of the animals on the Massi Mara and Ambosali National Park and wander Kabera, the largest slum in East Africa where people live ten to a small hut and 1000 people a day use communal toilets and washing facilities. Learn about rubbish collection and see where some of it ends up. An insight into life in Kenya today. If you have not visited Africa, be amazed at how people still live.

The Tribes of Southern Ethiopia

Near the border with South Sudan and Kenya there are a dozen little know ethnic groups. Hear about the Hamer and jumping the bulls initiation for young men. The Murse women who have lip plates, the colourful Dorze famous for their weaving, the King of the Konso and his Royal Palace of mud huts, the Boreno and their milking cattle and the Tsamai and their chief, the Dasanech who live near Lake Turkana. Peoples living in traditional mud huts without out sanitation, electricity, clean water. Refugees from South Sudan living near their relatives the Nyangatom on the banks of the Omo river. The weekly market is the highlight of their week, where they trade and catch up with friends from other villages.

Birds of Ethiopia

There are 924 known species in Ethiopia and 23 are endemic. Some birds, like the Egret, now breed here in the UK but the vultures and hornbills are completely unknown here and the weaver birds build small compact ball shaped nests that hang from trees or reeds. The strange Hoopoe is sometimes blown here to Norfolk and has been seen in a field at Horsford near Norwich. The Maribou Stork is 5 foot tall and they strut about like a group of old men. Pelicans are persecuted and their skins are turned into leather.

Colourful Ethiopia

Learn about the colourful women like the Afar lady in this picture. I bring colourful blankets, beads, priests colourful parasols and woven baskets for you to hold and see. See Lucy in the museum in Addis Ababa, the oldest huminoid ever found when 40% of her skeleton was discovered in the Afar Depresssion in 1974. hear about the traditonal weekly markets held all over the country and the subsidence farmers that rely on them for their weekly shop and social life, the highlight of their week. Wild flowers, animals, birds and children and the constant need for water and new water points now provided by the Ethiopian government and charities like Water Aid and Feed the Children etc but 62 million people still do not have access to clean water and 23 million people still practice open defacation.

The Imperial Cities of Morocco

Starting in Marrakech, full of tourists and famous for the Jemma el-Fnaa square and the Kasbah Mosque where the call of prayer goes out all day as well as the Souk of 3,000 stalls.Also people begging on the square for money to pay for their hospital medication and bandages, to the other cities where the King, Mohammed VI, has his Royal palaces. See Fez and Erfoud in the desert, fossils from the Sahara and the High Atlas Mountains, Mosques, Madrasses, Medinas and Soukes. Learn the history of these cities and see the men of the Tuareg.

Kwa-Zulu Natal and Swaziland

Kwa-Zulu Natal and Swaziland – from the Dragonsburgh Mountains and ancient cave drawings, to the Kruger National Park with its Elephants, Rhino, Wild Dog, Zebra and Giraffe, to the Kingdom of Swaziland and the not so wild animals at our camp and then the Wetland Reserve at St Lucia on the coast. Lots of animals, birds, people and orphans. South Africa is in many ways a modern country with decent roads and homes and then round the corner people live in small shacks in relative poverty.

The Silk Road Cities of Uzbekistan

This area of Central Asia has a long and interesting history, it is on the ancient Silk Road from China where merchants on Bactrian Camels brought silks and traded them for spices and salt and gold. Samarkand and Alexander the Great’s mosques, Bukhara where Gengis Khan mounted a month long siege to capture the city in 1220 BC and contented himself with looting and slaughter. He fathered many children and is reckoned to have 16 million male relatives living today. Not forgetting Khiva and its long association with the Silk Road and a traditional silk workshop today. Finally, mosques and madrassas with their ornate mosaics.

Chile, North to South

Chile, North to South – from the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth in the north, down to Patagonia and the Torres Des Paine National Park in the South where the next landfall is Antarctica, experience the scenery and animals of this fascinating country on the western edge of South America. With the condor, llamas and flamingos, glaciers and lakes a spectacular journey in remote places but visited by many tourists who wish to hike and the experience extremes of temperature and landscapes in this spectacular part of the world.


Mexico – from Mexico City to Chichen Itza, Central America with its border with the USA. From the capital which originally was the Aztec Capital of Montezuma and then colonised by the Spanish conquistadors for the Spanish Crown, taking the silver and other mineral wealth of the country. Mixtecs and Zapotecs who inhabited and ruled this area from 1100 BC through to 1400 BC when the Aztecs arrived and the 16th century when the Spanish came. Ancient ruins at Chichen Itza, Monte Alban, Palenque and Uxmal, with their treasures and stone pyramids and ball courts.

The History of Tea and Coffee

The History of Tea and Coffee – now where did coffee originate and who first tasted tea. From Ethiopia and the Arabs and across the globe, coffee is consumed every day all over the world and grown in South America and Asia as well as Africa. A Chinese Emporer and his herbal tea to Europe and the Uk where we consume vast quantities of tea today and plantations can be found in Asia, India and Africa. How they spread around the world and how much we all drink of these two beverages.

Zulu Wars, Isandlawana and Rorkes Drift.

Zulu War, Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift – from the first battle of the Anglo-Zulu war on 11th January 1879 at Isandlwana, won by the Zulu, to later in the day when the battle at Rorkes Drift raged and 150 soldiers battled against 4000 Zulu warriors. How did the war start and why? Lord Chelmsford invaded Zululand against the orders of the British Government and we suffered one of our worst defeats against native tribesmen in the history of the British Empire. The war lasted until 4th July 1879 with the defeat of the Zulu nation. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded after the battle at Rorkes Drift.

Patricia Alker Contact Details:

01603 957214

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