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11/08/14 10:00am
11/08/2014 10:00 AM
Peconic Community School lower primary student Sawyer Harbin shows the Zimbabwe schoolchildren the doll he bought during a live video conference Friday morning as Tinashe Basa, a nonprofit director, watches on. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Peconic Community School lower primary student Sawyer Harbin shows the Zimbabwe schoolchildren the doll he bought during a live video conference Friday morning as Tinashe Basa, a nonprofit director, watches on. (Credit: Paul Squire)

“What do you do for fun?” the girl in Aquebogue asked.

“Do you have pets?” the boy in Zimbabwe asked.

“How big is your school?”

“Do you have a garden?”

These questions and more were answered Friday morning when a group of roughly 30 students at the Peconic Community School in Aquebogue met a group of Zimbabwe orphans through a live online video.

The meetup, coordinated by the nonprofit group ZimKids Orphan Trust, was the first time any of the students in Aquebogue had met kids from Africa, as well as the first time the Zimbabwe students had met someone outside their community. The school also hosted Dennis Gaboury, who founded the nonprofit, and its director — Tinashe Basa.

Mr. Gaboury said the video chat would help the young students here on the North Fork learn more about other cultures.

Mr. Basa, who joined the nonprofit group as a teenager, said he was excited to take part in the “culture [ex]change.”

Some of the students bought homemade dolls from Zimbabwe (those proceeds will go to the nonprofit) and played games with Mr. Basa, who told them about what life was like where he grew up.

ZimKids helps orphaned and abandoned children in Zimbabwe by providing schooling and vocational training. Mr. Basa himself was mistreated as a child, and nearly poisoned by some of his relatives who didn’t want to care for him.

“That whole time, it was a life lesson to know that there are kids out there going through the same thing,” he said. “I want to help them.”

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03/08/14 7:41am
03/08/2014 7:41 AM
Scott Chaskey reads to the Peconic Community School late last month. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Scott Chaskey reads to the Peconic Community School late last month. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Farmers aren’t always fixing their plows and attending out-of-state conferences over the winter.

Scott Chaskey, of Sag Harbor, paid a visit to the students of the Peconic Community School last month, reading to the students from his book, “Seedtime: On the History, Husbandry, Politics and Promise of Seeds.”

“Sharing arts and environmental programming is central to North Fork Education Initiative’s mission, and local poet and farmer Scott Chaskey’s body of work reflects this goal,” said Liz Casey, one of the school’s founders.

Mr. Chaskey was named farmer of the year in 2013 by the Northeast Organic Farming Association, according to a Sag Harbor Express article.

The school moved in July from downtown Riverhead to the classrooms that formerly held Our Redeemer Lutheran school on Main Road in Aquebogue.