UCL Earth Sciences



20 December 2017

Students' Blog - Simran Johal, Geology Student.

Simran Johal, Geology Student.

In the summer of my 1st year (2017), I endeavoured in volunteering as a Project Worker for Education Partnerships Africa (EPAfrica). After reaching my fundraising target of £2,100, we were set to fly to Kenya on 27th June. Shortly after arriving in our project county of Kisii we were assigned to our schools for 8 weeks to undertake project work. I was volunteering with my fellow project partners (Matt and Nurul) in 2 schools, Buyonge Secondary School and Gakero SDA school. We were based within our rural communities and living in basic but empowering conditions; without running water and limited access to electricity.

Our work involved investing our own fundraised monies into undertaking projects that would improve the school and facilitate learning. A few of our projects involved installing water tanks, gas and water into labs, creating extra library space for independent study and careers days/ murals.

The Figure above highlights how interesting it was geologically to be within the East African Rift Valley! Not far from our village was Tabaka, a town generating an income from the manufacture of soapstone souvenirs from the nearby talc mine deposit. The visit really got me thinking about the geology of the landscape (as if I already wasn’t!) and of what was beneath the characteristic red laterite of beautiful western Kenya. It was not uncommon to see fragments of weathered down talc on the hour-long trek to our schools via a ‘road’. 
Overall, this was an amazing experience for me in all areas of my development. Thanks to Professor Graham Shields for providing me with references to support me with my fundraising.

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