This Sunday a large portion of my day was spent making a rather large number of cupcakes. The reason for this was that today was the day of our IScience society, charity cake sale. The event was held to raise money that will go towards purchasing much needed equipment for schools in Kenya. In particular, we hope for the money to go towards buying solar panels for Lake Bogoria Primary School so they can power lights and run evening classes when it is cooler and easier for students to concentrate.
The University of Leicester has a long standing link with communities in Lake Bogoria and, every year, a number of IScience students go out and visit the Lake as part of an extra credit field work offered by the ISci course. When I heard about this opportunity I knew I really wanted to go and so, a couple if years ago now, I headed out to Kenya. It was absolutely fantastic and I am so glad I decided to go; it is an experience I will never forget.
Normally IScience students camp at the lake for about 10 days and during there time there they will undertake a project that helps the community in some way. During my time in Kenya, my project partner and I looked at an alternative fuel source called a briquette. These are small compacted blocks of flammable matter made from a variety of waste materials. The aim of or project was to determine what would make the most efficient briquette. At the end of the project we gave a presentation of our findings to the local community. It is still to this day one of my most favourite presentations I have ever given, although, having a translator took a bit of getting use to! After the project we left a number of the briquette making tools we had to the local environmental group and were really pleased to hear that they have been making good use of it since then! Other projects have included things such as rainwater harvesting, creating tree nurseries, water filtration and other alternative fuel sources to name but a few.
In April, a new round of IScience students will head out to Lake Bogoria and start a new set of projects. I look forward to getting their first hand feedback on how the money we raised today has contributed to the local schools and communities! They might even end up helping set up some new solar panels!
***UPDATE 09/08/2013 *** Check out my fellow coursemate’s blog about his visit to Kenya here!