If you were woken up and told that today, was the day you would be heading to the Gateway to Hell, what would your choice of breakfast be? A Full English perhaps? Or maybe a giant stack of pancakes complete with all the toppings? I tell you what it probably wouldn’t be: a packet of banana cream biscuits! Yes, remarkably someone has actually created this monstrosity, and they are, as you can imagine, absolutely terrible! This was the reality we faced as we waited outside a small police check point, deep in the Ethiopian desert, for our paperwork to be signed, before we could continue our journey; fortunately, we had been given some excellent coffee to offset the taste of the biscuits, and we both agreed that this was a journey well worth enduring any number of banana creams for.
There was however one exception; It started like any other video lesson, the ancient television was wheeled to the front of the class and the on screen static was replaced by a poorly edited opening sequence, but instead of a ‘fun’ take on soil substrates or a cheesy animation explaining food mountains, the reassuringly familiar bearded old man, now stood at the top of a dusty hill; as the camera panned out, the hill revealed itself to be the edge of a crater, and there, far below the natty jumper, was a lake of bubbling lava, a real life version of a child’s drawing, it was the first time I had realised volcanoes like this actually existed – I was hooked.