Last summer a group of children donated money for us to use in bee/honey-related projects among the Ik. We used half of the money last fall to buy 25 new bee-hives. Last week we used the other half to host a bee-keeping seminar for a small group of honey-farmers. We invited Simon Turner, founder of Malaika Honey in Kampala, to come and conduct the training. He brought new bee-suits and honey-harvesting equipment and spend four days with us and the Ik teaching them ways to streamline their honey production for increased income.
The Ik have harvesting honey for centuries, so in a way we were preaching to the choir. But their traditional methods included using fire to kill the bees before getting the honey. Wearing suits and using smokers allows the bee to live and keep producing honey. Simon was suprised to learn that the Ik put their hives in the tops of very tall trees to protect them from thieves and forest fires. That practice makes the whole business a bit dangerous and a lot less efficient.
The training provided us the opportunity to spend our first nights ever in Ik country, which we did with a tent set up inside an empty dormitory at the elementary school in Kamion. Having tasted the quietude and clean air, I have to see we look forward to when we can stay up there for longer periods of time.
Those who participated in the training
Climbing a tree to harvest honey
Training in progress
Sunrise in Kamion