We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

World Bee Day (Celebrated Twice!)

I got so excited about World Bee Day, I clearly couldn't wait! I was happily celebrating it on Saturday and it wasn't until the evening that I realised it was actually on Sunday!

So here we are now... the real thing. Happy World Bee Day!


We celebrated the bees and our beekeepers in Malya this week. I set off at 6:50am with John (our trainer) and Mama Rose (from the Upendo wa Mama group in Mwanza) on Thursday. It was a wonderful opportunity for Mama Rose to teach the womens' group there how to make batiki (the African tie-dye fabrics). It was so lovely to have her there with me! After a short time with both groups together, the mamas group then set to work inside the church building, while John met with the beekeepers outside.
Rose gets set up to teach the Malya mamas
We made 12 beautiful batiki wraps which the women were absolutely thrilled about! They are keen to get business going and they were straight into marketing them fresh off the line! Life is not easy for these women but they are eager to see change! They are not quitters and are persevering after various set-backs. Since my last visit, their goat (our Albert who became the father to their goat project) was stolen and then they lost their entire crop of chickpeas. But they are planning a cash crop garden and now selling batiks and remain inspirationally determined!

Tabitha and Raheli fold and tie the fabrics


Fashion Parade with our beautiful fabrics!
After learning how to tie-dye, we got busy with the beeswax and made some batches of Moringa Balm to sell at the Charity Craft Fair next week.

Mamas make Moringa Balm


As dusk approached it was time to get out to the hives with some of the beekeepers.  By this time my muffin at 6:15am was a long-distant memory. Malya had just had three days of very heavy rain and the roads were in terrible shape. We couldn't even get to the hives at Credo's and Mathias'. But we were able to check the hives at Bageshi's and Mama Maria's. Bageshi had found a store of honey in a roof-top and set about collecting it. He had bottled it and was waiting to learn how to process the wax! Mama Maria is doing so well, with the three group hives at her place all colonised and she has put her own hive up as well now! But the bees were a little cross with our late night disturbance and I ended up with one in my glove which made my arm rather more purple and larger than usual! It was all rather an unexpected but exciting adventure for Mama Rose who was only planning on teaching tie-dye! She suited up and enjoyed traipsing around the hives ... although escaped early-on at Mama Maria's!
Mama Rose (second from left) joins Mama Maria, Bageshi and John for some beekeeping!
It was 9:30pm by the time we finally ate dinner at Bageshi's house! He and his wife have lovely 6-year old twin girls who were falling asleep by then, and I felt I could have done the same! We were happy to collapse into our beds at the little guesthouse at 10:30pm!

We were up early the next morning to do the wax processing with Bageshi. Mama Bageshi was very patient and gracious as we interrupted her morning jobs of washing clothes in the buckets outside, while we started a fire on her three stones and got busy boiling and straining!


Bageshi strains the crushed comb to extract the wax
After another visit to Mama Tabitha where she kindly gave us gifts of rice and sweet potatoes, we were back on the road. Once again it was "Dodge the Potholes" ... or splash through a huge one. The landcruiser was filthy. And then I was almost as dirty as it when we ended up with a puncture and had to change the tire. I was dirty, tired and hungry by the time I got home mid-afternoon, but optimistically happy to celebrate World Bee Day for all that is happening in Malya!

On the next day that I mistakenly thought was World Bee Day, our Upendo wa Mama group celebrated together! We made a Honey Cake which was rather delicious with our chai. The other women had a laugh enjoying the photos of Rose as a beekeeper! And were happy to hear how well her teaching went in Malya! Here are some of us celebrating Siku ya Nyuki with our beeswax products ... BeesWraps, balms and soaps!
Happy Bee Day!