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

Friday, 21 June 2019

Linz Singing, Nairobi Clinics, Mwanza Bees

The blog has yet again been woefully neglected! I can hardly keep up with the action at the moment, let alone writing about the action!

At the moment, Tim is Tanzania, Louisa is in Austria and Amisadai and I are in Kenya. Louisa has the most incredible opportunity to go on a school Choir Trip to Europe to compete at the Anton Bruckner International Choir Festival in Linz! They performed today, but I'll let her tell that story!
Sightseeing in Vienna
Meanwhile Amisadai needed to come here to Nairobi for some physiotherapy on her knee. She had a football injury months ago which has worsened rather than healed over time. But more recently, she suddenly struggled with acid reflux issues again, which rather knocked her out. We were advised by her consultant in the UK to get various tests done here in Nairobi before going ahead on any treatment of the symptoms. So here we are again!

We left Mwanza on Monday at 2pm on a bus. At 7pm we arrived at the Kenyan border and passed through all the checks and bought a visa. Then there was time to find a bag of chips from a café on the other side. We then had to wait while a man fixed something under the bus and then within 45 minutes, we were on our way again. It was time to try and get some sleep in our seats. We arrived in Nairobi around 4:30am on Tuesday morning and waited for a taxi to take us to our excellent guesthouse at the Kroppachs' And then 2 hours later it was all systems go all day at the clinic and physio! Phew!
Physiotherapy time
Time for a treat! Thank you, Sue!
Meanwhile, there seems so much news from Mwanza to catch up on! But I will just tell you a bit here about the bees…!

Beekeeping has been rather intense recently! It is harvest time for honey in Kayenze and Malya and Bhatendi and I have been working with them and also the group just getting started in Ngudu ... all in all, it's been no easy task! But I will stick here to the good news!

We had a bit of problem with the new hives just hung in Ngudu. In four of the twelve hives, the bees started living and building their combs outside the hive! They clearly didn't read our new beekeeping manual.
Bees working on building comb OUTSIDE the hive!
But the problem turned into a really fabulous learning opportunity for two of the group members! We were able to work very peacefully at the hives for a change which was a real treat! Gently using a smoker and brush to move the bees, we cut each comb off the bottom and basically sewed them onto the top bars and put inside the hive. When all the combs were on bars inside, the next job was to make sure the queen ended up in there too. It was wonderful to have the opportunity (in the daylight!) for the members of the group to watch the bees and find the queen and get her inside!
Pastor Emmanuel with the first small comb attached 
to the top-bar, ready to put in the hive
It did get a little more difficult on the hives which had been hung earlier … the bees had been incredibly busy! We were amazed at how many combs they had underneath and even more amazed to see fully capped honey and combs of brood! Again it was a super learning opportunity for the new beekeepers to see brood comb, drone brood, capped honey, uncapped honey, different pollen colours and watch activity at the hive! But the large honeycomb was just too heavy to hang! We hadn't even thought about honey being there already, so were not prepared with buckets, but we had a container which we filled as much as we could and so left with some delicious first-fruits! What a bonus! We devoured over half the comb right there and the rest was pressed and filled a good sized jar!
Pastor Emmanuel enjoys the honey when the job was done!
Charles, also enjoying the sweet treat!
Following the initial harvesting of the few hives in Kayenze and Mayla, (the honey all sold out within two weeks) we have experimented with solar wax extractors! Simon has worked on designs and come up with a brilliant extractor! Rather than melting all the comb down pot by pot with fire or gas, (a rather tedious, hot and time-consuming job!) now we can just load up the extractor with all the comb and let the sun do the rest! Much more efficient and environmentally friendly!
All the comb (after taking the honey) is melted and filtered 
to get the pure wax in the container at the bottom! 
This harvest, we were also able to collect some propolis! So I have started experimenting with cleaning and preparing propolis to sell. We have made oil and alcohol tinctures as well as coconut oil salves with the cleaned, ground propolis and already have very positive reports from someone using it on a large dog wound! So I am getting rather impatient now to get our Honey Centre set up and start workshops teaching beekeepers and women's groups how to do all this processing and making!
The propolis after being cleaned, boiled, strained, frozen and ground

As this post is already getting rather long, I will save more updates for another time. It is certainly a strange time at the moment with rather a lot going on. But we are grateful for God's grace and strength and so grateful also for the many of you supporting and loving us! Thank you!