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

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Up a Pole without a Ladder?

What do you think? Can we can rescue a swarm of bees from a 9m pole with this big green truck and ladder?
The big green truck
I'll get to that in a moment ... We have been waiting since August to get a prepay electricity meter fixed at our house. We had some unexpectedly high bills which led to long, animated conversations in the office of the electricity company here. For me, this meant a rather intense hour of a wide-eyed jumble of Swahili/English/sign language... or perhaps crazy gesticulating is more correct. But at the end of the hour, in annoyed defeat, I had to cough up the money. Anyway, to make a rather long story short, yesterday, nine (yes, NINE!) men all showed up in a big truck (which they parked outside the house) to fit the new meter. Talk about how many men it takes to change a lightbulb! We thought that was problem solved. But as it stands at the moment, we seem to have jumped out of the frying pan into the fire, with no power at all (thus my current location at a cafe) and if we do manage to get it, at the moment it looks like our bills will be even higher than before! We are working on it ...

And while on the subject of large electricity company trucks, while all these nine men were sorting out our one meter, I took the opportunity to ask one of the guys about borrowing their truck. As you know, I am trying to get bees in my hives (and trying to be patient). Finally last week I heard about bees at a friend's house. The family are allergic to bee stings and need them removed. Also because the bees are on the electricity pole, the electricians won't go near it with them all buzzing about there. So I agreed (in my "no worries, it'll-be-fine" way) that I would go and collect them. It all looks so simple after googling. Tim even agreed to come with me, although he honestly wants no part in my hare-brained schemes (he's a good husband!) and also Joseph (who really loves a challenge and as Tim said would do anything for me!). So last Friday evening (with our friend Kat kindly staying with the girls), I gathered together all the necessities: torch, bee-keeping hat, Tim's overalls, rubber gloves, big basket and large white sheet, smoker and sugar-water spray and toothpaste (for stings).

We ventured nervously out into the darkness. We got a little lost in the dark, but eventually found our way and arrived to see a HUGE pole stretching into the darkness. It was crooked and laden with bees just around where the live wires were, about 9 metres up. We only had a short ladder and didn't see how we could get up the pole! We talked about putting the ladder on top of the landcruiser, and at this point you can be glad (Mom and Dad, particularly) that I have a sensible husband. It all looked rather dodgey and buying honey from a grocery store seemed a much easier option. I had to admit defeat to Plan A. But Plan B is now to convince the electricity company men to agree to come with me with their big green truck with the ladder.  I get the bees and they can work peacefully on their pole. Tim reckons I should start thinking about a Plan C... But I will get some bees!

Here are a few photos from my birthday celebrations and other random pics! Thank you for all the Happy Birthday wishes; I had a wonderful day and it's great to have so many lovely friends!
My favourite: coffee cake (Alison Faulkner's recipe!)
On top of the JB Belmont in Mwanza

Louisa's favourite: Sweet hot milk!
As well as harvesting beans at Amon's, (see the last blog post) we have also just harvested our own beans from our shamba here at home. They have been drying in the sun and are now ready to shell. The girls have started collecting all the beans from their pods. We haven't weighed them yet though!
Our own bean harvest!

Shelling the beans

The new hair cut gives Louisa quite the flapper look!

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