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

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Back with the Beekeepers!

I had packed our trusted landcruiser full with loads of empty buckets ready for honey (yes, ever go in hope), new beesuits along with all the beekeeping paraphernalia (including jeans under my khanga and a long-sleeved top in hand for extra protection). I had water and a bag of chapattis and samosas for Peter and me to eat on the journey. We were off to Malya on Thursday.
Just outside of Malya
If I am completely honest, I was not feeling terribly confident about going to Malya for two days. I would have liked to have had Tim at my side for one thing, and the very real possibility of thousands of bees turning against me was not far from my mind! There were many things to be sorted out, both with the Mamas Group and the Beekeepers Group and I felt rather out of my depth with that familiar feeling that things just might not go as planned.

Well, lots of things didn't go as planned! Right from the start! But one thing we are all learning in this bee project is perseverance! And despite the obstacles, changes and delays (and very hot temperature!) we really had an amazing few days! It started with the Mamas Group meeting on Thursday. It was so wonderful to be back with these lovely ladies - a great reunion! They were delighted with the profits from their sales in the UK and Canada and had a good chat about how to make their money work for them, tied in with a small Bible study. They had lots of ideas. They really like the fuel-efficient stove and have asked to learn how to make cakes for weddings and parties. After sharing out half of their profits between them, they have decided to buy a female goat with the other half. And so next time I go, I have said I will take our male goat to mate her ... could be interesting! (But it is very exciting to be doing more with the goats!) The mamas are also happy to be sharing a shamba (field to grow crops). With some Conservation Agriculture tips, they are planting choroko beans which they will harvest in February. They were so keen and enthusiastic, it was great! We made honey soaps and prayed together to end a wonderful afternoon!

Peter and I were hoping to check a few hives in the late afternoon before dark, but our beekeeping secretary didn't arrive in time. I was then starting to feel increasingly ill, so ended up going straight to bed. It was small airless room with the ensuite hole and bucket of dirty water. A few boards clonked off the old bed when I lay down under my holey mosquito net and prayed, feeling just a little concerned about how I was going to get through the next day and the long drive home!

Prayers answered! The next morning I was up early feeling better, and Peter and I went to find a cup of chai from a local lady frying chapattis. Then we waited at the church building for the beekeepers to arrive. And waited ... and waited! Finally they all arrived and we began. Peter did a fantastic job leading the meeting and teaching. Again a time of good discussions with the good news that the beekeeping secretary has two acres of land that he is giving for the use of the group for reforestation. We will start a tree seedling nursery next month at the group chairman's land (with good access to water) and then trees will be planted out on this plot.

We were then able to present a gift of new bee suits to the group from the Basingstoke Beekeepers Association! They were all so thrilled with the gift and the greetings from Basingstoke and they send back their love and thanks to the group there!
Mama Maria delighted with the suits!
The group happy to receive such a wonderful gift!
(Secretary Mathias on the left, Peter on the right)
Peter teaching the Malya Beekeepers
Finally, together we all went to the home of the family of "Chief" Edward, one of our beekeepers who sadly died last month. His father used to be the local chief back in the days of the tribal system before the modern local government was established after Tanzanian Independence. Out of respect, people in the village still referred to the son as "chief." We went as a group with some gifts of fruit and money to give our love and pay our respects to Edward's wife and family.

By this time it was midday and absolutely unbearably hot! Peter and I had so wanted to get out and check the hives, but the whole group was adamant that we shouldn't. It was far too hot in the sun for us and the bees ...and things would not go well! We had to agree. But we were encouraged with the good news that three more hives had been colonised! We were also pleased they had checked the hives two weeks earlier and although with the terribly hot and dry conditions there is little honey, the colonies are surviving!

So Peter and I said our farewells and headed back to Mwanza on the hot, dry road. The stretch of dirt road was not too bad, but there were sections that were terrible with unavoidable potholes. Then it was a challenge to find to the best bits of road, and in one place the pothole in the middle was enormous! I went straight to bed when I got home, but very encouraged with how things are moving so positively forward with these wonderful friends in Malya!

Reason here to pray for rain!


  1. Thanks for the updates... They help us know how to pray for you & for the partners in the work. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

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  3. Witam ! Świetne zdjęcia, czekam na więcej, pozdrawiam!
    tanie pokoje ustroń

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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