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

Sunday, 17 February 2019

EI Goes To ECHO

Today was a much needed day to catch our breath a bit! And now it's time to catch you up a bit!
All set for the Beekeeping Display at the Technology Fair 
While the girls stayed with kind friends in Mwanza, Tim and I set off on Monday with a number of our teammates to Arusha for the ECHO East Africa Sustainable Agriculture Symposium. The land cruiser was very fully loaded: Tim, myself, Peter, Elisha, Bhatendi, Simon, all our luggage, a top-bar hive, honey press, buckets, beekeeping tools, posters, beesuits, mamas products … (no kitchen sink!).

We set off at 4am and arrived without incident in Arusha around thirteen hours later. It was great to meet up at our Catholic Guesthouse with our E.I. Iringa colleagues, Andre and Ibrahimu, and also our good friend Dorothea from Shinyanga.

At the back of the land cruiser with all the gear!
The symposium was a brilliant opportunity for us all to be together as we were learning, thinking and talking about ideas through the various presentations and workshops. There were a great number of people from across East Africa and a good number from other African and European countries as well as North America. It was a good time for networking with so many doing similar work ... especially while enjoying huge quantities of amazing food throughout the day! It was a good time to think through what we are doing and changes we can make to improve how we do things. It was also good to be inspired with new ideas .. such as integrating chickens and fish and goats into the projects... and Simon came back fully inspired with the potential for poop and pee!

And it was very exciting to have Emmanuel International on the program this year! On Wednesday afternoon we had a Beekeeping and Beeswax table at the Technology Fair. It was a great opportunity to talk with many people about top-bar beekeeping and showcase the potential of beekeeping, and also beeswax through the Mamas products.

Chatting with the participants at the Technology Fair 
On Thursday afternoon, I had the opportunity to present on "An Integrated Approach to Community Beekeeping." I was keenly excited (and yes, rather terrified) at the prospect of sharing my enthusiasm for beekeeping with others and really hoped to raise some interest in the huge potential for top-bar beekeeping as part of an integrated project with missional development, conservation agriculture/tree planting and also entrepreneurship. It really seems to me that if we are discussing Conservation Agriculture as well as rural poverty alleviation, we also need to be talking about bees and their pollination and income-generating potential! And so feeling completely out of my comfort zone, I launched into the seminar. And it was exciting to talk to so many interesting, interested people! There were very few in the seminar who were actually beekeeping, and the session certainly generated much discussion and questions … and much further interest! I have now brought home a list of these interested people and their contact details and have said we will start a Beekeeping Networking Forum which I thought would be for East Africa .. but it looks like it will go a little wider!





After the Symposium, there was time for a little "market research" at this lovely bakery in Arusha! Tim and I checked out these awesome croissants and I met with the chef as we now prepare for the start of the Mamas Bakery this spring!

Best research! 
We headed home to Mwanza early on Saturday. We made it almost 600km before we popped a tire! Unfortunately it was just as the heavens opened with horizontal rains! But with a team of six, we had the all the honey equipment out, the spare tire out, the flat tire off and then all back together in almost Formula One record time! Just a bit wet! We thankfully got all the way home before a slow puncture on another tire stopped us! Happy to be home!



2 comments:

  1. You are amazing. I pray beekeeping and all those lives it touches continues to bring you joy friend. I am so inspired by your creativity, stamina, and passion. Can't wait to hug you in June!

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  2. It’s very interesting to hear that bee keeping idea growing wider. And many people were very interesting about the idea and what EI and Mamas group doing in Mwanza.

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