A Bee-utiful Day!

The latest learning experience day at Kibuye Hope Academy (KHA) took the MK kids and several adults to the home of 26-year old Leonard, a local beekeeper who began keeping bees at the age of 10. Each year, he burns old honeycomb to attract bees to the seven hives that he has built by hand.

Hive construction begins by drawing a circle in the dirt on the ground. Thin tree branches are then stuck into the circle to form the shape of the bee basket. After this, bamboo stalks are cut in half, the sweet inside is scraped out so that the bees will not eat it, and then the bamboo is woven around the original sticks. Mud and cow dung fill in the gaps of the basket.

Once the basket is ready for the bees, the wide end is closed with a weave of banana leaves while a small hole is created in the narrow end so that bees can enter and begin their own construction. Industrious bees can fill the basket half full of honeycomb in two weeks. Each hive has about 40 honeycombs.

When Leonard collects the honey, he squeezes it from the comb with his hands before filtering the honey and selling it locally. September is the month for honey collection, and he estimates that he gets 10 kilos from each hive. That's 70 kilos of honey!

Leonard smoked the bees by putting a small amount of cow dung on a roofing tile and lighting it on fire.

He pulled out a honey comb to show us.

We were allowed to taste the honey and the honeycomb.

On the way home, one of the kids commented that she thought this was the best cultural experience we've had yet. Much of that was due to Leonard's hospitality and excitement about his avocation. We are grateful for him and many others who don't just teach our kids science lessons but also industry, joy, appropriate pride, an entrepreneurial spirit, and generosity.

These days are the best school days. The opportunity to meet people like Leonard, delight in learning, wonder at God's creation, and come to know our host culture better make all the preparation worth it.

1 comment:

Kristie said...

This is amazing! Looks like a bee-autiful day indeed. So fascinating how he builds the hives by hand, totally different than they do in the US. I would have loved to go on that "field trip". Bees are so fascinating. Thanks for sharing.