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!
He pulled out a honey comb to show us.
We were allowed to taste the honey and the honeycomb.
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.