Bee Blessed – Part One

Verna, along with ‘Isaac the bee keeper’s’ Mama, in Wampiti, under her incredible orange tree!

I boarded the great big Elgon Flyer bus in Kampala yesterday on my way back to Mbale, the final leg of a very busy and very fun week here! Rising at 5:45am and hopping a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) from Red Chili to the terminal, I was happy to find a window seat, pretty close to the front, still available. The surprisingly on-time 7am departure saw us clumsily weaving our way around traffic circles through downtown, past the many women sweeping sidewalks and curbs, and out on to the open road, all rather rapidly. When the early morning sun peeked above the one storey iron sheet roof tops lining the road, it found me eyes closed, tucked up against the window, nestled into my travel pillow. The golden rays nourished me, I know I smiled,  and I realized that I felt like I was on my way home.

I traveled the opposite direction last Thursday in preparation to greet John, master bee keeper and owner of Honey Bee Center in Surrey, BC, Canada, and his wife, Verna, at Entebbe airport on Saturday morning. They were the first of 5 to be arriving from “Bee World Project”, BWP, coming all this way from Canada, via Zambia, en-route to Ethiopia, to check out the viability of a few different bee keeping projects that have asked for consideration, training and funding from BWP, here in Uganda, and in the other African countries as well.

With John, Bee World Project’s master bee keeper and members of the Wampiti Bee Keepers Association

Bee World Project first connected with LITA several weeks ago, asking Love Is The Answer, in our capacity as a Canadian registered charity already established and working here on the ground, about the possibility of partnering in Uganda. (We’re still to be added to their website, so you won’t find mention of LITA there quite yet, just like we need to add Bee World to ours!.. but please, visit and check out Bee World Project’s work and model here!)

Wow, what a tremendous opportunity for all who could potentially benefit by becoming involved.. villagers, caregivers, orphaned children, the community, the bees, the environment.. and in so many ways.. knowledge, nutrition, health, sustainability, income.. etc!

LITA was and is excited and very grateful to bee considered to assist on this project, and while we’re at it, would like to extend heart felt thanks to Rachel ‘R2’ at Tides Canada, for recommending us to Bee World Project, too!

Isaac, founder of Wampiti Bee Keepers Association in Uganda, and his treasured friend, John, master bee keeper of Bee World Project and the owner of Honey Bee Center just outside of Vancouver, in Canada

My arrival in Uganda at end September was purposefully arranged for that time so that I could be exactly where I was headed last Saturday, to welcome John and Verna to Uganda!

Vincent, from ACIO in Sironko, joined me in Kampala on Friday and was with me as we all hit the ground running from Entebbe and headed straight for Wampiti, the bee keeping operation I visited the day I arrived in Uganda (see my earlier journal entry). Along with Isaac, the local founder of the group, we spent about 10 hours on the round trip. For 3 of those hours we visited local bee keepers, looked at existing bee hives, were introduced to and discussed project potentials, and took tea.. and the balance, the other 7 hours, we drove.

At Ssenge, Jane, her daughter Steph and their husband/dad “Shlomo the Clown” join John, Verna and excited members of the community to discuss the possibility of a bee keeping project in their village.

Back at Red Chilli with full tummies and ear plugs in place, we all settled in for a night’s rest before Vincent and I would head back to Entebbe to meet 3 more members of the BWP team, one of them a clown named “Shlomo”..! arriving just after noon on Sunday.

Again, straight from the airport, we headed to a bee keeping project, this time in Ssenge, just outside of Kampala where we hooked up with John and Verna, who opted to taxi it there directly from Chilli, in order to miss the heavy traffic, road closures, motorcade delays, and sickly, thickly diesel fumed air all along Entebbe road.. all extra rich this past weekend, as the country approached their 50th year celebration of  “Independence Day” on Tuesday, October 9th.

A group of the children listening alongside our public meeting at Ssenge who may be among those to benefit by a Bee World Project in their community. They were so delighted to receive a sticker on their hands from “Shlomo the Clown” following all the discussions!

Following Ssenge’s meet up, it was late Sunday afternoon and we had a group choice to make. Do we push through and drive the 6 hour journey, most of it in the dark, from where we were in Ssenge to Mbale, or, do we night over at Red Chilli and head out very early in the morning?

Our friend and ‘special hire’ driver, Fred.. in front of our transportation for 3 days and many kilometers straight.. well, actually, rather twisty and curvey and bouncy ones, in fact!

“Well, I’m as fresh as a flower!” said Shlomo, and everyone else agreed.. so..

.. in his rather laid back style full of quiet authority if you don’t count the horn, and with the confidence and experience that driving the Cairo to Capetown road gives one, our driver Fred, carved out our space in the slow moving traffic, and pushed us onward, threading us, even quite delicately at times, through all those others trying their best to exit east out of Kampala on Sunday evening.

Fred said we’d all be heading to sleep in Mbale by midnight..

More coming in Part Two..

With Love, Catherine

 

 

 

About Catherine Koch

Founder and President of Love Is The Answer, a Canadian registered charity serving orphaned children in Africa.
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