Empowering HIV/AIDS orphaned children in Africa to a self sustainable future

Catherine Koch

Catherine Koch

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

Angela, of Bee World Project, shares her second guest blog with us..


March 1 – Angela’s first contribution to LITA’s blog can be read HERE ~

March 17 – Lessons from Bluey while on a journey of love and beekeeping…

One of the main things I enjoyed while being in Uganda was that even though we were busy and had a timeline to follow I was relaxed in order to let things flow naturally.  From the time I put myself on the airplane to touching down on the red soil in Entebbe, I consciously practiced being more present in my moments. I welcomed spontaneity and moved happily and steadily on through the journey.

As I drove along in lil’ Bluey with Catherine, I felt enlightened ‘beyond’ the framework of a linear timeline.  I thought of the words my mentor has said to me in the past… “slow it down so you reflect as human ‘be-ing’ versus human ‘do-ing’.”

The result of my mindful efforts was that everywhere we traveled on this journey I felt a synchronicity. Moments seem to connect in meanings, through love and beekeeping.  I

truly witnessed unimaginable beauty and potential as we rolled along.

Take for example our visit to Sironko district and in particular, Budadiri.  Up, up in the hills we traveled, for a couple of hours, bumping along on the winding earthen road, with vistas of Mt. Elgon becoming closer and closer.  People we passed by genuinely smiled and waved at us as we went in a dust-covered Bluey.  Upon reaching our destination, where the beekeeping teaching was to begin the next day, we were informed that many of the beekeepers and farmers had already arrived – one day early. So, our wonderful and flexible teacher ‘Conrad’ suggested we embrace the opportunity to do some participant introductions.

I have to say, the introductions are my favorite part of the program.  I love to learn about the folks enrolled in our program; their lives, their stories and their dreams.  We met about a dozen of the beekeepers as the neighborhood children poked their heads around the corners where we met.  One gentleman in this group in particular stood out for me.  With a big warm smile on his face, he stood tall and strong as he spoke about being a nursing assistant, the medicinal value of honey in the community, and the value of bees as a ‘protective measure’ in farming.  He went on to say

Budadiri Beekeeping Classroom: Conrad (beige pants) begins introductions.

that as a single father with orphans, beekeeping will provide him the much needed income to help raise his children.  I found his story, and so many others as well, so inspirational.

Later, when we returned to get settled into Rose’s Last Chance, a welcoming and peaceful guesthouse where we were staying, that same man was there.  Mama Rose, the owner of the guesthouse, provides many visitors and trekkers with hearty meals and comfortable accommodation before or after spectacular treks into Mount Elgon National Park.  Rose’s Last Chance is the ‘last chance’ in the area to receive a comfy bed, prepared

Angela and Mama Rose pose for a picture. Catherine and Bluey in the background, ready for the next adventure…

meals, and a mostly hot shower.  Unfortunately, about a year ago Rose’s was targeted by robbers who ransacked visitor’s belongings looking for money and items of value.  Even our dear Catherine lost cash and two donated used cameras destined for orphaned children projects.  Having never happened before, this was a very disturbing and unusual occurrence at Rose’s.  Even though Rose now had security outside her compound entrance, this kind man had decided he was going to camp outside our fully-secure rooms to ensure our safety.

Arriving at Rose’s you feel engulfed in beauty. Bamboo trees that are filled with song birds surround the compound and sway in the breeze making a rhythmic, swishy kind of sound.  As I sat in Rose’s restaurant area, enjoying the scenery and sounds, I learned more about this kind man who sat with us.  He had been widowed for a couple years now, caring for 6 children left in his care with the help of his mother. Catherine knew him well as LITA had recently supported him and his family, in order to help them get back on their feet.  LITA had rented shelter for them to stay in,

Lush gardens at Rose’s Last Chance.

and also provided them with home basics, clothing and money for food.  Catherine shared with me that this man’s home in the mountains was destroyed in December 2013 by  hooligans from a neighboring community. In a moment of ‘mob justice’ that did not involve him but got way out of control and crossed through his land, his home had been looted and burned down, his coffee plants and tomato crops slashed, and the only area that remained untouched and not destroyed was the area that his bees hives had occupied.  When this was happening his mother fled with his young children and hid in amongst the beehives, as they watched their home and future income being destroyed.  Now, after all he had been through in the last few months, he was here, sitting across from us, staying where we were, to ensure our safety.   I looked on feeling grateful for the kindness of this man, for LITA and Bee World Project as he and Catherine spoke about plans for farming, about the future and his children, and now about his goals for growing his beekeeping enterprise.

This is a perfect example of the so many things that Catherine and Bluey do on a day-to-day basis.  Driving up, up into the hills to connect with individuals like this man who need support. Catherine and LITA’s role often takes them down a path ( and sometimes a road) not planned nor previously identified – yet that path is so necessary for those that Catherine is engaging with.  For me, this is the way that help should be provided and this is what is so beautiful about Catherine and LITA’s work. I am reminded that, where there is love there is always time.

In the North American world I live in, objectives and results are so often attached to every action that we expect things to happen so quickly.  I am reminded that it is the path that is the reward, and that the beginning and the destination are important, but mostly as they relate to a linear timeline.  Time has become something that there is never enough of and this I think is mostly a reflection of our collective consciousness.  I invite you to join with me and reclaim a little more time back into your moments and into our lives.

~ To bee continued… ~ Angela ~ Bee World Project

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Angela, Catherine, Conrad (Bee World Project beekeeping expert teacher) and beekeeper, Isaac (left – right).

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