Project in Senegal, Africa
By Lady Spirit Moon
As a Certified Beekeeper and owner of BEe Healing Apiary, I came upon Jean Cheikh Ndiaye and his friend, Ousmane Faye, through TECA, an Apimondia beekeeping forum. The original purpose of the relationship was to exchange beekeeping ideas, apitherapy knowledge, and anything and everything for the sake of biodiversity. French is the main language of the area, but English-speaking Jean is the one who now communicates with me through emails and Skype.
Over the summer Ousmane spoke of using cement for the hives because wood and aluminum are very expensive in Africa when working with Apis Mellifera. Cement is nearly half the cost and more durable during the rainy season, which runs from June to October. Intrigued by the idea of cement hives, I offered the fellows a $100 grant (came out to about $96 in Africa) toward making 30 cement hives.
They create their hives one at time by taking the gabarit with them the long distance to the Kébémer city where they set up their operation to make the hives on the spot, rather than transport the cement boxes and risking damage.
Late summer I mentioned I needed help in my apiaries in 2012. Jean asked if he could come to the USA to learn beekeeping. When I remembered him telling me he didn’t know what a swarm or a split was, I tentatively jumped at the idea. The Center for Honeybee Research wants to teach Natural Beekeeping to the world, especially to all the farmers. As Ambassador for the Center, I thought this was a great opportunity for everyone.
Jean had other commitments, but his brother Andre planned to be at BEe Healing Apiary from mid-February through August, 2012, to learn Natural Beekeeping, apitherapy, and herbology. Andre has studied Biology at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, known as Dakar University. After Jean received his passport violence broke out because of the presidential election and no one was allowed to leave the country. If and when Jean arrives, we will help with part of his plane ticket, provide room/board, and pay a small monthly stipend in exchange for 20-30 hours a week of labor.
There are two goals to accomplish with this project:
- Teach Natural Beekeeping everywhere we can, to help the honeybees survive and sustain without treatments.
- Start an International Beekeeping Student program for the Center. The Center also plans on using BEe Healing Apiary for research/studies, allowing the interns first-hand experience at learning how to figure percentages of Varroa in each hive and how to test for the hives’ hygienic behavior, among other things.
If Andre completes his internship, he will go back and help build their business to 100 hives. We will be with them on the first leg of their journey through emails and Skype. After getting his business off the ground, it is our hope he teaches others Natural Beekeeping through workshops.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to assist in this effort, BEe Healing Org. is accepting donations through http://beehealing.org/buzz.html. There is a donate button most of the way down that page.