Thursday, April 24, 2014
First honey harvest!
Posted: 22 Apr 2014 06:32 AM PDT
Last year while walking through The Garden of Eden, I happened to see and film a swarm of bees move in to one of my empty hives. The video is in a post titled A home for a Swarm and is a post from August. Yesterday, Alexander and I harvested honey from those bees. It was our first harvest and the end result was 25 pounds of honey! Not bad for a first harvest.
It is always fun and exciting to harvest, and the bees where not as aggressive as the ones in Congo. I was testing out a new bee suit design made from local materials, and by a local tailor. I came away with multiple stings on my body and face. I think the suit needs some modifications before it goes in to combat again.
There are still some kinks to work out, and problems to solve, but I hope this harvest shows that beekeeping is possible and worth it. Last week I had another swarm move in to another empty hive.
We use the Kenya Top bar hive here. A few months ago Alexander and I moved the bees from the small hive they moved in to, in to a larger full size hive.
I worked one end of the hive so Alexander could see how it is done. The kind of hives we have often have honey at both ends and larva in the middle. It was really fun pulling out all that honey with the sun shining on and through it.
Alexander worked the other end, and did a great job.
Alexander and I squeezing the honey out of the honey comb and through a cloth.
Small plastic coke bottles are quite common around here. I have been collecting them for just this occasion.
The label still needs some work, but as of right now it is Anzere aho, Mafuta ti awotoro. Mafuta ti awotoro is honey in the Sango language. Anzere aho is hard to translate exactly, but is something like 'better than anything else'. The phrase is used quite a bit in Sango. Below that is a reference to Psalm 119:103, which says, �How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!� NIV.
The final product! Each one of these bottles sells for about 1000 Central African Franks, or $2 in the market. I don't think any of these will make it to market though. : )
I have to leave CAR for a while since all the missionaries here at Gamboula have left or are leaving tomorrow. I hope to be able to return with Danforths, but until then, I will be finding things to do in Cameroon.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Photos from the week 4/13/2014
Posted: 19 Apr 2014 10:11 PM PDT
This big fellow was outside under the porch light one night.
There are so many mangoes this year that large branches are braking under their weight.
When work requires it I get to drive this jeep around. It has real personality and is
fun to drive most of the time.
This Tuesday I met a guy named Ron from South Africa. He is taking two and a half years and going through a bit of every African country on mainland Africa, and parts of Europe! Starting in Cape Town 10 months ago, he hopes to end up in London in September of 2015. Oh, and he is doing it all on his bike!
Gamboula was to be his first stop in CAR, so I rode my bike down to the border, helped him get across, and rode with him to Gamboula. It was more of a rest day for him since he was only coming about 15 Kilometers, so I showed him the sights of Gamboula. Wednesday morning he was going to head further into CAR and out the southern border. After gathering reports about the last day and night, we deemed it unsafe to travel any further East or south, and planed a new route.
I rode with him for about an hour to a nearby river, before saying goodbye and returning to Gamboula. It was fun to be just a very small part of this much bigger adventure.
Ron�s Blog is fatkidonabike.com if anyone wants to follow his progress across Africa.
Photos from the week 4/6/2014
Posted: 12 Apr 2014 11:35 PM PDT
This week was the first time since arriving in Central African
Republic I have been able to leave Gamboula to visit another village.
Bapo is a few kilometers from here, and has a farming cooperative.
After seeing their fields of improved varieties of manioc, fish ponds
and fruit trees, we saw a harvest of tomatoes, and beans.
One of the healthy looking kids there had spent months in the nutrition center
with malnutrition. His family's diet now includes vegetables, beans,
There are a lot of flowers blooming these days. Pajama lilies are
quite common in the grass land, and always fun to see.
Another find was a small dark purple stinky flower in the Arum family.
We have not seen the big eatable flying termites this rainy season
yet, but the small ones have come out in force.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Photos from the week 3/30/2014
Posted: 05 Apr 2014 10:30 AM PDT
Since the rains have come, everyone is doing a lot of planting.
There are teams that go out to plant in the mornings. This team is planting a variety of peanut that is a good producer. We are multiplying it out at Somongue, so we can distribute more seed for next growing season.
Nyebe Roy is the favorite kind of bean here. Not many people have it yet, so like the peanuts, we are planting fields of it to multiply out seed.
This is a pin cushion fruit or nauclea esculenta. It is a Central African native fruit. The spikes sticking out of those little holes are the flower buds.
For the next year I will be taking care of Crew the African Gray parrot. One of the missionary couples here is heading back to the States soon for their furlough, and are letting me sit it.