Beekeeping workshop inspires entrepeneurial thoughts

Written by Alice Adhiambo, HHFL high school graduate, November 2010

The HHFL school holiday programs are getting better and better. For me, the addition of a beekeeping workshop offered by the National Beekeeping Center was the icing on the cake. The list of hopeful participants for this one-week workshop far exceeded the available capacity. To my delight I was one of the lucky 14 chosen participants.

The first two days were spent in the classroom learning about these very interesting and absolutely essential little insects to our ecosystem. We learned the difference between bee types and the function of a bee colony. It was a most interesting and a wonderful experience as before, we were afraid of bees as we thought of them only as stinging little pests!

The second part of the classroom teaching was about the creation and management of an apiary. We found the entire concept fascinating and could not wait to get into the woods to witness the “miracle” of honey production for ourselves.

We all donned protective gear and marched into the woods in search of the “apiary”. This was truly awesome to us and we were salivating with anticipation. I have to confess that the thought of getting our hands on this delicious delicacy made our mouths water! You see, we do not get luxuries like these often. But first, we realized we were expected to harvest the honey and for this we had to get close and personal with the bees that we feared. Some of us got stung for sure, but with the guidance of our teacher and the help of the smoking torches we managed to harvest 18kgs of honey! This apparently is a remarkable amount for a starter group. Even the head of the station was surprised and congratulated us. As a prize and to our delight, we got to sample our take immediately. It was divine, delicious and totally extravagant as we were allowed to eat honey by the spoon full.

Then came the complicated part, the processing room. It was hard, but after a while we understood the concept and were able to help with the processing, bottling and making of the various products. We learned that honey is wonderful medicine as it has antibiotic properties. We helped make a cold remedy, which the ones amongst us with colds and coughs got to sample, regaining our health immediately! Then to our further amazement, we learned that the beeswax is used to make a range of wonderful and very useful products. We made lovely candles and a nice body lotion, which we got to take home.

Maybe I too can make luxurious health and body products from beeswax and sell them one day? Hmm.

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