“I was a teacher. After some time, I left teaching and decided to join local government as a sub-county chief. I was promoted to work in the Administration sector, but again I went back as a sub-county chief because I liked that work so much. When I was about to retire, I asked myself on what will support me when I go home. At that time, they were giving out bee keeping equipment to farmer beneficiaries. So, I said, let me benefit from this project also. So, I received 10 hives. So, by the time I retired, I had those hives, and they were doing well. And you know if you are a pensioner, things can be hard. But I knew that since bees work for themselves, it would help me. That is where I started.“
The Life as Beekeeper
Who belongs to your family / who is living with you?
I am Yuma and I am married, now for over 50 years. I have 6 children, some of them are now working and they are out. But right now, we are about 6 in the home, including some grandchildren.
How has beekeeping changed your life?
… bee keeping has benefits. It is seasonal, but when we harvest the honey, usually around January –March, when there is no money and there is a lot of demand for cash. So, we bring it to you. Yes, it helps you get some money. Sometimes I would use some of the money to pay school fees, to pay the loan we got from you and to support the family …..these are the benefits, and some of it for home consumption. Yes, it has changed my life
How do you provide a good environment for your bees?
….my hives were somewhere, but people would remove the tops etc. But again, that place is now being cultivated, So, I decided to bring them near. I then sensitized my children not to play with them. So now, they are safe here. And what I did was to plant some trees for them, like these coffee and mango trees and orange trees. I have some few banana plants around etc. That is how I help them.
What do trees mean to you and how can they be protected?
Trees are important. Like now, they help provide food for my bees etc. Even here as cool shade. So, trees mean a lot. These trees now comfort me……
What is the most important thing in your life?
The thing I value most in my life is education. When you are not educated, you can’t see far.
Without education, you can’t see these things. Without education, you tend to focus on your village, you will be jealous etc. The other thing I value most is hard work, so that you earn and avoid being dependent. I also value projects, because they help a lot.
What are your biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?
There are challenges, especially in this bee keeping project. First, the hives I got are now old. It is the hives I got from Honey pride that are now helping me. But some of the challenges include low colonization. And the season, I think that affects the colonization also. So these are the challenges. To overcome this, the only way is to get money and invest in the project so that it grows and brings that more.
What do you like to do in your free time?
After leaving active service… I enjoy being in community service. And because of that, one time I got involved in drafting the constitution of our tribe – Ayivu. We did that successfully. After that, they said please take care of this constitution as an Interim Cultural Chief of Ayivu. That I did. Then they decided and elected me as the cultural chief of Ayivu. So, I am now helping the community in cultural issues, so I am always busy….
Which place would you like to see once?
The place I really wanted to reach is Europe. For example, the Whites talk about bee keeping, farming and so on. I wanted to see whether they also keep bees. I wanted to go to Germany or England. I reached Singapore by the way, but it was a religious trip.