“My father was a bee keeper. When he harvested, as children, we would eat honey. That sweetness made me love bee keeping. Then I started putting my own hives besides his. I remember the first harvest from my own hives, my father said it should be sold. The honey was sold and my father used that money to buy for me a pair of shorts and paid my fees. I was very happy. That experience remained in my mind and when I grew up, I got motivated to do bee keeping.”
The Life as Beekeeper
Who belongs to your family / who is living with you?
My name is Samuel. I have been doing God’s work. I have now retired. I am in Oluko Sub-county with 68 colonies. I have now benefitted from bee keeping for over 50years. I am married with children. Some of them are here with me, but some of them are now out.
How has beekeeping changed your life?
I have been in bee keeping for over 50 years now. Every year, I harvest a lot of honey and I earn millions of shillings. Generally, it has been my biggest source of income. It has greatly supported my family in paying school fees for children and many other things. I had a setback for the last two years because I was involved in an accident. But now, I have recovered and I am going to concentrate on the project to increase production.
How do you provide a good environment for your bees?
As you can see, this place is rocky and during dry season there is no water for the bees, they suffer a lot. However, I have now addressed that challenge by digging a pond. That will help them greatly. I have also started fencing the place so that they are not disturbed by animals. I also have a plan to plant more trees so that they get enough forage.
What do trees mean to you and how can they be protected?
Trees are very important to everybody. For example, in this rocky place, if tree leaves fall, they decompose and make the place fertile. When you dig that area, you get good yield. When we had many trees, the weather used to be good. I remember we used to get rains in January, then we would get rains in February and another in March.
But these rains are no more because people have cut the big trees as firewood, charcoal, others to go and cure tobacco etc…. the land now degraded. Trees also help with fresh air. I see we are now suffering, even the world. This disease, that etc, ohhh corona etc. These are because we don’t have clean air to breathe.
The environment in contaminated. This is our problem now. I have my approach to protecting the trees in my land. First I have already informed the local authorities about my project, that I don’t want felling of trees in my land. Secondly, I am here now to keep checking. As for women looking for firewood, if they cut my trees, I don’t punish them, but instead I report them to the authorities and the punishment I ask to be given to such a person is to make them plant 5 trees to replace what they have cut. That is the punishment I have prescribed and that will go until I die.
What is the most important thing in your life?
The first and most important thing in my life is to honor God. Secondly, to take good care of myself through good feeding. And of all foods, I find honey the most important– it beats all other foods in value;…..that these ones give protein, or is it vitamins etc, etc, because bees collect various products and make a healthy product. For example, I am now 73yrs old, now and if you go and look at my age mates ……haaaaa….. many of them are finished.
What are your biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?
My biggest challenge regarding this project is that I don’t have sufficient capital to increase this project. I wanted to increase my capacity for production so I can improve my livelihood. That would give better support to my family and help my children to study.
What do you like to do in your free time?
During my free time, I bathe and take a rest to refresh my mind. Sometimes I revise some things regarding bee keeping so I refresh my knowledge on bee keeping. Other times I go and meet friends with whom we can share ideas about bee keeping.
Which place would you like to see once?
If God gave me extra years, I would really want to reach America. Because people talk big about America, that America does this, America does that. I wanted to know what people do there in America and how do they do it.