“I have now kept bees for the last three years. Initially, we were using local hives until when we heard about the equipment lease loan programme Honey Pride was offering. What really motivated me was that I went in the project as a helper. We had a neighbor who was a disabled person. Unfortunately, this man has passed on. He was the one keeping a few hives. And whenever it was harvest time, this man would come to me and ask me to go and help him to harvest. Because he was disabled, I would not refuse. I would harvest a lot of honey. The man would sell the honey and I realized he was getting a lot of money. One day I asked myself why I cannot do this. And the man said if I was interested, we could work together. That is how I joined beekeeping.

So, from that day, I have got encouraged to increase the number of my hives.”

The Life as Beekeeper

Who belongs to your family / who is living with you?

My name is Okumu Albert. I come from Rhino Camp sub-county. I am married with children. At home, we are about 7 people in my family including one dependent.

How has beekeeping changed your life?

There are times when it would be hard to get money, especially during the dry season. And that is usually when honey comes to rescue you. So, when I harvest, I get some reasonable money. For the last three years, I have been able to support two of my children who are in private school with school fees. Some of the money is used to hire labour to cultivate the fields and sometimes you get basic essentials out of it.

How do you provide a good environment for your bees?

When we identified this site, we first cleared it. The site is good because it has enough shade and it has many trees. So, what we do is to make sure it is always clean. During the dry season, we provide water for the bees. We also used to provide flour during dry season, but this time it is not possible. The price of cassava flour has increased, so human beings first.

What do trees mean to you and how can they be protected?

Trees are useful. Like this site we have selected, you will realize it is useful for bees. There are different species of trees here, so these help bees for food. Trees are very important to humans also. Only that there is no support. If there was support, it is important that we plant more trees. So, we protect these ones. We don’t allow them to be cut.

What is the most important thing in your life?

The most important thing in my life is my family. I value my family a lot and I would want them to live a good life in future.

What are your biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?

We have challenges in life. For those of us who try to do small businesses, it is tough. Raising working capital for garden work, supporting the family, school fees etc, it is hard. So, generally we have those challenges. Overcoming these challenges is equally hard. The means to raise money are limited, so we continue to struggle. You get little money here, another little money there, say, like from selling honey or from the small business. You save some of it to help in other areas. But if we could get some support for other projects, that would help us address some of these challenges.

What do you like to do in your free time?

When I am done with garden work at around 11am, I come home for a rest, then I go by the road side to attend to my small business so I can raise some money to support the family. That is how my day goes on.

Which place would you like to see once?

If there was opportunity to travel, I would, because I like to travel. But I would like to travel to a place in my business line. Whichever place that would be, I don’t mind.

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