Saturday, October 22, 2011

Since arriving in country I've found it rare to be outdoors, somewhere beautiful & silent, and by myself. Though short-lived, it's a pleasure to drop one's self perception as a guest in a foreign land. For me, this phenomenon occurs outdoors looking over hills and valleys more often than not. The photo above was taken from Kundi mountain looking west, towards Gambela, overlooking farmlands, eucalyptus trees and one of the largest tea plantations in country. I was told that during their occupation years ago, the Italians had a fort on Kundi to serve as a military vantage point. Today, the stone walls and foundations can still be seen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Many traditionally crafted bee hives in Ethiopia are hung in trees, are tubular, and made from dry grasses and sticks. They are often inexpensive to make and require little skill or equipment to produce bee products. The transitional hive (aka Kenyan top bar hive), on the other hand, offers bee keepers greater quanties of honey and other bee products, allows easy inspection of the bee colony's health, allows honey to be harvested without the total destruction of the bee colony, and, like the traditional hive, can be made of local materials. Recently a fellow PCV and I transfered bees from a tradinoal hive to a 'transitional' one. The photo above is of a farmer gently lowering his traditional hive to the ground so we could transfer the colony to a more productive environment. The transitional hive, instead of being hung in a tree, is much more accescable, as seen in the photo directly above. Today I checked the hive to see if the bees were still present and was happy to find they were... and they were really busy! The farmers and the agriculture extension worker I work with suggested ant protection so I looked up some natural remedies online, which led me to crushing up hot peppers and eucalyptus leaves and piling them around the legs of the hive platform- we'll be experimenting with ant deterents... A week from now, after we perform a hive check we'll see just how adaptive these bees are.