WHY THIS PROJECT
In 2020, I bought a hive box, a bee suit, a centrifuge for honey collecting, and a smoker. Below some banana trees in my garden in Rwanda, I set up the box in anticipation of the arrival of honey bees. I waited for apis mellifera, the Western honeybee native to East Africa to arrive. I waited. Still waited. After a year, I eventually I put the still-empty box hive into the garage and the bee suit into the closet.
Another year passed, until a friend and neighbor had a wild swarm of honeybees show up in her compost bin. With a dusting off of the suit and a review of some YouTube videos about how to capture a swarm, I soon had a box of wild honeybees in the back of my truck. But, in a rookie move, I had missed the queen.
In trying to find resources in Rwanda to help me salvage this colony, the gap between my western understanding and the local approaches to beekeeping was stark. That experience led me to further explore how beekeeping and hive management is both a biological and cultural practice, varying community-by-community, based on bee biology and local environmental factors, access to information, access to resources, and cultural beliefs.
ABOUT THIS SITE
This site documents my connecting with communities of beekeepers, honeyhunters, and bee lovers around the globe.
From banana leaf hives in Rwanda, to clay pots in Sri Lanka, stingless bees in Chiapas, and karakovan "black hives" in Turkey, I'm exploring the ways in which hive management varies.
The goal is to highlight how communities can both celebrate and preserve traditional knowledge, while also promoting bee-friendly practices. This blog is a small contribution to the conversation about honoring indigenous practices balanced with eco-innovation.
Originally from the US, I've lived in Rwanda for 9 years as co-founder and COO of African Entrepreneur Collective - a business accelerator and debt fund for refugee entrepreneurs in Rwanda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. We've supported 30,000 entrepreneurs to improve their lives through running better businesses. Prior, I worked for an impact investor in Mumbai, and have taught social enterprise innovation from Monterey, CA to Mozambique. I have an MBA from Oxford, an undergraduate degree in African literature, and am a 2015 Echoing Green Fellow for Global Social Enterprise.
I am a Master Beekeeper Apprentice through Oregon State University.