Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Winter in Village

We are now experiencing the ‘winter’ weather that was present upon our arrival to Gambia, and we are enjoying it for sure!  We have officially lived here for one year and are right at our mid-service point, which is also exciting. Right now in village our people are busy harvesting and drying their coos, and we are eating oranges off the tree.  In the past 2 weeks, we’ve had 3 football games against neighboring villages with discos following the games that last until about 3 am; which frankly, is too much.  Ben has resumed his career as Berefet goalkeeper, no worries.  We’ve also had a couple of naming ceremonies as well, one of which also had a disco – I guess winter time is also disco time here in the booming cosmopolitan of Berefet.

Sibou and Yaya's winter gear

Palm collecter

We’ve been kept busy with bee work as well as tie and dye making.  We’ve had a good amount of bees colonized recently which means come April we will have lots of honey to harvest! Bee keeping in Africa is different in the sense that you try to catch wild swarms rather than buy or divide existing hives like in America. You ‘catch’ the wild swarms by putting out boxes with wax or good smelling things that the bees will be attracted to and then want to remain in your box.  This past week we had 4 swarms on the sides of our boxes! Joerge, an industrial beekeeper from Spain who came this past week, was really impressed by this.  He came to teach Luis how to rear queens but told him that we have so many bees there is no need to rear queens.  Right now is the flow period for the bees, which means their building up their homes, foraging lots and starting to make honey.  It also means that this is the peak time to catch swarms and we are definitely seeing that now.
The tie and dye kafoo recently did another job and are making a decent profit with Ben’s guidance.  He’s been thinking and discussing with Solo the groups possibilities for spending the money and came up with a great idea to have the women open a shop.  This would be great because there is only one shop owner in our village, and our women owning their own shop would be so beneficial to them!  I’ve been looking at a couple different school gardens, as well as our women’s gardens and giving tips and making plans for when we return as well.
Tie & Dyein


Ben and Jeorge bee keeping

Finished fabric!

Musu Gitteh, head of tie & dye operation

Swarm of bees! Jeorge and Ben

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