Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

Noloholo, Day 32: Honey Harvesting

The sun is setting in its usual glories, and we have several large slabs of honeycomb sitting on the table in the classroom. Today the Hadza led all of the summer camp attendees to the tree where bees had made their hive. They cut a big hole with a hatchet and then reached up (no doubt being stung viciously the whole time) to pull out the combs. This was a good example of why “modern” beekeeping – that is, cultivating honey rather than simply gathering it – is so much better for the bee colonies. On the combs that we gathered, little bee larvae are starting to climb out, while some drowsy and confused bees meander about. In modern methods, you have boxes for the hives so trees don’t need to be chopped at, and you control your offtake so the bee colonies don’t collapse. This particular one probably won’t collapse, as there were more combs further up in the tree trunk. Still, the whole process made bee-box beekeeping look like a walk in the park. Most traditional hunter-gatherer groups, including the Hadza and Dorobo, won’t kill a tree to reach the honey. But more aggressive commercial honey gatherers will in fact cut the whole tree down just to reach the combs inside.

In the morning the kids had a honey-making activity, where Neo dressed up like a bee before putting the costume on a child, having them be dusted with pollen (flour), drink up some nectar (Coca-Cola) and then harvest honey (spit honey into cups arranged like a comb). It was very cute.

The girls are adorable and love to hold hands while we walk and talk, whether it’s coming back from dinner or going on our hike this afternoon. Especially the youngest scholar, Susannah (form 1 = grade 7), who is shy about her English but extremely kind-hearted. All four of the scholars practice their English with us, and I try to give them gentle corrections when I can…but I know they are mostly working on speaking with no Swahili accent.

I woke up several times last night to see the moon’s bright face lighting the trees around me. Its traverse is lengthy these days, for it is full from long before sunset until after sunrise. And yet our last full moon barely rose at all. There is something strange about the moon cycles out here; the moonrise and set shift by nearly an hour every day. Can anyone explain to me why the shift in moonrise/moonset is so much more pronounced here than in the US? Or am I hallucinating and the shift is the same here as it is there?
Tags: travel - tanzania

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