Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Bakassouck Youths Bee Project Update

You may remember that last time I was here I wrote about the bee project being organised by the Bakassouck Youths Association. I was really interested to find out how the project is going, so Numo agreed to take me to Darsilami for the day to show me the hives and the area where they want to set up the training school.

I have never been to Darsilami before, although we have relatives who live there, and I have heard a lot about it. However, getting there by public transport is not easy as it's very remote – in fact, it is right on the border with Senegal, and the border is marked by a stick in the ground! We had to make an early start, walking to Gunjur, where we waited for a while to catch the gelli-gelli to Siffoe, the nearest village to Darsilami on the main road to Brikama. Once we reached Siffoe, we set off walking to Darsilami, a brisk walk of about two hours through the 'bush'. On the way we crossed over the most beautiful river, with lots of birdlife including pelicans and bee-eaters.
The road to Darsilami

The river on the way to Darsilami

Whilst I was at Darsilami, I was able to see the bee hives, most of which are now occupied. 

One of the beehives

Numo and a friend showing me how the hives are constructed

This is the entrance to the hive

You can see the honeycombs hanging down from the wooden sticks
The area where the hives are situated has to be shady

Then we walked through a very narrow path with vegetation reaching up over my head, to get to the field where they had been growing sesame to sell for a profit. Several of the young people had arrived to help with the harvesting, and a few children came along and joined in as well. However it was in the hot sun with no shade, so I wasn't able to help much – instead I did my usual trick of taking photos! The sesame was piled in a stack on top of a huge palm leaf to catch the seeds as they fell, and they agreed to come back the following week to collect the seeds.

Stacking the sesame stalks for drying

Harvesting the sesame

The seeds are already starting to fall on the palm leaf

The alkalo (village leader), of Darsilami has promised the group they can extend the field, and also they can have some land in the village for building their training centre. The group has already visited several other youth groups to train them in how to care for bees and make the products, but they have only charged expenses, not a fee for the actual training – they are keen to help other groups as much as possible.

That day the president and vice-president of the group had gone upriver to a national youth conference, which I later saw on the TV news, and from that conference came a very exciting development! The reps took some of their soaps, body creams and lip salves with them, and when the government minister for Youth & Sport saw them he was so impressed he wanted to come and see how the project was run. So a date was fixed for him to come and visit Darsilami to see for himself.

I had a great day at Darsilami, visiting friends and relatives as well as seeing how the bee project was running. In my next post I will tell you all about the minister's visit!

No comments:

Post a Comment