Uganda Honey

Honey in its purest

Otino-Waa, Our Children…………………….

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Karl and Arleen at Otino-Waa Bee Center

Development of the beekeeping resource centre at Timothy Centre is underway. In order for Karl and Arleen to have a better understanding on how the resource centre is going to be, I brought them to Otino-Waa in Lira. 4 years ago we did a honey farming project with this orphanage and the project was successfully implemented. Today Otino-Waa is producing EU quality honey for the market. Otino-Waa in Luo, means “Our Children”. The orphanage is run by an American couple, Bob and Carol Higgins, that has painstakenly built from ground zero a couple of years back. Now the place has turned into a haven for these lost children.

When I first met Bob and Carol 5 years ago, they came to my house with 12 kids aged between 14 to 17 and they wanted to learn how to start an apiary so that they can have honey produced from their own farm. We had a 6 days “Introduction to beekeeping” course which saw the children learning how to set up an apiary and getting acquainted with the bees. Of course there is Douglas, a 40 years old Ugandan who will be basically be in charge of these children when comes to the real management of the bee project in Otino-Waa. The orphanage now has 250 orphans from different parts of Northern Uganda. Some were rescued from the jungle when they were abducted by the “Lord Resistance Army” while others had lost both their parents from AIDS. There are some who were abandoned by young parents who left them at the hospitals or police stations.

Gift shop at Otino-Waa Orphanage,

Gift shop at Otino-Waa Orphanage,

Bob and Carol did a great job transforming these children from street kids and urchins into fine young boys and girls. The girls are learning home economics and tailoring while the boys embark on carpentry and catering and beekeeping.

Great effort were made by Carol to teach the children to be independent and self-reliant. This gift shop has become a talking piece in Lira. Most of the gifts, art and crafts were done by the orphans. Not forgetting the bee centre, The boys had harvested honey from the farm and were sold at the gift shop as well. In fact soon after the bee centre was setup, it has attracted bee farmers in the community to bring their honey to the centre to sell. Bob and Douglas will make sure that the farmers acquired the basic requirement of the quality they wanted. Those who are not familiar with the requirements will be taught on how to observe the quality parameters.

Bob showing Karl and Arleen the bee centre

Bob showing Karl and Arleen the bee centre

After having our lunch, Bob brought Karl and Arleen to visit the orphanage and the bee centre. The bee centre is Bob pride and joy. Every single brick layed and every drop of paint was his hardwork.

All the beesuits at the centre were made by the students in the tailoring department. We even saw some very innovative beesuit that Carol and the children had thought up. You can literally feel their sense of achievement when you hold the suit close to you. I felt so proud of them when I saw the development. It was just like yesterday when I agreed to train the children. 5 years on and it was a dream come true for Bob and Carol. Their determination and passion had paid off.

Tough times never last………….. tough people do. 🙂

Otino-Waa workshop

Otino-Waa workshop

I admire their philosophy in life. Although these children were deprived with a lot of things, Bob and Carol make sure that they are not spoon fed but given the right directions and way forward in becoming a good person. The moral education which they instilled into them is fantastic! Although they were given the best, but they also make sure that these children are not pampered to the extend that they cannot blend themselves back into the society when the time comes. A luxury once enjoyed, becomes a necessity.

All the fittings and furnitures were done in-house, with local materials. Nothing comes easy for them. This way, the children will then appreciate what they have because they have to work hard for it. There are still many in Uganda think that money falls from the sky. Many organizations made them think this way because of the way they splurge on them without understanding the repercussions.

Rattan hives made by the orphans.

Traditional method of beekeeping. Renewable energy. Palm tree trunks are a good source for making bee hives.

Being successful in projects do not mean that everything have to be most expensive or with the most modern and updated equipments. Take these local beehives made at the orphanage for example. They are very basic but yet, they produce results. In fact, the results from these hives are more positive than other modern beekeeping methods.

Karl and Arleen realised that Bob and Carol had so much in common. They shared the same philosophy. They were happy to see such a successful project being developed in the North. A new friendship had established and indeed, there are so much things we can learn from each other. Life experiences in Uganda is much more important than implementing own experiences based on the environment we grew up on.

*There are no strangers in our lives………..it is only friends that we have not met yet. 🙂

Bob and Carol’s project was so successful that U.S. Embassy recognized their hardwork and supported their work for the last three years. I am very proud of their success! 🙂

 

Community grant from US Embassy.

Community grant from U.S. Embassy.

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July 8, 2009 - Posted by | apiculture, bee hive, Beekeeping, beekeeping journal, beekeeping training, honey, Sustainable Beekeeping | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. Am so very much impressed, i often pass the orphanage on way. this time i will try my best to visit the place
    I greatly appreciate the center, i understand the valve of the place

    Comment by Ojok Deogracious | February 16, 2016 | Reply

  2. Would you be able to help in removing a bees nest safely, without killing the bees?
    I have quite the nest in my compound in Kampala. Or would you know someone in my vicinity that could do this?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    Comment by Leonore Voorwalt | May 21, 2014 | Reply

  3. I googled the Higgins and this is the link I found.
    We were friends with the Higgins in Redmond, and were supporters of theirs, but somehow we dropped of their mailing list, and now we cannot find their ministry information. Could you forward this on to their ministry and ask them to read us to their email list?
    Thank you.
    Blessed Thanksgiving!
    Mark & Laurie Francis
    mfranfam@aol.com

    Comment by makewisechoices | November 24, 2011 | Reply

  4. Hi Lesster,
    It has been a long time since we have talked. We are having a very good honey harvest last month and now as well. The honey is mostly light and clear, very beautiful. Are you coming our way again? It would be wonderful to see you. I just found this article you have presented. thanks so much!

    Carol and Bob

    Comment by Carol Higgins | December 4, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Carol, Thanks for visiting my blog. I am so glad you had a good harvest. Well done! Keep it up! I might be traveling to Lira in January 2011. I shall keep you posted. God bless, Lesster

      Comment by Lesster | December 4, 2010 | Reply

  5. This is interesting work you are doing. I agree with the idea of local hives. Many people have faced challenges in attempting to adopt modern hives on which they have little knowledge. Its better that one starts with the locally made hives and then he/she can adopt modern ones (if need be) as he/she gains more experience. Thanks for the good work

    Comment by Teretere possiano | October 26, 2010 | Reply

    • Dear Teretere,
      Thank you very much for your comments.

      Regards,
      Lesster

      Comment by Lesster | October 26, 2010 | Reply


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