The training on bee keeping was supposed to start at 9am but the trainers are no where to be seen. We find out a couple hours later that their truck got stuck in the mud somewhere along the way to the community center, due to the unceasing rains that have arrived in this area of the world. They finally arrive and teach a group of 28 community members about bees – how to build a hive, how to attract a swarm, the importance of honey to nature and to their own health, and all sorts of other important information. The people are interested and they want to get into this business of bee keeping and of earning a bit of money. This training is the beginning of a new AFCA project in the area of Matopos. It follows the goat project, allowing beneficiary families to go a step further in their quest to break out of abject poverty.
Ginny is here, peering over shoulders, trying to glimpse the bee hives that the trainer has brought as samples. It is hard for me to recognize her behind her mask, but when I approach her, I realize it isn’t only the mask that keeps me from knowing her immediately. The fact is, Ginny has changed. Five years ago, as one of our first goat beneficiaries in the area, Ginny was desperately poor. She was skin and bones, afraid, with shallow skin, and mismatched shoes. Her ripped clothes hung off of her and she shivered, as it was too cold and her clothing was just not enough. Today, though…
Today Ginny has gorgeous skin, smooth and filled out. No longer are her cheekbones hollow and she has enough clothes on (I didn’t see a single tear) and no longer looks old and defeated. She made sure to pay her gift of goats forward and “paid off” her contract one year ahead of time, thanks to a goat named Mary who kept giving birth to twins. She is obviously eating well and looks healthy. Smiling, she reported on her current herd and stated that she is ready to work with bees.
We finished the workshop by giving each attendee a bag of ePap (a fortified porridge), which was so gratefully accepted, humbling me at what gratitude looks like when there are no expectations and a much needed gift is extended.
Everyone here at the American Foundation for Children with AIDS, and our partners in Africa, thank you for your continued support of this important project. If you would like to learn even more about this project and others, please contact Tanya Weaver at tweaver@AFCAids.org.