Ambakuna Hive Tours

Ambakuna Hive Tours

We began our time in Kembata-Tembaro Ethiopia touring as many of our recently trained beekeepers homes as one day allows.


Friday morning was spent in Medula,


where beekeepers proudly demonstrated their established transitional beehives, recently acquired swarms awaiting transferring, and their newly constructed coverings protecting their hives against rain and sun.


Beekeepers took the time to explain how beneficial the hives were in comparison to the old and not only were the bees able to produce more honey but the beekeepers noticed that they were happier in their cleaner home.



We spent time asking questions about bee forage and harvest times, and no beekeeper hesitated in identifying the plethora off nectar and pollen plants surrounding their homes.



                                 The afternoon took us back to Kololo, 


where beekeepers once again, welcomed us into their homes.


They were excited to show us their growing apiary and all the new transitional hives they’ve built since our last workshop only 8 months ago.




Following our February 2014 workshop, beekeepers had already harvested honey twice,


and were very eager for us to sample.




Not only was it a joy to visit the homes of more than 10  new and old beekeepers but there commitment and enthusiasm showed through their generosity, 



and it was all just a taste of the beautiful experiences to come.


Reap what you Sow

Reap what you Sow

“Paciencia es la madre de ciencia”,

It’s is a wonderful Spanish phrase translating to

“Patience is the mother of science”

I was reminded of this phrase this past weekend as we tended to the hives, 35 kilometers southwest of Spain’s capital, Madrid. We envisioned ourselves harvesting what we could from the seasons honey but were excited to see that our plans would have to be delayed. The bees seem to be loving the changing of the season and there non stop pursuit for the life giving nectar shows in the reflective glitter of the heavy combs that line their hive. We as beekeepers do nothing more than give them more space to continue doing what they are already doing.

Happy Hives

Happy Hives

The summer, like most here in Madrid has been hot, temperatures reached the high 90’s on a daily basis, and the majority of the bees had no choice but to stay close to the hive in order to help with the ventilation. In order to do so and keep the temperature of the hive at no more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 35 degrees Celsius, they flap their wings at rapidly fast speeds functioning as a natural air conditioning system. Its a constant balancing act, as the population grows and the hives heats up from both the inside and outside the bees most stay in constant communication

As the seasons begin to change, the nights begin to get cooler and the sun gives us all a bit more breathing room, the bees begin to take advantage in their foraging.Their hard work of temperature management of the summer is now being rewarded with the abundance of nectar in the area. And we are happy to see that the region’s fauna offers much to choose from.  The days continue to be in the 80’s it also seams that the bees as well as the us as the beekeepers have plenty of time to make the necessary arrangements to get through winter.

Ventilation takes place in the hive as well as in front of the entrance in order to pull the hot air out.

Ventilation takes place in the hive as well as in front of the entrance in order to pull the hot air out.

What I enjoy most about this relationship with nature is the opportunity I am offered to reflect upon the events in my own life. Hard work and determination do pay off, and with patience and intention I will reach my goals. As the beehives demonstrate its not always at the time you may have imagined, but that doesn’t mean that the fruits wont come.


Recently stretched wax cells prepped for nectar storage

 My hopes of the getting back to Ethiopia this September to continue the partnership with my brothers work through Ethiopia Reads and community beekeepers is know pushed back to the coming spring.

My return back to Madrid has brought some unimagined changes, and as I begin to fall into a but of a routine, with a new Montessori English teaching job, a new apartment and an invigorating daily commute by bicycle through this swarming city, I find myself enjoying this new structure to build off of.


Propolis harvest underway

I am hoping to rework the programing designed last spring to make a larger impact within a shorter period of time by expanding upon the family education aspect,  find new partnerships through new organizations and individuals, as well as continue the collaboration with the Holetta Bee Research Center in Ethiopia.

 So what all comes down to now, for both the bees and everyone else, is a bit of consistency. Day to day, and then week by week we’ll make the necessary preparations to successfully pass through fall into winter. And with the passing of the months, and a season of rest and hibernation we will return in the spring with even more health and vigor than the year before.