Education and Collaboration


As my brother went away to Kenya, for a bit of ultimate frisbee playing and some well deserved beachside relaxing, I stayed back in Addis and spent the last week assimilating the best way I know how. Every day I walked a bigger circle around our humble little neighborhood, acquainted myself with the neighbors, explored the shops with all their curiously practical products and commuted by public transportation (continuously surprising myself to my success of arriving to the desired neighborhood, despite not always understanding what was being shouted out the vehicles sliding doors).

With only 10 days of ethiopian immersion behind me I’m feeling every day more prepared for all of which is yet to come.

My time this past week in Addis was also spent familiarizing myself with public education here in the city. I had the opportunity to visit Ethiopia Reads’ sponsored kindergarten -3 school located in a economically disadvantaged area of town where they focus on reaching out to children who otherwise would be filling the immediate economic needs of their family by working on the streets, rather than investing the time into their education. Though unidentifiable from the outside the kids filling the 4 room school, (3 classrooms and library), were filled with an excitement for learning that followed me back home.

So much so, when asked the following day to speak on the importance of working together to a colleagues class at a local college I put a speech together in the same way the Mercato school kids presented to me their favorite “teret, terets”, spoken word stories.

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For just under an hour I elaborated on the fact there are really only a few things that we actually do alone. If they brushed their teeth and made their bed in the morning I congratulated them on their independence, and then rolled into the manufacturing of a many’s favorite drink. From the preparation to cultivation of the barley used to make beer, the work is best done with team collaboration. Hand, animal or tractor the work is best achieved when divided and distributed amongst the people. Cooperation creates efficiency and over time saves literally a lot of back pain. The classes’ attention was maintained as I flowed into a example of the democracy demonstrated by honey bees in their decision making. When choosing a new home, the marvelous insects debate through their differences through a series of dances, and the community of 60,000 or so arrive at a common goal. Concluding that the shared decision of a group is always more powerful than the decision of even the wisest individual, the class finished by asking a multitude of bee related questions, all of which I did my best to explain.

So with the school visits behind me, and a head full of new Amharic phrases I am officially ready to get down to business. I’ve tasted more than a handful of tasty honeys since arriving but without knowing which flowers the honey making nectar comes from I am left with a wandering curiosity.

So this coming Monday we are hitting the road and heading south. My brother, ER staff members and I will be spending 10 days in the communities of the last school builds where we will be celebrating the completion of the construction as well as meeting with local beekeepers, agriculturalists, and health care workers as we asses the implementation of our pilot project this coming September.


Teff+water+3 days=Injera

Teff+water+3 days=Injera


I am a really big fan of Ethiopian food. If its not fresh tropical fruits its plates of sweetly spiced veggie sauces, piled on top of this fabulous eat with your hands bread,lentil filled sambosas and spicy savory sautéed beef served in a charcoal heated ceramic dish. Oh, and its all followed by 3 rounds of freshly roasted coffee beans. And don’t fret there is also an array of Ethiopian brewed beer


Post 1 AM plane arrival, Spanish cheese and meat feast and 3 hours of sleep, I went Eucalyptus forest running with my brother,

Post 1 AM plane arrival, Spanish cheese and meat feast and 3 hours of sleep, I went Eucalyptus forest running with my brother,

post 1 am plane arrival, spanish cheese and meat feast and 3 hours of sleep, Eucalyptus forest running with my brother,

There is no word in the Amharic language for Surprise. For first impressions, for being the 14th largest populated country in the world, the capital city of Addis abeba, is greener than I could have ever expected. Eucalyptus, Mango, Banana, Pomegranate, Avocado, Pine and Hibiscus, only to name a few, all in the same spot. I am so excited to be here.

Can you Collaborate?

Can you Collaborate?

Rule of thumb number 1: When you want do do one thing you must do at least 3 before.

And if you want to do that thing, activity, project, construction, what have you, in Africa, well you have to do at least 7 things before.

Lacking the precise word in English to signify a mix of desire, energy, and motivation, it is more direct to say in Spanish that Ganas Exist.

We at Beefree Apiaires, Boss man at Ethiopia Reads, formerly known as TEFSA, and my hardworking school building brother also share in the Ganas it will take to make this project happen.

However, knowing better, and of course knowing the pace of day to day activities in Ethiopia, as well as the frequency of things going against any precipitated plan, we’ve decided to push back the 1 month Pilot Program for this coming April in exchange for an 1 month in country assessment so to speak.

I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make this dream a reality and that means investing all I got. On my own account I’ll be flying out of Madrid, Tuesday March 26th  in route to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The plan as of know is to spend the first few days meeting with the bossman, Dana, while staying at my brothers flat in Addis. We had an opportunity to meet back in Minneapolis one cold Sunday before I took off for Spain, and though we’ve been trying to connect over the internet over the past 2 months since my US departure, with all the movement on both ends, meeting in person and especially in country will really help turn this project into reality.

My brother Cien will be returning to the capital from his 3rd school building of the year on April 6th and from there I’ll be tagging along on his escapades to the villages where he has been working for the past 3 years. Known as Kembata Tembora, this same region is where we are working towards implementing the 3 phase Beekeeping, Public Health and Community education program.

Traveling around the area with my brother for a months time will provide us with much needed information. I’m planning on treating the visit as one very big a very large research Project. I’ll be meeting communities, their schools as well as their health programs. Local agriculture will be assessed for pollination purposes and Propolis giving trees will be identified for future hive placement.

As far as beekeeping goes, as there is no country with richer history for Honey Bees, I also have my note taking cut out for me. Beyond the many lessons, I will be assessing available resources, including wood for hive building, metal for tool construction and  materials as well as the knowing of seamstresses for the creation of the necessary protective clothing needed.

Lastly and equally if not as important, I am hoping to meet with in country beekeepers, the more local the better. I also have my eye on and have already been in contact with the Bees for Development International, Beekeeping for Excellence Center in the Holetta region in  the North. Check out their informative website at (  This is where I begin to ask for Community Collaboration.

This trip alone to the north, via public transportation including lodging will run me $200. My money is tight and I am always willing to collaborate so this is when I begin to make offers to my friends, family and supporters of all breeds all over the world.

In exchange for a donations between $1- $25, I’ll send you a handwritten postcard. 

For a Donations between $26 and $50 I’ll send you a handmade hand dipped Ethiopian wax candle and a handwritten thank you note.

For donations between $50 and $100 I’ll send you a candle, a note and a jar of the best Ethiopian Honey I come across.

Any thing more than that will be going towards beehive construction. If not this trip than than the next.

$50 more or less will buy one village participant all the necessary equipment, beehive and material needed in order to be a beekeeper.

While another $50 dollars will pay for their week long education program in order to become a successful beekeeper.

So what do you think, are you willing to collaborate?

If your answer is yes, oui or si, press the make a donation button at the top or bottom of this page and send Beefree Apiaries the electronic funds it will take to make this dream a reality.

You can always send me an email at for any question, concern or inquiry.

I enjoy all your emails!

Moving the Potato

Moving the Potato

In order to get any idea up and running a little bit of a start-up fund is necessary. So,  I´ve decided to become my own bank and put my eclectic skill set to the test here in Spain. I´m distributing resumes and putting up flyers for group and individual english workshops around town and I have no doubt that money-making opportunities will be presenting themselves shortly.

Kahlyn´s face shot

                                                      Kahlyn Keilty-Lucas

Project Coordinator Bee Free Apiaries

# 687954204

Education Experience-

Queen Bee Rearer and Apiculture Internship. January-Sept 2012.  La Muela, Andalucía, Spain. Apicola, La Muela. Daniel Leinenweber –

TEFL Certification and Practice.  July-August 2009. Intermediate Level English Courses taught at West Side Community Center, St. Pau l.  153 Cesar Chávez Street Saint Paul, MN 55107

Seattle University Bachelor of Arts; Honors Degree in International Studies. Graduation 2009. 901 12th Avenue Seattle, WA 98122

Undergrad experiences focused on Community Driven Development Programs.

  • Centro de la Raza Community Center. Seattle, Washington. April-June 2009. Project Coordinator and Lead Builder for Raised Bed Garden Project Serving 30 low income Seniors in Bell Hill District. Raquel Garcia (206) 957-4643
  • CIMAS Program of Public Health, Quito, Ecuador. December-March 2009. Jose Suarez-Lopez .
  • Venusa Institute, Mérida, Venezuela. January-June 2007. Spanish and Integral Cultural Study.

Post Graduation “Real life” Experience.

  • “Akuli and the Bees” Shadow Puppet Theatre Presentation- August 2012. 2 hour bi-weekly animation of a West African Tale through shadow puppet creation held with group of village youth. El Centro de Barrio (Community Center) La Muela, Cadiz Province, Andalusia Spain. Jesus
  • Public Relation Services, Community engagement, Horticulture Assistant and Photographer.  Pavlovci, Serbia Sept-Dec 2011. Aleksandra Veriga.
  • Market research and Publicity- Sales of Burkina Faso Handiwork. Spain. June 2011-December 2012
  • Environmental Education through garden and Beehive installation- La Muela Community Village youth. Susansa Lechner.
  • Public Relation Services and Project Assistant for Okakene West African Caravan. Spain-Burkina Faso January-May 2011
    • Community Health outreach and engagement. Sale, Rabat District, Morocco. February 2011
    • Rebibir Solar Well Project Material Delivery and Community Outreach. March 2011. Boutilimout, Mauratania.
    • Traditional Therapist medical Clinic Homestay. Lafiabougou N’Tabakoro. Bamako, Mali. March-April 2011. Tel: 2292789 Dr. Bourama Soumaoro
  • Project Outreach- Segou Region Apiculture Association. Farako Honey, Segou, Mali.  April 2011.
  • Children’s Activity and Project Coordinator, District 12 Bobo-Diloussou, Burkina Faso. April-May 2011.
  • Restoration Worker, Receptionist, Public Relations- Casa Caracol, Cadiz, Spain. December 2010-January 2011.
  • Deckhand for the FC. Assailant Shrimp Boat. Queensland, Australia. June –August 2010
  • Builder and Project assistant for Earthbagbuilding center Koh Phan Gan Thailand. February- March 2010. Julian Balmer
  • Gardener and Project assistant for Gearson Therapy Wholistic Treatment Center, Chang Dao, Thailand.  February 2010 Steven luch.
  • Volunteer Coordinator and Lead Builder. Lao Organic Farm Mud brick house. October 2009-January 2010. Pedro Moya.,

Extra Curricular Activities

  • Seattle University Women’s Soccer Team member. 2005-2009
Help Bring Bee Free Apiaries To Ethiopia!

Help Bring Bee Free Apiaries To Ethiopia!


 The practice of beekeeping has intrinsic health benefits through providing a food source of great nutritional value, and furthermore beekeeping requires few inputs and capitalizes on a ready supply of pollen. In rural areas there is almost an unlimited source of pollen, and bees’ aid greatly in the natural cross pollination of local crops. The introduction of a BeeFree apiary  in the villages within the Kembata-Tembaro region in Southwest Ethiopia will demonstrate how beekeeping based on the principles of bee health and nutrition, will carry forward the same benefits to the communities involved.

Summary: Due to the physical demands of traditional beekeeping in Ethiopia, and women’s household responsibilities, the work is traditionally practiced by men.   The products of beekeeping are usually focused on the sale of honey for supplementary income. Introducing modern forms of beekeeping through the creation of therapeutic apiaries will allow for more women to take part in the practice as well as generate a higher yield of product.  In addition these new methodologies will improve the health of bees, and thus the flora they service. Beekeepers can then diversify their investment by using a large portion of their harvests for community health issues.  Integrating these practices into the community’s agriculture approach will have a much greater affect than merely increasing yields in bee products and crops.  If this program is managed effectively pollination will be increased, the community will have direct access to the nutritional and health benefits of honey, pollen, propolis and wax, jobs will be created for women, and the disabled, artisan work will be sourced to local wood and metal workers, and surplus honey and wax can be sold to local markets to generate a cash income for local women and their families. 

Our goals at Bee Free Apiaries encompass a holistic three phase approach.

1. Youth Engagement- Beginning with a week long education unit taking place in region’s school we engage community youth through our interactive hands on curriculum in the creation of a unique and personalized shadow puppet theater. Daily lessons and activities are  paralleled to the lessons of the stories main characters encompassing such themes as collaboration and teamwork. Our overall goal for this phase is for students to become animated and educated about the  the benefits of integrating beehives into their community.

Resources needed to implement phase one include international travel for Bee Free Teachers, in country transportation to and from project site, stipend for local assistant working 13 hours across 5 days aiding in day to day tasks including translation, 10 hours at 2 hours a day of classroom time, materials including projector, white screen, cardboard, cutters and paints. Costs estimated at 4,000 US

2. Apiary Preparation and construction of 25 Community Hives- Community land will be assessed and bee free apiary will be placed in close proximity to plants and trees providing the richest annual forage possible. The area should provide adequate shade by nearby trees and shrubs, and apiary placement will be located at safe distance from regular village livelihoods.

After initial placement of the BeeFree apiary our objectives for phase two
I.    Construction of closed roof work space for honey harvest and storage equipment  built by available local resources and placed in close proximity to apiary.

II. Working in collaboration with local artisans, our beehives, tools, and protective clothing are designed and built to fit the community’s needs. After fabrication, beehive pieces are brought to the community for assembly and then painted by community youth.

III. Depending on local population of bees, colonies will either be transferred from preexisting traditional beehives, or bought from local beekeepers association.

Resources needed to implement phase 2 include the material and labor of a closed roof work space,  25 bee hives and bee colonies, 12 sets of protective clothing and boots, 12 metal hive tools, 6 smokers, product harvesting materials, packaging containers, and 2 days of car rental including petrol costs for equipment transportation. Costs estimated at $4,000 US

3. Beekeeper Training and Beneficial Bee Product Use Education. In collaboration with local beekeeping association,  basic beekeeping principles are taught to participating community members and are provided with the tools and know-how to become healthy and happy beekeepers. Our goal in the Kembata-Tembora region of Ethiopia is to vitalize women with skills in Beekeeping as a way of addressing general health issues and rural poverty.  Health benefits of beehive products will be specifically addressed in affiliation with local health care practitioners in respect to traditional care practices.

Once community Apiary is set up and group of village members are educated, its time for nature to do its work.

Resources needed for phase three include time, transportation and lodging of local beekeeper for the duration of the week long unit, Bee Free teacher stipend for time and preparation of course curriculum, class materials of notebooks, writing utensils and beekeeper log books. Estimated cost for phase 3 $2,500 US

Estimated Total Cost for the 3 Phase Implementation Plan= $10,500

In order to make this project possible in the Kembata-Temboro region of Ethiopia we need your help in fulfilling the necessary resources. Whether it be moral or monetary, all assistance is appreciated!

Beekeeping Basics and Beneficial Use of Beehive Products

Beekeeping Basics and Beneficial Use of Beehive Products


©2012 Julien L. Balmer, all rights reservedVISUALSPECTRUM photography | Bangkok & Zürich

©2012 Julien L. Balmer, all rights reserved
VISUALSPECTRUM photography | Bangkok & Zürich

You don’t need a whole lot to become a beekeeper. More than anything you need motivation. Remember the bees do most of the work! In the third phase of our implementation plan we provide new beekeepers with the confidence to immerse themselves into their new hives. After the basic biology is understood, the hive becomes pretty self explanatory. Bees don’t tend to complicate things, they collaborate with the other 50,000 members of the hive in order to achieve what they need to in order to survive.

Once this is understood we can then look at the products of the hive and why and how they are created.  We then as beekeepers, implement appropriate collection methods in order to collect the bee products for our personal consumption and application. Propolis, and pollen are both full of nutrient rich properties that are of interest for human consumption.

It’s also important for us to understand the agricultural benefits of integrating beehives into our communities. Pollination will increase the flowers and plants we have around us, which means that the local crop yield will increase accordingly as well.

For sustainability sake, and also for what some people might consider the most attractive element of beekeeping, its nice to look at  the economic benefits of beekeeping. A strong working hive can produce close to 200 pounds or 90 kilos of honey during a strong season. Its important to leave the bees with a fair share, as they need it to survive through winter. If you were to take half of that and multiply it by 10 dollars per pound you get 1000$ dollars. Factor in packing costs and maybe your down to 800$, on just one hive. Not bad right?