Beehive number 250

Mission East introduced the first beehive to the village of Pumbak in Afghanistan in 2006. Although some considerable initial training was required to introduce the basic skills and concepts of beekeeping - starting from the difference between bees, flies and mosquitoes - the project is now a great success. So far, these buzzing insects have provided 125 of the most vulnerable families (approximately 800 people in total) with a new opportunity to improve their lives. Satar and Naqsh, whose stories are told below, are just two of these people.


By Nadir Faez, Agriculture Coordinator, Mission East in Afghanistan
Photo: Rikke Tina Ulnits
Poverty doesn't hinder this Afghan farmer from being someone else's benefactor

If you were so poor that you only had enough food in your fields for six months at a time, how would you spend some unexpected extra income? This is an easy question for 40-year-old Satar.

Since starting to earn some extra money through beekeeping, Satar has begun buying food which he gives away to his neighbours in the village. Only after this is done does he use the remaining money to buy rice, flour and tea for himself and his own family.

Last year, the village elders recommended Satar as a participant for the Mission East beekeeping project because he was one of the poorest in the village. He owns a small piece of land which he cultivates and in addition, earns a little money selling firewood and mushrooms at the market in the nearest town, which is a ten-hour walk away from his home. In a good year, Satar and his family have enough food for a total of six months. When Satar participated in Mission East's beekeeping project, he received a two-day training, two beehives, and the tools and materials needed for beekeeping.

Satar's first honey harvest surprised him profoundly. He never imagined that he could get 14 kg of honey from his hives. Satar sells the honey he produces and this has given him hope for his future. "I believe that the honey will change my life," says this man with a big heart. And as a result of his generosity, others in this poor village are also enjoying his new employment.

Naqsh regained his taste for life at the age of 60

"One small bottle ... that should do it," Naqsh thought when he first walked over to his two new beehives to bottle the honey. When he opened the lid, he couldn’t believe his own eyes! Not the one bottle he had in his hand, or the second or the third was enough to hold the 10.5 kg of honey the bees had surprised him with.

Naqsh lives in the village of Pumbak. He is 60 years old. He has lost two wives because they did not receive medical attention in time. He no longer has the ability to perform hard physical work in the field. In spite of this, he is responsible for feeding six people: four children under the age of 15, his third wife and himself. His disappointment with what life has offered him extinguished the spark in his eyes a long time ago. But now the spark is back.

Naqsh was chosen by his village to participate in Mission East's beekeeping project and received two hives, tools, materials and training. What he learned, he passed on to his wife, who now helps him care for the bees rather than sitting at home feeling miserable. They will sell the honey to buy a stock of food for the winter.

"I still believe that this is a dream that I may wake up from any minute now," says the grateful man who at the age of 60 has regained his taste for life.

May 2009

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