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Marking Land


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I remembered the first thing I did when I settled into my office cum apartment in Uganda in 2001, was to paste a number of A2 paper together on the wall and started mapping my mind.

I find mind mapping method very useful especially if you do not know where to start. With mind mapping, you can literally visualize what you are suppose to do, where you are supposed to go, when you are going to do it and with whom. It charts the flow of your activities.

Well I guess I am more of a visual and eye candy person. Anyway, there are no hard and fast rules in applying it.

Here I am doing it once more but this time round with the help of technology. It is more versatile and less messy when comes to amendments. For the time being, my office is the balcony of this motel.

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Nothing much to do at night for the time being. No new friends yet. Luckily I have my personal home entertainment set with me. 🙂 All I needed to stay happy and occupied, my instant noodles and cantonese series.

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Here I am doing what I did when I first arrived in Uganda for the first time. I knew no one and had to start everything from scratch, even finding new friends. The only place that I can start my search was at sports club. Cercle Sportif de Kigali is the only sports club that has a squash court. Like Uganda, this will the place where everything starts.

After church, I started walking to have a feel of the clean and neat road of the country. Everything seems so familiar, just like Singapore. The whole system is so similar. They even have designated bus stops, policemen were there to help and not to find fault with you, hoping to get some money out of you.

Technology had made life so much easier and faster. Last time I need to rely on a physical map but by arming an ipad, everything is so precise and fast.

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Its amazing to find the one and only squash court in Rwanda. Next week I will start making contacts.

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The interior really reminded me of the squash courts we used to have at NIE and Kampung Java.

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Step Motel was the first place I stayed on my last trip and the service was good. John the motel manager makes sure I feel at home. Its not easy to find a place so reasonably priced in Rwanda, US$34 per night.

Arrived at Kigali on a very old Dash 8 turbo propeller airplane. The feeling was so retro. I was just sitting at the window seat just next to the propeller.The humming of the propellers brought back fond memories of my days in the air force. I was posted to The Phillippines and we had to fly there on C130. That was in 1983.

I did not had the chance to write down my adventure in my beginning years in Uganda. Blogging was never there 10 years ago. I decided to do it this time to make sure my journals are documented. When I retired from my adventure, I can then look back to savor my wonder years.

Actually my adventure in Uganda was really fascinating, too bad I did not make an effort to jot all the events down. If not it would had been very interesting to see what had gone through in my quest.

 

It was just like yesterday when I conducted feasibiltiy study on the honey industry in Uganda in 2001. Rwanda beekeeping industry is still at an infant stage. There are so much room for growth. I was very impressed with the vegetations Rwanda has. Rwanda do have the potential to become a major honey player in the international scene. But then again, its easier said than done because my findings had seen a number of issues that requires serious interventions. If not it cannot bloom beyond the horizon.

The rush into modernization without even knowing whether the farmers are ready for it is one of the serious issue. The lack of knowledge both on the behaviours of the african bees and the utilization of modern beehives will stunt the growth of this industry. I am not sure were there any financial planning in creating a sustainable enterprise being sensitized to the farmers before they embark on the business.

Farmers invested heavily in bee house but not knowing how to colonize hives. All sitting nicely but no where to go. The production of traditonal beehives were just digging a hole through a trunk without analyzing whether will there be rooms for proper harvesting. Prudent financial planning is needed in order for the farmer to start a beekeeping business. Without proper education, farmer’s financial will be exhausted in buying expensive hives even before seeing some returns for a long time.

Regular hive management is required for langstroth. A small colony will never grow if temperature control is not observed for this kind of hive.

A modern langstroth beehive is supposed to increase the production and for easy handling of the bees. Here you see a langstroth bee hive being sealed completely with clay. The bees will definitely turn more aggressive when farmer tries to pry open the hive during inspection or if there were any regular inspection at all. The bees are naturally more aggressive than the european bees, but they are made even more aggressive if the farmer were to handle the hive with so much disturbance and movements.

A modern beehive is a double edge sword. It can produce 3 times more than a traditional beehive if managed properly, but it can also be a white elephant if it was use without proper know how.

Bad handling of bees lead to aggressive behaviour. Aggressive bees make harvesting difficult. Farmers start to rush through harvesting using a lot of smoke. Bees become even more agressive with so much smoke. Farmer start killing bees. The hive will be filled with smoke thus making the honey taste smokey. Many contaminants are deposited onto honey. Quality drops. Honey will not be able to meet the necessary requirements.

Think of the process, not the outcome. If the process is right, the outcome will be right.