When asked to describe honey, one only refers to it as sweet, tasty, lovely, name it all. However, there is more hidden treasure than sweetness in honey, It has other various purposes like candle making ( by use of its wax) , it is medicinal as its poriporis cures wounds and toothache.
Honey is everything if related to nature, “through taking honey there can be return of monthly menstruation period to women at the age of despair” says Mzee Kebeire Benon of Kanungu and a bee keeping expert who is training Batwa of Kitariro through an apiary project under Batwa Sustainable livelihood project that is being funded through ITFC and implemented by UOBDU.
Honey and bees are not knew among the Batwa since they have their indigenous knowledge on the different types of bees and honey that they used to see and get from their former ancestral lands of Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks. According to the Batwa, honey is in form of “ubuhura” which is wild honey from underground and “Ubuki” that would be got from trees. Honey was very important in the lives of the Batwa as it was consumed for good health, cures cough among children, ferment alcohol and would also be used as food. “Whenever one would eat honey from the forest, he or she would not easily get hungry”, says Abias a mutwa from Kitariro”
The above type of honey is no longer accessible to the Batwa. Batwa are now currently involved in beekeeping within their communities and have now emulated the bee keeping outside the forest. Under this, they are involved in making of both local and modern beehives upon which if there is a good harvest they can get 20 litres’ of honey from each beehive. With the current ongoing enterprise, the Batwa hope to process their own honey in the near future for income generation.
Kenya bee hives(modern) and local beehives being made by Batwa of Kitariro and Mpungu respectively.