Wubishet and I brought an empty drum from Bonga to the fuel depot at Jimma, but Jimma was experiencing a shortage of fuel. An angry encounter at the fuel depot was the only time I heard voices raised my entire time in Ethiopia. Many trucks converged on the fuel depot, and the operators would not pump any extra fuel. They did, however, allow us to fill our truck’s fuel tank with diesel. A guard with an automatic rifle ensured no actions exceeded the raising of voices. After a final cup of Jimma’s famous Kaffa Zone forest coffee, we started the long and beautiful drive to Nazareth.
Wubishet Adugna, an accomplished beekeeper and businessman, taught beekeeping skills to 2000 farmers who supply honey and beeswax to Apinec. As we made the long trip by truck from Jimma to Nazareth, we discussed honey bee health and compared beekeeping techniques between Ethiopia and the United States. In the Kaffa Zone, we encountered many traditional bee hives hanging high in trees I spotted a dark mass 50 feet up a tree and adjacent to traditional bee hives. I asked Wubishet if that might be exposed honeycomb or a swarm. He explained that it was a colony of small ants, locally called “enni.” These ants fight larger ants living in the ground, and ants are considered Ethiopia’s greatest honey bee pest. Ethiopia doesn’t have Varroa mites, America’s most deadly pest. Ethiopia doesn’t allow the importation of bees or items which might bring in Varroa. Ethiopia has lesser trade in shipping containers and no sea harbors. Discussing bees, Wubishet explained that he resents the image presented of African “killer bees.” We visited a farm house with traditional bee hives attached to the walls under the thatched roof eaves. Children regularly played around the hives. We saw honey bees and humans living together in harmony. The photo shows the stick and mud daub construction of a typical Ethiopian farm house protecting humans and domestic animals from predators.