We returned to Addis Ababa to check on the lines of yeast being propagated under laboratory conditions. The yeast will be used in the production of Ethiopia’s distinct honey mead, known as tej. Those who participated in the project to produce the honey mead proclaim it is their goal to bring tej to a level of prestige. Once reserved for the elite, tej is now enjoyed by many. This trip to Ethiopia has been quite an experience. I met many people interested in our projects centered in Bonga, Ethiopia in the highland organic honey region. A food scientist discussed organic crops and the role of honey bees in pollination and food production. Several Ethiopians shared passed-down knowledge of tej making. Abraham Tesfaye explained the microbiology of yeast propagation. Hafez Anwar explained how foreign countries are helping build Ethiopia’s infrastructure with large projects like his road construction. I asked, “How can Ethiopia progress to a six-lane superhighway carrying trucks to Djibouti’s sea port when the road cuts through pedestrian neighborhoods blocking foot traffic and even livestock herding?” Students and businessmen listened intently to details of the bee hive projects I assisted Apinec develop. I spent hours with my host Wubishet Adugna, often over bereles of tej, sharing thoughts on beekeeping and ways to provide opportunities for the Ethiopian people by harvesting the honey bees’ products derived from the diverse forest bounty. I got an opportunity to share wonderful food, music, and other riches of Ethiopian life. I saw resourceful people who never complained no matter how adverse the situation. They were always helpful, friendly, and eager to laugh with me. I had a most memorable visit to Ethiopia.
On the road we pass more livestock including cattle with high upturned horns. From Addis Ababa a long air flight will return me to Proctor, Arkansas and waiting family. Much bee yard work waits as well. Unlike tropical Ethiopia, the temperate United States experiences seasonal changes. My bees are visiting spring flowers