On the edge of the village we were taken on a diversion to see some curious white boxes on legs under big trees. One of STEWARD’s older activities had been to establish beekeeping. The rich honey of the African wild bee has been always prized by people in this part of the world, but the difficulty in obtaining it from caves high up in cliffs or up in the canopies of trees was a risky business. Not only could the forager fall a long way and injure themselves badly, but if the bees decided to fight while you were up there it could be fatal.
By encouraging the establishment of hives near the village, of course, these safety features were taken into consideration; the bees might still sting as badly but at least you could stand a chance by running away. The high value honey was also easier to collect from hives and the bees could be important pollinators in the small holdings, fields and fruit trees around the village.
We were shown these hives and then as we headed back into the village, one of the farmers dived into his house and came out with his beekeepers kit. We watched him do a quick change into his top to toe white coveralls, his wellingtons, his red rubber gloves , and his smoker. The result was a space age alien living amongst a bunch of Susu farmers.
They wanted to show us more and to stay with them, but we had to thank them for their hospitality and get back in our vehicles. We had another meeting at the village of Sanya on the border, then cross into Guinea before they closed the border post for the night.