Bees. Bees in the house, in the visitors’ luggage. Bees on the floor, in your hair and now in the new clinic building. Bees. They’re swarming and dying everywhere. Bees.
I’m no bee keeper so I’ve been content thus far to wonder at their strange behavior. Why are they staying outside the hive at night? Why are they drawn to human made structures? Why aren’t they making a new hive if they’re swarming? I was given a tour today by my husband of the bee colony seemingly taking up residence in the new clinic. At first we thought they were making a hive in one of the newly purchased desks. But then they left the desk preferring the wall, ceiling or even a ceramic sink. They crawl all over each other and don’t seem to mind our watching. We step gingerly over their fallen comrades, keenly aware that smelling death might make them angry. Christopher encountered a swarm of bees before. He was hiking with a group in the mountains near our home. The swarm came upon them suddenly and despite running down the path as fast as he could, he sustained 10 or more stings to the head. Benadryl was his friend that night. However, this swarm doesn’t seem malicious. They’ve cohabited with the work crew, who are laying floor tiles, for a few days now.
There are mixed reactions from the Karimojong when they hear there is a swarm of bees taking up residence. Lopiring climbed over the other furniture to get a better look. Abra refused to enter the large exterior compound, preferring to look on from afar. Lomongin Markson took a bare handful and threw them into the fire. Others have come to witness, and others still refuse to come near. There is talk of building a fire with green wood and smoking them out.
A few months ago, three strapping warriors with ostrich feathers in their hats arrived at our gate wanting to sell local honey. They showed me a jug with half a gallon of honey (which they call “oil of the bee”), still mixed with ash, bee casualties, and honey comb. I bought some wondering how in the world to properly clean and strain it. In the end, I gave it away as gifts. Later when visiting a friend in the village, I saw the beehive boxes hanging from a tree. They tell me the swarms have moved on and not to expect any more deliveries soon.
We’ve had our own run-ins on the compound with bees too. They attempted to make hives in various shipping containers that we use as school rooms and storage sheds. They often cover the grass in the early mornings already out collecting pollen. Two weeks ago they attacked some of our workers who were slashing (cutting) the grass.
Bees. Bees in your almost complete new building, delaying the work, scaring the crew. Bees in your way. Bees, reminding us that though man makes plans it is God who carries them to completion. Bees.