August 20th, 2016
I am currently somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean on my way to Abuja, Nigeria, as a volunteer for a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Farmer to Farmer assignment. In 2012 I took part in a similar program in Bangladesh, where I provided instruction to beekeepers in a small village. In Nigeria I will be working in a “train the trainer” program at a rural educational facility, the Center for Entrepreneurship Development and Vocational Studies (CEDVS) in Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria. In Ado-Ekiti I will be working with both staff and students, providing classroom instruction as well as hands on training in hives located at the center.
The Farmer to Farmer program is an agriculture training program funded by the United States government coordinating with various non-profit organizations which provide logistical support, recruitment of volunteers (like myself), and coordination with the group to be served in the host country. I am working with Winrock International, a non-profit located in Little Rock, Arkansas. They also arranged my 2012 trip to Bangladesh.
My route to Nigeria takes me through Paris, though I will not leave Charles De Gaulle International Airport, and from there to Abuja, Nigeria. I will spend one day and night in Abuja, the capital, meeting with the Winrock staff there, and then then proceed to Ado-Ekiti. This should be an interesting trip with regard to beekeeping – working with the native honey bees found in Nigeria, and the type of hives used at the center. During my trip, which began today and runs through September 4th, I will write daily posts about my activities, though at times they may not appear promptly due to my schedule or spotty internet coverage. I plan to write, not only about my activities with beekeepers at the center, but also about differences between beekeeping in Nigeria and the U.S., local natural history and geography, and my experiences with the local people. One of the wonderful aspects of trips of this type is not having a “tourist” experience, but being immersed in the local culture.
(Posted August 22, 2016, internet not as easy over the ocean, and in Africa.)