Malawian bee update

Approaching a hive of 50,000 busy bees, with only a hat, head mosquito net, and some rubber gloves, to take their honey is a “sobering moment”, as I know the workers will give their lives to protect their Queen-bee.

Yet I know that if Mfumu Chapsinja does not see how honey can be safely harvested with what is available locally, the new beekeeping project will fail to catch on. Very important  because each hive can save a struggling family from poverty as it can be produce an annual salary’s worth of honey!

I also know that the workers should, with my smoking twisted straw taper, think more of the fire risk than me, if I hold my nerve and move slowly.

Lifting the lid of the hive, you see just what “hive of activity means” and expecting the sharp pains of stings from the bees on my arms and buzzing all around. But none come, protection seems to surround me like the sun’s rays.

It seems an age but the honey is harvested, and the Chief says he will make more for his village, as he has seen for himself how it can be done, and it’s safer at night.

Job done, back home thankful and full of joy.  God gives “good gifts” not what harms us.

Around the world, water continues to be a major health issue.

Bringing water to a village is only part of the story – we also need to make sure that it doesn’t become contaminated. Bad sanitation is responsible for many water-borne diseases.

We have tried to establish projects to build pit latrines in some of our communities and are very grateful to Bunches for providing funds for 21 pit latrines in Malawi.

When we have trained people, we quite often loan them the money they need to buy tools and equipment for their business start-up.

Occasionally, the amounts needed are more substantial and require a central capital fund with the benefit being more for the community. When this is the case, we tend to set up an income-generating project which is managed slightly differently.

A good example of an income-generating project happened in Thailand: Links raised the capital to purchase a pump which irrigates a lychee farm and feeds into a fish breeding pool. The project has been a huge success – so much so that our partners are now self-sufficient and able to provide food and jobs for an unreached people group living as refugees in Myanmar.

We’ve also set up a water buffalo farm in India which provides income to our partners as they help the local community. To ensure stability, a reasonably sized herd is needed, but as these animals are expensive they are normally out of reach of our partners. The good news is that the first water buffalo to have been bought are now breeding – our model is working!

Another successful project saw the building of bed and breakfast accommodation near Lake Malawi.

We like to be creative and dependency is not something we like to encourage. Working with our partners to come up with creative, entrepreneurial solutions to problems is one of the things we enjoy most.

Milk-producing cows and buffalo, water-carrying donkeys, fish farms and guest houses are just a few of the diverse Links projects that have been set up to date. The key is that they are sustainable and mostly income-generating.

Links also ‘links’ education to life-saving projects including mosquito nets, pit latrines and clean water.

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