Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sweet As Honey

Packaged Bulembu Honey
Bulembu honey is definitely beginning to build up a great reputation for its honey and is in high demand with the local people of Swaziland and foreigners who visit Bulembu. The honey department  harvests around 11 tons of honey per year and now has just under 1,000 hives. The aim is to decrease the number of total hives and increase the productivity of each hive to continue to meet the demand. It is a bit of a challenge protecting the honey from honey badgers and other thieves when there are so many hives to keep and eye on.

This year a number of aloe trees have been planted around the hives so that production of honey can continue without artificial food even during the off-season. This will definitely boost production as Bulembu Honey is supplying local retailers, hotels, lodges and is beginning to tap into the South African market as well. Although this year has had numerous challenges with the harvesting season (excessive rain, high winds, etc) there is still tons to be excited about – including more of that honey that everyone is talking about. 

Hive boxes 

Honey department

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tenors In Bulembu

Tenors with the Canadian High Commissioner

What a week it was for Bulembu hosting our special friends, The Canadian Tenors.   
It all began when the Tenors arrived in South Africa on the 21st of August to perform at the Canadian High Commissioner, Adele Dion’s private residence in Pretoria. A number of distinguished guests attended, helping to bring awareness to Bulembu and raise funds for child care homes.
The Tenors journey continued to ‘Choose Life Church’ where the Swazi 1000 team had eagerly prepared the venue for Voices for Bulembu: South Africa. There was such excitement and expectation in the air it was almost tangible. The South African crowd enjoyed every moment and were captivated by the Tenors soaring voices. Not only did the event focus on Bulembu and the mission outreach team Swazi 1000, but it also gave the South African audience a brilliant introduction to the Tenors.
Next on the tightly planned Tenors schedule was their long awaited return to Bulembu. Many changes had taken place since their first visit in 2008 when they were initially introduced to Bulembu’s 2020 vision.   
The Tenors spent most of their time with children in the Bulembu Child Care Program and amazingly recognized a few of the children they had met the first time they visited. Having met a number of these kids when they were still very young, to see them bigger, stronger and more mature was an encouragement.
Tenors dancing at Bulembu concert
Singing and making music definitely is one of the Tenors gifts and they were sharing that gift wherever they went in Bulembu. The kids love singing and inevitably, wherever the Tenors went they ended up singing and dancing with the children.  On Wednesday night it was Bulembu’s turn to have the Tenors perform for them. The Bulembu community came together in the building the Tenors originally performed in during their first trip, a building which has undergone significant renovations.

Drummers walked to the front of the stage and placed their hide skinned drums comfortably on the newly cemented floor. They started drumming a rhythm that was almost hypnotizing and within minutes of the beating drums five young Swazi boys entered the room with the Tenors right behind them with sticks in hand pointing to the ceiling, in a traditional Swazi dance. When they reached the stage area the young boys signaled to the Tenors that it was now time to start dancing the Swazi dance that they had been taught. They danced with determination and with smiles.

The evening was filled with talent. A group of Swazi girls performed a traditional dance in their Swazi attire followed by John Mann, lead singer of the Canadian band Spirit of The West.  Finally children from the Bulembu Christian Academy performed a few songs for the Tenors, which ended in a group sing-along . It was an event the whole community will remember for a long time.

John Mann performing at Bulembu concert
Swazi girls performing a traditional Swazi dance at Bulembu concert

Tenors hanging out with the kids