We are excited to announce a new educational module at Project Wadi Attir, introduced by the new Director of the Visitor, Training and Education Center, Amran Amarni, and supported by the work of local beekeeper Ali Abokaf. The 10-session program will use Project Wadi Attir’s new apiary as a prism for exploring a number of ecological, biological and agricultural processes. Each group of students will adopt one of the beehives, care for it, and harvest its honey. They will learn about the symbiotic relationships that sustain the beehive, as well as the different roles of the bees in the hive. The module will also explore the nutritional value of harvesting honey, and will contextualize it within the growing challenge of food security.
Below are excerpts from a short interview with Ali Abokaf, the local beekeeper currently in charge of developing the apiary.
My name is Ali Abokaf. I’m 46 years old, and I’m from a small village near Hura called Abo Kaf. Besides having many years of experience as a beekeeper in a desert environment, I also have a diploma in art.
I first encountered bees tending sheep during my childhood. Because I lived a traditional nomadic lifestyle, I was interested in nature. It was amazing to me how sometimes bees would nest in snail shells. Even though the Bedouin are a friend to the bees and to all of the environment, we only used what was necessary for daily needs; we never bred bees commercially before, especially because of our nomadic life. However, when I was ten years old, I found a family of bees out in nature, and I decided on my own to care for it and grow the hive.
My entire life, I have spent a lot of time studying bees, the means of growing them, their reproductive habits, their behavior, their natural enemies, their preferred habitat. I’ve found that the world of the bees have a special charm which stirs up many emotions in people, and I’ve learned to respect the bees, their special needs and behaviors. I developed relationships with other beekeepers all over the world via social media to learn more about them.
As a beekeeper in the desert, I’ve faced many difficulties. I’ve especially lacked a suitable place for developing a hive, close by to food sources for the hive. Project Wadi Attir has given me a wonderful opportunity to realize my dream, and to share it with my community.