Emilie's having a bit of internet trouble so here's her latest update from Ethiopia:
It's been an epic 2 days since I last wrote.
Yesterday I met the local team yesterday and had a good old taste test to break the ice
We then spent the rest of the day visiting supermarkets, chatting to honey buyers and sellers to find about a bit more about honey consumption and people's favourite brands.
We finished up at the Beekeeper's Union (note the 'honey styled' architecture')
Today, we visited a co-operative of beekeepers in Dangla (which is about 2 hours South) where I met and interviewed some of the co-op executive committee.
They were really passionate and very enthusiastic in the way they spoke about their hives, honey prices and IDE's training workshops. But when it came to taking pictures, this was my best attempt to get them to smile.
October is an exciting time for the co-op as it's the beginning of the harvest season when the members can all start processing and selling the beekeepers' honey again.
They've been out of stock since July which means the co-operative shopkeepers sole role for the last months has been turning customers down. I think I'd have gone crazy in that time but here she is with the first honey of the season
My favourite bit of the day was meeting the co-op's 'star' beekeeper, Walker. I got to put on a bee suit and see his hives. One bee managed to get in and attempted to kiss me on the cheek, but apart from a few shrieks (much to the entertainment of the co-operative), neither the bee or me were harmed.
We finished the day in the honey section of the wholesale market - a succession of slightly tired tents selling honey and butter.
The outside appearance should have given me a hint as to what I would find inside but it was really honey in it's very crudest form i.e. big plastic drums filled with honey and dead bees floating inside.
Now I can really see where IDE's co-operatives are making a difference and adding value to the keepers' honey, enabling them to sell it at a higher price.
After all, I think people would be prepared to pay more to avoid having to fish out dead bees before spreading honey on their toast.