Sunday, July 19, 2015

Grenada:Three Month Review

So now that I have a few months here under my belt I can talk about some of the work that I've done. The most common comment I get from people is: is that really 'work' you're doing there, or just having a long vacation.

There are 12 holidays and then many 'fete' or party days, that are taken off of work. Leaving most weeks to be short. But I do believe that most people work hard and play hard too.

My biggest 'win' for being here after just 9 weeks, was hearing that a passing conversation I had with my host sister is coming to fruition. She happens to work for a large estate (300 acres) and just getting started planting out a few acres and mentioned how bees could help increase production. She mentioned this to her bosses and she mentioned that they had just hired a local beekeeper to but 20 hives out on the land. Now to see if it works.

A short list of some of my work I've done in the short time I've been here:
  • Met personally with 28 beekeepers/interested people in beekeeping
  • 6 of those my counterpart(s) and I visited their apiary/bee yard
  • 3 of the visited apiaries we worked the bees that day
  • Met 12 extension officers, ministry officials, SGU contacts, other individuals that work in the agriculture industry
  • Met the Association Executive Board along with the Chief Veterinarian Officer for the Ministry of Agriculture and the Extension Agent for Beekeeping (this last week-finally)
  • Attended the 4 day St. George’s University Bee College in St. George
  • Emailed Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) or Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) certification about current and past trainings held in regard to beekeeping (none as of lately nor in the near future)
  • Attended GAB membership meeting (14 people in attendance) and The Goat Dairy board meeting & On-Farm Workshop
  • Networked with many people on the island along with inquiring about resources on the island for beekeepers and the association
  • Discussed, researched and wrote Response Counterpart Workshop proposal with assistance of Mr. Gittens, fellow Response volunteers and 27-month volunteers
  •  Met and followed up with Ms. Melissa Tyson, 4-H Extension for St. Andrew’s, on term-long project proposal for 12-16 year-olds on pollinators, habitat and importance.
  •  Partnered with Belmont Estate to create simple business and action plan for bees to be established on the estate, including training-of-trainer for estate to also train staff on better understanding and best practices
  •  Attended Saint Andrews Development Organization (SADO) planning meeting for Rainbow City event in Grenville happening before Carnival to assist beekeepers in preparing for possibly exhibiting
  •  Followed up with meeting with Dr. Louison specifically for filling out paperwork on Grenada clearance for honey to be accepted into the U.K. for beekeepers to enter London Honey Show October 29-31st 2015
  •  Created project plan for self-started projects, events, and notable dates, holidays, etc.
  •  Continued researching and compiling world honey, pollen, and propolis plant sources to create Caribbean and Grenada specific plant lists
  •  Wrote abstract and applied for Travel Award to attend Apimondia, an international beekeeping conference being held in Seoul, Korea September 15-20, 2015 (And had it ACCEPTED, now looking for funding to travel to the event)

As you can see I keep 'busy' doing 'work'. Living on an island makes it easy to keep my nose to the grind stone and keep on top of things, as I do need to summit a monthly report to Peace Corps. 

Hopefully in the next month (Mid-August due to Carnival taking over now until 2nd week of August) I hope to get Introduction to Beekeeping training going twice a week, and soon after a Pollination/Pesticide course for beekeepers and farmers and hopefully Ministry officials as well. There are many more classes to write, people to get involved, and equipment and resources to procure as well as funding for some of it.  I will be visiting more beekeepers in the next weeks leading up to this as well. I believe there are close to 100 beekeepers on the island.
The best complement I got this week from a 27-month volunteer that he thought I was working 'quickly' as things take longer than normal here as change is very difficult for people in general. But learning and doing something different is a whole other beast entirely.


  1. Yes, it sounds like you have been very busy. It's interesting to hear what you do there. I was just thinking about you this morning as we thought we found an underground nest of bees - something I've never heard of before. It was interesting to do some research and discover how these bees are different than others, but in researching we discovered that we have hornets instead (they just looked different from other hornets we are trying to get rid of so we thought it might be bees - no luck there).

    1. :) Hopefully I will be busier this next few months. Also yes there are 200,000 bees but only 6 produce honey. I love nat geo's and shows just how varied they are, and most of them don't look like 'bees' then wasps look like 'bees'. I'm glad it's not my job to classify them, just work with them. There are many many.