The book Alice & Bee has been inspired by my husband and our kids because they have cheered me on when I anxiously started the business with R700, meant to purchase vegetables for the house (laughing), yes, I had not told my husband that there would be no vegetables on the table for the month.
I would sell bottled honey without labels to the moms at my kids’ school and walking door-to-door in our neighbourhood chatting to people about honey. I would walk up to small shop owners and ask if they would be interested in stocking my honey. It was tough going because I had no business card, no labels just a jar of honey and my word to confirm that it was pure, raw honey. I had many doors shut in my face and though it was painful it truly did build my character and my tenacity to drive forward. God is the only one who tells me to STOP. Yes, it gnawed at my self-confidence but I had my family to tell me “Mom, you are doing better than you did yesterday” and my faith in God.
I later realized that I had to change my approach and proposition. Focus on “Why honey is good?“, “What makes Alice’s Honey better than the competitor?” and “Focus on who makes the honey – the ever-amazing bee“. After almost a year of saving, I bought my first hive with a swarm. The family came on this journey with me because I was keen for them to understand that just as “chicken does not come from a shop“, honey is also not just found in a honey jar. As a family, we needed to appreciate the workers behind the bottled honey – the bees. Every Saturday morning, we would wake up early and head to the farm to check on the box.
Every visit had something new to teach us. We understood that in as much honey is delicious, honey is more important to the bees than us human bees. My children got to appreciate that there are awareness, reverence and respect that should accompany each visit and harvest. It sounds strange, but thanking God and the bees for the honey at each harvest was an element we incorporated in our lives. My family has become less fearful of bees and when we have bees flying around in the house, we appreciate them more and leave them to buzz through our space as we also invade their space.
The book, Alice and Bee, and the subsequent volumes aim to bring this love and joy of bees to other families. There is nothing to fear about bees, there is everything to love and appreciate. Bees are an essential element of the ecosystem. Without bees, our food security is threatened. Without bees, human beings only have approximately five years of survival. Without bees, some fauna and flora species will die. We need to take care of our environment. We need to take care of our bees.
Bees give life……….