Practical beekeeping

After writing something about bees which was published in Paso a Paso, I’ve received advice and queries from all over the world, which really pleased me.

Bees can be found throughout the world: in old tree trunks, under stones, in holes in rocks, under roofs etc. They are practically crying out to be caught and given somewhere to live. This is the easiest way to get hold of a family of bees (with queen, workers and drones). What is more, any friend who is a carpenter will be only too happy to make you a box to bring your bees up in. Later on you can improve it as your swarms grow, and you can become a beekeeper with the standard kind of hive.

Bees cost little to keep and just use the resources that nature provides. And honey is a food that everyone enjoys. Beehives can be grouped together, up to 50 hives every 2–3km, in a tree-covered area. Experienced beekeepers can tell you what kind of equipment you need for handling bees.

Silas Santiago L, Apartado 38, Moyobamba, San Martín, Peru.

Chlorinated water

Our local running water is not safe to drink without treatment. However, it is now super-chlorinated, making it almost undrinkable as it tastes so disgusting. Can any readers give advice about how to remove the taste?

Nigel Potter San José, Marcala, La Paz, CP 15201 Honduras

PAUL DEAN, EDITORIAL COMMITTEE: Super-chlorination is used to sterilise water containing large quantities of organic pollutants. The high levels are only necessary for a short time, usually 30 minutes, then de-chlorinating agents such as sulphur dioxide, sodium thiosulphate or potassium permanganate are added to remove the excess chlorine.

Chlorine is highly volatile. Try letting the water stand for up to a day, occasionally stirring it, in a covered container, before it is drunk or used for cooking. This should help reduce the amount of chlorine to acceptable levels. If available, passing the water through charcoal filters should also help.

Debt repayments

I became a Christian at the age of 12 through the work of the missionary, JI Kaardal. I had no shortage of punishments and minor persecution to make me abandon the Christian faith. But in vain – God has preserved me right to this day and now three of us in the family are pastors: my younger brother and my eldest son. We are indeed blessed by God.

In my village, the people owed a debt of over five million Chadian Francs to the Chad Cotton Company. How could a small village with few people like ours have such a debt? What could be done? Each time farmers brought their cotton to market, the Cotton Company kept back all the farmers’ earnings to pay this debt. This was repeated for years. The people were discouraged and no longer wanted to keep growing cotton. The village chief tried to negotiate with the Company without success and the village people then believed he was agreeing with the Cotton Company. There were many arguments and much unhappiness and theft within the village. What should be done?

As the pastor, I had the idea of creating another Village Association by the name of Baivalle, which means no debt. I chose the best planters for this new group. Then I put the two groups into competition. They were both encouraged, especially the Baivalle group. Soon afterwards the village was able to pay off their debt. The people are pleased. We thank God for his blessing.

Pastor DP Pakain, Touare, BP 22, Pala, Chad.

Breeding partridges

We want to try to tame partridges which are at present wild. Their meat is highly appreciated and they are heavy enough to justify our attempts. As well as spreading knowledge about breeding hens, ducks, guinea fowl and pigeons in the rural areas, we hope to add partridges. This is part of our search for ways and means to resolve the nutritional and economic problems of the rural people. We would like to make contact with those who can give us information about this.

Mabete Miankenda, FOBEVI (Fondation Mon Beau Village), BP 8436, Kinshasa 1, Dem Rep of Congo.

Listening to children

My name is Balla Owona Jules and I am 12 years old. My father works in a diocesan development organisation in the town of Mbalmayo, Cameroon. He receives Pas à Pas and gave me No 38 which interests children.

I started the English Club in our school. I am also one of six representatives of this region in the children’s parliament in Cameroon. This was organised by UNICEF and was held in the National Assembly Palace in Yaoundé with 180 children as members of parliament and 20 deputies. We debated the twelve articles and during the final debate the Prime Minister of Cameroon and all his Ministers were present to listen.

Jules R Balla Owona, s/c Mvogo Balla Edouard, Codasc, BP 320, Mbalmayo, Cameroon.

News chalkboards

Your excellent piece on chalkboards on brick walls (Issue 43) reminded me that in China and some Asian countries these were created on prominent walls facing a street. Local and national news was written up. In this way literacy could be maintained and encouraged. There were often fantastic decorations around the edge in coloured chalk.

David Morley, Emeritus Professor of Tropical Child Health, 51 Eastmoor Park, Harpenden, AL5 1BN, UK.