Ilmutiuk Mboyong’j Honey

Ark of taste
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The Ogiek people are one of Kenya’s smallest tribes. In the dry season they live in the Mau Forest and around Mount Elgon, near the Ugandan border, and move out to the plains during the rainy season. Though some communities have started practicing agro-pastoralism, the Ogiek have always lived in areas where there are forests adjacent to plains. The current population of 20,000 is divided into groups and clans.
Beekeeping and farming remain the most important activities in the Ogiek community, with a long history of beekeeping that has been passed down from generation to generation. This tradition is now under threat from increased incidences of drought as a result of climate change; deforestation for fuel wood; lack of suitable refining equipment and facility; reduced number of hives and pests (especially the honey badger).
Honey is one of the ingredients in a traditional brew that is used in different ceremonies, such as initiation, marriage and childbirth. Honey is also used in making traditional medicine and in treating foot and mouth disease in cows. Propolis is used during circumcision as it accelerates the healing process. The honeybees source nectar from mbovong’i (a type of Euphorbia), acacia, and other plants resulting in three different types of honey (mbovong’i, acacia and multi-floral honey). Three different types of beehives are used: box, Kenya Top Bar (KTBH), and traditional log hive (sometimes smeared with cow dung to make sure that they are completely sealed). The men are responsible for managing the hives, from when they are put in trees (up to 4 meters high) to harvesting, while the women clean the honey (separating it from the combs and propolis) and make other products from it, like creams. Harvesting takes place four times a year, depending on the type of honey and rains. To liquefy the honey, it is placed in a bath of warm water.

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Indigenous community:Ogiek