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FEATURES  

Pastor Honey Extols Sierra Leoneís ĎNew Diamondí
By OSWALD HANCILES
Aug 7, 2012, 17:08
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Koinadugu District is awesomely beautiful!!¬† Huge rocks merge into towering mountains like works of art by virtuoso artists.¬†The rainy season has Ďdressedí the rocks that would be¬† naked in the dry season with Ďclothí of mould and shrub and flowers.¬† Breathtakingly beautiful!!¬†

 

In an isolated white painted flat perched on top one of the undulating hills some sixteen miles from Kabala Town, the capital city of Koinadugu, I interviewed ĎPastor Honeyí.¬† His real name is now almost forgotten in the district.¬† It is Rev.¬† John M. Kamara.¬† He is a pastor in¬† the Missionary Church of Africa, whose white missionaries from the United States fled the country during our civil war years in the 1990s.¬†

 

His father bequeathed the honey business to him, which his father had done the same way for generations.¬† But, Pastor Honey is famous today because after 26 years of doing the honey business the Old Way, four years ago, with the support being given, or, stimulated, by President Ernest Bai Koromaís government, he was provided with relevant materials and equipment¬†¬† to do the honey business in the New Way.¬† Today, his cooperative of eleven groups generate on average Le50,000,000¬† annually from the honey business.

 

They sell the packaged honey to¬†¬† businesses in Freetown - especially St. Maryís Supermarket and Freetown Supermarket, in the highbrow neighbourhoods of the capital city of Sierra Leone.¬†

 

ďAs honey gatherer, I am not a poor man anymoreĒ: Pastor Honey bragged. On Thursday, August 2, 2012, at almost dusk, Pastor Honey bragged ďI am not a poor man anymore.¬† I have stopped doing subsistence agriculture completelyĒ.¬†¬†¬†

 

The diminutive man¬† dressed in black French suit, with white pin-stripes, said Koinadugu honey in a recent global honey competition in Europe¬† - in which 375 honey producers around the world participated¬† - was recognized as ďthe best honey in the worldĒ.¬†

 

An FAO publication on Sierra Leoneís edibles Ė titled ĎSLOW FOODí -¬† writes that Koinadugu honey is significantly different because the bees that make the honey feed from flowers which are unique to the mountainous environment, where temperatures drop to almost temperate level during the Ďwinter monthsí of the Northern Hemisphere.¬†

 

Koinadugu honey therefore has¬† what SLOW FOOD describes as ďan intense caramelized flavour thick in consistency and dark brown in colourĒ.¬†¬† Thatís the type of honey that consumers in the richest countries in the world salivate over.¬†

 

It is not far-fetched that Pastor Honey labels Koinadugu honey as the ĎNew Diamondí in Sierra Leone.¬† The ĎNew Diamondí is unlike the ĎOld Diamondí in that it has been given added value by the APC government of President Koroma.

 

In the ĎOld Daysí before President Koroma, producing honey the ĎOld Wayí was a dangerous business.¬† The honey collector would approach a honey comb in the wild.¬† He would build a huge fire, stimulate a lot of smoke, and force the bees to flee.¬† Sometimes, the bees would get Ďangryí that¬† their beehives¬† would be¬† overturned by predatory man.¬†

 

Thousands of bees would launch an attack on the honey gatherer.¬† The¬† man would have put on an Ďarmourí against this Ė he would, in ĎBorbor Painí fashion, be almost stark naked, with only a brief on.¬†¬†

 

Pastor Honey had explained to me that it is much better and safer for the vengeful bees to bite one on the naked body, than, for hundreds of them to be biting one underneath clothes.¬† Today, with President Koroma-induced modernity, honey gatherers like Pastor Honey have been given protective clothing Ė from head to toe, they are completely covered.

 

In the past, they would smoke out the bees with wild fire Ė today, they have a small equipment which they use to direct the smoke into the bee hives.¬† In the past, they would completely destroy the naturally-created bee hive anytime they Ďharvestí honey Ė today, artificial bee hives have been constructed for the bees, and these bee hives can be harvested three times a year.¬†¬† In the past, the honey produced the traditional way would have a lot of impurities Ė Today, the government has attracted the Italian Trust Fund which has donated a honey purified to the honey producers.¬†

 

This equipment is stationed in one of the Agriculture Business Centers (s) in the chiefdom.¬† You would not be surprise that Pastor Honey has words sweeter than honey for President Koromaís government.¬† ďHe is the greatest President in Africa; and what he has done for the honey business in Sierra Leone has raised us from the grassroots into bedsĒ.

 

#END


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