By Rick Wells, The News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Lloyd Ziegler has been keeping bees for more than three decades. After responding to an ad, he took those beekeeping skills to Uganda to help a farming program.
Lloyd Ziegler found few resources when he arrived in the mountain village above Kasese, Uganda.
"They had 500 hives all over the place. All these people did...and they were trying to produce honey. What they didn't have was detailed information about how to do it," Ziegler said.
Ziegler answered an ad in a national beekeeping publication and after buying about $2,500 worth of plane tickets, he found himself on an eight hour bus ride to Kasese. He'd been in Africa 40 years ago and said he was surprised to find that little seemed to have changed.
"They live in mud huts with no water and no electricity," he said.
The sanctioning group for his trip, the Liberty Development Foundation, was founded eight years ago in the city of Kasese. It is designed to find training and education to improve the lives of its citizens. Unfortunately, the group has no money, so Ziegler went on the trip on his own dime.
Despite no funding, Ziegler said the beekeeping program has great promise because it gives the villagers a way to make money. Ziegler said they are excellent farmers, but had little knowledge on proper beekeeping.
"They need to have someone to advise, there to advise them," Ziegler said.
He said they made corrections in the construction of the hives the villagers had made so the bees would produce more honey. With the help of his interpreter, he even conducted classes.
"I think this program is going to be very successful," Ziegler said.
Ziegler said the program is on the right track. He said it's also a great opportunity for women, because beekeeping is not gender specific, and $25 provides a beekeeper scholarship, everything necessary to start a business and help your family.
Ziegler hopes his experience in Uganda will encourage others to follow with either personal involvement or financial help.