Apiary Visit

Programs for this blog post

Leadership & Service in Youth Development

Authored By:

Josie M.

As you drive through Merida, you will see many small businesses dispersed throughout the city center and residential areas. It is hard to ignore the beauty and significance of these negocios on the culture and daily life in Yucatan. Today, students traveled an hour south of Merida to the pueblo of Dzoyaxch√© to visit a small apiary to connect concepts from their leadership workshop. 

The group was greeted by the owner of the apiary, Dona Maria, who manages the bee colony and sells the produced honey to support herself and her two young sons. Dona Maria shared with students the immense effort needed to keep the colony running to produce a small amount of honey. One hive may only produce 100-125 milliliters of honey each year! The bees kept by Dona Maria have no stingers, so students were able to safely interact with the bees and observe the honeycombs closely. Many students seized this rare opportunity to get close without the risk of being stung. We were fortunate to sample the honey produced by the bees and students shared that the purity and sweetness were preferred to the honey back home.

After interacting with the bees, students supported Dona Maria with planting trees to help increase honey production and clearing the pathway to the bees. Students also helped create signage to promote Dona Maria's honey in the pueblo and tagged her products with a distinct logo. Dona Maria's business has been impacted by the unauthorized re-selling of her honey under different labels. This negatively impacts Dona Maria's livelihood. By helping her establish and protect her brand, students practiced both community and individual advocacy skills, making connections with the leadership workshop content.  that supporting small businesses is important to improving the well-being of the owners and their families, an especially important task in smaller, more rural communities. 

As we drove back to Merida, tired but fulfilled, it was hard to ignore the palpable sense of teamwork in the van. Students completed the tasks with incredible attitudes and eagerness to help. Program staff are very proud of the service by students today, and believe they are too!