ITAF AWAD

    My grandmother Nasra, was a wonderful woman.  Grandmother built bee

hives from clay and cow dung mixed together.  This produced strong building material. She built them in cylindrical form, adding to it as each layer dried hard. 

    Each new generation of bees left, searching for a place to start a new hive. Grandmother would find them massed in a low tree in the garden. She would put a pot under them and would gently shoo them down into it, talking to them and reassuring them over and over, “Be quiet, you are safe, you are a blessing.”  Talking continuously she set it down.  The bees rose up and moved into the hive.  She then closed the bottom, but left a hole for exit.  When it was time to take the honey, we children collected dried
cow dung and she put it aside. She also wrapped a piece of the cloth and wound it  around a foot long stick.  She fashioned a headpiece of see through cotton, put it over her head and shoulders and then wrapped another piece round the bottom to protect her neck as well as her head.  She lit the stick to smoke out the bees. She told them continuously, “Slow down, little princes, be placid, you are blessed.” Thus, Grandmother was able to extract the honey without agitating the bees. She opened the hive with a knife and took honey out on it.  In one large bowl she put white honey which was made by young bees and in another bowl, the darker honey made by mature bees.  She separated the honey from the comb with her hands, then strained the honey through a light cotton cloth.
 

BEE KEEPING AND PEACE KEEPING

  She always left one third of the honey for them. From this I learned creativity and patience.  I also saw that when you come with your heart quiet and peaceful, the other is encouraged to respond with trust.  When the
honey was ready she put it into small clay jars.  The honeycomb wax was put in clean water for several hours and then removed from the water.  The remainder was syrup.  The wax was given to people for various uses.  Grandmother asked my mother to extract the honey for her when she was away, ministering to the people.   Mother was afraid. Bees stung her many times.  Grandmother told her, That is because you yell at them and run away.  They feel your anxiety and unrest.”  In the end, I handled the bees when Grandmother was gone.  I said, as she said: “Slow down little princes, be placid, you are blessed…”     

    From my grandmother I learned from bee keeping how to be a peacekeeper.

 

“when you come with your heart quiet and peaceful, the other is encouraged to respond with  trust”

The beehive Itaf and her family constructed with her grandmother.

Thank you Barbara Lanzet for transcribing Itaf’s stories.