Beyond hills and through vast meadows of wild gorunca, new villages emerge before us. Some have tall lines of trees and horses with baby colts tripping around their legs, others are a jumble of small stone houses caked with white and blue paint. Each give off a distinct feeling, like warmth on rocks, or looking across fields from a hillside, or green perfumed shade from yellow rose bushes.
And in each of the villages we visit, sometimes behind a house, or sometimes lining the ridge of a horizon are small brown organic bee boxes. The Marmara Grubu program gave participants four boxes as part of the course, and in some cases, women decided to purchase more. We visit, check the boxes, and without delay are invited to tea and dessert. The desserts are always handmade, sweet cakes, spongy cakes, fruit cakes, and helva.
I ask questions: what are the obstacles you face in beekeeping? Is organic beekeeping a challenge? Will you continue? Some women explain that finding a good spot for the bees is difficult, or that initially gaining acceptance from their community was a challenge. Organic beekeeping so far is easy here, where miles and miles of land are clear of everything but wildflowers and meadows. And with a resounding “yes!” every woman wants to continue.
While I am full from more dessert than I could imagine, I relish in the serenity of our afternoons in the villages.