Today, Thursday, I took a cab back to Lomawai Secondary School to meet with the parties who entered into the original memorandum of understanding with TUtP regarding our beekeeping project. Ratu Osea joined us from Suva. When I conducted the youth leadership camp at Lomawai last August, one of the teachers indicated to me that the school wished to withdraw from our agreement for various reasons. Turns out that person was not authorized to speak for the school. There is a new agriculture teacher who has extensive training and experience in beekeeping and she definitely wants to move the project forward.
As a result of our conversation today, TUtP will draft a new memorandum of understanding to include the PTA, which has a number of beekeepers, as part of our agreement. These beekeepers will supervise the project for the school. There are still details to work out over the next two days, but we have a basic understanding of how we will move forward.
Tomorrow, the vice-president of the PTA, a trained beekeeper, will get into all the hives at the school and do an assessment of their condition to determine which boxes need to be replaced and/or re-queened. Once t this assessment is completed he will come to Nadi town to meet with me, We will determine how to refurbish the boxes and start the process of growing the number of hives to a base of 50 double hives. We also need to get the table saw motor and two sewing machines repaired for bee box building and bee suit sewing. There is some money from the sale of honey to help with this.
This was a good meeting that could have been quite difficult. I believe we have cleared up a number of important issues and can make this work for the benefit of the community we are trying to serve. Ultimately we hope to establish an entire bee industry in this area that will employ graduates of the program, many of whom are part of the Christian community that surrounds the school.
I still need to meet with my camp team to determine where we will hold our camp next August after our outreach. If that does not happen tomorrow or Saturday, I will have to implement alternate plans with other trusted ministry partners.
Thanks so much for your prayers.