This blogpost is based on the field trip and report written by Ahmed Al Bloushi, Jasem Al Shehhi and Salem Al Yammahi, three of the first men to graduate from Zayed University.
I remember the first class I heard that some of my students actually go into the mountains and collect honey - following the bees trail from the water source to the hive - it sounded so exciting and really like a treasure hunt. I remember that feeling when I used to go "hunting" mushrooms (Pine and Chantrel)with my brother (yes, skipping school might have been involved). Then I heard that one bottle of honey can cost over 1,000 dhs and that it was used for medicine and not for toast - and I knew I had to learn more.
So, given the awesome students I am blessed to teach, I was given the opportunity to learn more about the ancient art/trade/vocation/industry that so many of my boys from Fujairah and RAK know so much about -
|All photos in this report taken by Obaid Al Zaabi|
After a tea break with traditional bread - honey and liquified butter (yes, as delicious as it sounds) we went to the reserve. Mr. Ali told the students (in Arabic - they translated the important bits to me and wrote a great report) that he got the idea for creating a preserve in 1986 as urban development began to encroach on the traditional honey grounds - destroying the flowers, trees and grasses that bees need to make their honey. The land was allocated for the reserve in 1988 and is still protected today.
|Egyptian bee going into hive|
Honey from the boxed hives is still delicious (and not inexpensive as it is still local, and all hand collected in small batches) - I bought some of course and it has helped soothe my throat on many occasions.
The really expensive, rare and most precious honey comes from local bees, often from hives they have formed in caves.
|Mr. Ali holding the "hive" in his hands & yes I held it too :)|
|First males to graduate from ZU, Mr. Ali and his friends in the mountains of Dibba, Fujairah|
Strategy in the UAE in action - it is all around us and we need to learn and study traditions and traditional industries to develop a theory for here - thank you boys - it was a wonderful experience and I will always remember it!