When Nuevas Esperanzas first started the beekeeping project in three mountain communities on the slopes of the Telica Volcano, Juan Orozco from Agua Fría was part of the group. For eight months, from late 2010 to mid-2011, Juan learned the basic techniques of beekeeping leaving him able of managing his own hives.

Unfortunately two things conspired to cut short Juan’s participation in the beekeeping project. In May 2011 the Telica Volcano erupted and ash fell on the community of Agua Fría. The bees would not be able to survive in those conditions so the decision was taken to move the hives down the hillside away from the danger. Soon afterwards, Juan had to leave the community to find work and was still working in another town when a new beekeeping project began in Agua Fría in 2014. Juan worked at a local factory or at the shrimp production plant to earn enough money to meet his family’s needs. On his return to Agua Fría, Juan decided to make use of the skills he had learned, and still had his beekeeping suit, spatula and smoker from his previous training.

Juan took up beekeeping again on his own. At first he worked with wild bees, collecting honey from their hives in the trees. He also had some melipona, stingless bees, at home. He was keen to start his own apiary so asked Carlos, one of Nuevas Esperanzas’ expert beekeepers, if he could sell him two hives. Carlos made a better suggestion. Knowing the women’s beekeeping group in the community of El Caracol had recently divided their hives and successfully raised queens for the new hives, Carlos put Juan in touch with them. Juan also has good contacts with others from his community participating in the latest beekeeping project, so can further develop his skills by joining their training sessions if he wants to.

The women from El Caracol sold two hives to Juan and he has now established his own apiary. It is a small start, but with two hives, eight months of training and a lot of initiative, Juan will be able to grow his apiary and produce honey to provide vital extra income for his family.