The Nhamacoa Forest is full of bees and over the years we have managed to persuade many of them to come and live in our bee hives. Unfortunately, the people living on the boundaries of the Nhamacoa don’t have the same ideas of harvesting honey as we have.
Last night I listened to someone chopping down a tree from seven o’clock in the evening until about a quarter past eleven. As chopping down a tree at night was a clear indication that someone was up to no good, I sent our gardener, Vilanculos, this morning to go and find out who had been doing this. When he returned, he told me that not only had unknown people entered into our little forest and chopped down several small trees, as well as laying traps and snares, but a neighbor, Paulo, said that someone had chopped down a large tree in order to help himself to the honey from a beehive in the tree.
Destroying a hive, it seems to me, is a rather pointless and destructive way to get honey but in our area and many other areas in Mozambique, this is the way they prefer to do it.
We often leave empty bee hives in various spots in the Nhamacoa in the hope that bees will make their home in them and have been quite successful. Last year, though, during the Queimadas, someone set fire to a section of our forest and after we had managed to put it out, I was extremely saddened to see that one of these hives had been inhabited and that many bees inside had been burnt to death.
If people carry on destroying nature in this way, we are soon going to find ourselves left with nothing. And we will only have ourselves to blame.