by Finighang Aaron Ndichia, ANCO, Bamenda, Cameroon
In Cameroon, many beekeepers and honey hunters did not know the value of honey comb. Many would burn the combs to drive away evil spirits (as the belief goes) or discard them as waste. Since I introduced them to harvesting the beeswax from the combs, beekeepers and non-beekeepers have developed much interest in honey and other bee products.
One example is my recipe for body cream. This wonderful lotion has not only increased the demand for beeswax, but solved a major problem among babies, especially within the Kom tribe of North West Province, where new born babies were taken to special traditional healers to be protected or treated against skin diseases. Adults and babies who use this lotion do not suffer from scabies, tinia, dandruff, chapped lips, sunburnt skin, hard skin on their hands, or any of the common skin diseases. Three honest, traditional doctors have confirmed the positive effect of this lotion for skin problems.
Empty, clean tomato can (70g size)
Two clean pots
A wooden pestle
Soft oil, for example peanut, soya or castor oil
Cypress and/or Eucalyptus leaves
Clean cotton string
Pure petroleum jelly
Melt the beeswax gently in one of the clean pots placed in a water bath, over a fire or stove. Measure one tomato can of melted beeswax into another clean pot. Add the equivalent amount of soft oil to the beeswax. Gently and carefully warm the mixture making sure you do not add dust or ash as you blow the fire. Observe until the contents turn into a uniform mixture. Further watch to make sure that there are no waves in the mixture. Tie a small bundle of the leaves with the long cotton string. Suspend the leaves into the mixture making sure not to burn your fingers. Using the string take out the leaves when they have turned yellow-brown. Shake the leaves to remove drops of oil back into the pot.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the petroleum jelly using the pestle. Allow to cool a little, but fill the containers whilst the mixture is still warm to ensure a smooth surface on the surface of the lotion.
Allow to set and then put on the lids. Label attractively for sale.
First published in Bees for Development Journal #85