Today’s honey isn’t something you eat – although it looks and smells almost good enough to do so. Today’s honey is mixed with propolis (the antiseptic gathered by bees from the shiny coating of buds and used as all-purpose fixer and filler in the hive) and some other magic and prepared as a face cream to be worn overnight.
As such, in the early hours of this morning I was slathering this form of honey on my face, not on a piece of toast.
It’s pretty special honey (hopefully will make me look pretty/ special), harvested in hives managed by women from the Safe House (Shpija e Sigurte) in the western Kosovo town of Gjakova. The Safe House offers refuge for women who are the victims of human trafficking or survivors of domestic violence, and while they are staying there they are given training and tools to rebuild their lives. They’re offered counselling and English classes and IT tutorials and… beekeeping.
I love the idea of this community of women where each manages a community of women, casting themselves as queen bee; I can see the poetry that’s more than just punning when a girl dons a veil and really feels inviolable when she’s wearing it. It’s a powerful metaphor, as well as being a powerful opportunity for financial independence if a woman can run a small business like beekeeping.
In the short term while the women are in training in the Shpija e Sigurte, the honey (and the face creams it’s made with) are sold to raise money for the Safe House itself. I’ve bought pots of the stuff. If you’d like to try some of this wonder cream yourself then get in touch at email@example.com and I’ll put you in contact with the women in Gjakova.
For the full story of the refuge for women beekeepers, see chapter 32 of my book Travels in Blood and Honey; becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo, now available on Amazon