Stopping Uncontrolled Fires – The Work of Women Beekeepers

The apiary of Dona Rosita Faustino is located among forest and alongside the Malema River in the community of Murrabué, with the waters of the river and standing trees acting as a natural fence for the hives.

The other day, a couple of youngsters were hunting around this same area, using fire to catch small rodents. This traditional hunting technique, which involves setting fire to small areas of grass to force small animals to leave their burrows due to the heat, is a common practice in the region and a well-known cause of wildfires.

Dona Rosita was standing next to the apiary when she noticed the smoke. The fire was quickly spreading as the wind blew towards the river. With the flames spreading rapidly downhill, Rosita knew she had to act fast. She dropped what she was doing and ran furiously to contain the flames using whatever materials she had available to her, including branches and shrubs with green leaves.

Fortunately, Rosita’s courageous action saved the hives from the threatening flames. The months of September and October are peak months for uncontrolled fires around Mount Namuli and this first incident has triggered a series of discussions with the community around how to prevent wildfires this season.

Murrabué is one of the communities supported by Legado: Namuli and its name means courage in the local language, Lomwe. As we look at Dona Rosita Faustino standing next to her bees in this photo, we want to acknowledge and celebrate her courage and leadership in preventing wildfires in her community.