“I helped the women in my community to exchange the hard work in the fields for the pleasurable production of honey”

The organization and union of bees inspired Manoel Pessoa de Brito, 66, from Barreiros, to create a collective apiary with the women of his community. In the statement below, he tells details about the experience: “For more than thirty years, I have been raising bees and I marvel at the division of tasks, organization and sense of unity these animals have. When I was relocated with my family to the settlement where we live today, in Barreiros, on the south coast of Pernambuco, living conditions were difficult.

After centuries of sugarcane monoculture, the soil was not the best for planting. Thinking of ways to help the community raise funds, I set up the settlement’s first apiary. I gathered a group of neighbors interested in learning beekeeping, went to the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco and asked Professor Renata Valéria, from the zootechnics department, to give us a course to improve the productivity of our apiaries. “If we were like bees, we would live much better ․ After training, many women in the settlement took up a taste for beekeeping and began replacing work in the fields, which is quite arduous, for living on honey, which is more pleasant and profitable.

Today, we share our tasks: while they produce and collect the honey, I build the equipment, drive the tractor, transport the bee boxes and bottle the honey. This year alone, there were six more people interested in becoming new beekeepers, which brings me great joy․ I always try to look at my community and understand how I can contribute. I do this because I want everyone to live well. In return, I get the joy of sharing what I know and the friendship of those around me. If we were organized like bees, we would live much better and, as Roberto Carlos already said in the song O Progresso, we would learn to be civilized like animals.”


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