Blog by Jubilee Dueck Thiessen – A Rocha Manitoba Summer Worker (pictured above on the right)
There is a familiar saying that goes “you cannot love what you do not know, and you cannot know what you do not experience”. The longer I work at A Rocha, the more I experience the truth of that saying. This month I grew to love bees more by increasing my knowledge through the experience of interviewing beekeepers who are passionate about pollinators and urban agriculture.
Part of my work as a summer Education Programs Assistant is to curate information and create online content that educates and inspires wonder and love for creation in Manitobans. This task inspired me to reach out to Chris Kiroac at Beeproject Apiaries and Paul Kruse, a local urban beekeeper, who answered many of my questions and showed me their hives, explaining how honeybees work. I have always known bees to be important pollinators and have appreciated all bees do for the rest of creation, but I also felt a little uneasy when bees flew close to me. I did not love bees.
For me, loving bees does not mean that I want to be surrounded by them all the time, but I do not think that constant companionship is the only definition of love. After spending time with two beekeepers who love bees and devote much of their time to protecting pollinators and educating others, I feel greater ease. I love them a little more. For me, this love grows from understanding the way female worker bees and male drones work together to survive and flourish; a beautiful dance that is connected to so much life that exists outside of the hive. Rather than feeling harassed by the buzzing of a bee, I am amazed at the inter-connected and complex life-force that the buzzing alludes to. While I was told growing up that bees do not want to sting me and I even told children the same thing. I now better understand how vulnerable bees are and how powerful I am as a human.
I often do not feel like a very powerful person in the conventional sense, but I am realizing the weight of the power I do hold, and it can be used in loving and accountable ways. I hold power as a consumer when I decide where to spend my money, and as a citizen when I vote for people who will best uphold my convictions and protect the things I care for. I hold power as someone who has a garden to grow when I decide what to plant and how to care for those plants, and I hold power as someone who feels called to care for creation when I work to share my excitement and inspire wonder and joy in others. By increasing my knowledge of bees I have increased my love, and therefore also my power. Now I am a little less afraid of bees.
While I do not have endless amounts of time to devote to all the causes I am passionate about, it does not take much of my time or energy to exercise my power and passion to increase my knowledge and to advocate for the bees, and in turn for urban agriculture. I can learn and experience as much as I can to grow more love for the place I live in and belong to, sharing my new knowledge with others and inviting them into friendship.
There is so much more to experience, know and love in the city of Winnipeg. From urban beehives to urban agriculture, and everything in between, I hope to love my place well by seeking out new experiences and knowledge, and I hope you do too.