Meliponiculture workshop in Jejy-Ty Village

In the Atlantic Forest, a workshop to strengthen the Guarani Mbya people’s (re)connection with the cultivation, maintenance and management of Jate’i bees.

Authors: Ana Rosa de Lima and Luiz Felipe Medina
Leia em português

From February 16 to 18, 2024, a Meliponiculture Workshop took place in Mbya Guarani territory in the village of Jejy-ty in the municipality of Iguape/SP, directly in the Ribeira Valley in the Atlantic Forest biome. The workshop was offered through the Pollinating Regeneration participating project: JATA’I RENDÁ – ACENTO DE JATAÍ. The project was proposed by young leaders Jaqueline Lira and Marcio Silva, who acted as proposers and articulators of the project within the Mbya Guarani territory. The project and the entire Meli team were very well received by Chief Leonardo and all the families of Jejy-ty Village during the training days.

On February 15, when we made a final visit to prepare for the workshop, we had some good conversations. One motivation for the workshop became clear to us: the presence of the Jate’i bee in Guarani cosmology. The honey of this bee is used as a tool of ancestral connection to baptize Mbya Guarani children. In this way, Jataí honey is a fundamental part of the child’s spirit being revealed to the elders in the baptism ceremonies. This means that the honey will serve as an important tool for the child’s spirit, which will guide that person’s path for the rest of their life.

Playing an important role in facilitating this workshop were meliponiculturists William Berê, from @duilio_melipo, and Aruak Kopenoty, who has developed a meliponiculture project with Pollinating Regeneration in his territory previously and can now share his knowledge with indigenous friends who are starting to work with bees. The two trainers were very sensitive and open to explaining the cultivation techniques of the Jataí bee. Knowledge was exchanged about: capturing bees in the forest using bait; transferring the bees captured in the bait to standard bee boxes; and assembling boxes for new hives captured. All the knowledge was exchanged with the participants in the training in a calm manner, respecting the ancestral speech times and with a great ability to listen to all the community’s doubts during the conversation circles and practical activities.

The exchange between the participants and the trainers was so comfortable that the participants began a natural movement of translating the knowledge presented in Portuguese by William and Aruak into Guarani. By facilitating access to this content in the mother tongue, we saw even greater participation from different generations and we can be sure that this workshop shared something really interesting for the whole group.

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